Gauteng DestinationsHenley-on-Klip, Southern Gauteng
Henley-On-Klip made it onto the map of South Africa when Oprah Winfrey opened her Leadership Academy for girls there, with promises of spending a good deal of her retirement in the town.
Otherwise the little village, renowned for its peaceful atmosphere, would have langoured quietly and untouched where it lies on the R59 between Johannesburg and Vereeniging in the Vaal Triangle, on the banks of the Klip River. The girls-only boarding school has been open since 2007, and attracted a lot of media attention and criticism at the ribbon-cutting ceremony, which the star attended.
The school aside, people have since discovered that the town is essentially a beautiful space in which to spend time. There is a real 'farm town' quality to Henley-on-Klip that people find irresistable. The streets are lined with large, shady trees, people's gardens are extensive and open fields are lined with wild flowers after rains. Aside from this there is a fair amount of interesting history if you know where to look.
The quaint little cemetery at St Paul's Anglican Church in Church Street has a number of age old graves and gravestones that make interesting reading, and wonderful photographic moments given the right light, whilst the Witkop Blockhouse and the river itself (particularly Kidson Wier) provide not only a beautiful calm space in which to be, but further photo moments worth capturing.
The good news is that you can still pick up a house here for fairly decent prices - three bedroom homes for under R1 million through to five bedrooms for around R2 million, depending on where you look, naturally - river frontage would probably set you back a little. But for Gautengers, this is a welcome respite from the pace of city living and without doubt a reason to head off for a weekend when next the urge arises.