top of page


The Puzzle Place 1991 - 2020

Wood Magic started in 1991 in South Africa as a small family business with Ian Courtney at the the helm. Ian started making kiddies toys in his garage, with his 2 year old daughter as inspiration. 

These toys were marketed via flea markets and a reputation for quality was acheived.

After a purchase of a scroll saw, the toys became puzzles as well and through a series of progressions the 3D puzzles evolved. These puzzles proved too complex for the children and so the target market shifted to the adults and the puzzles became more challenging.

Ian spent many hours searching through old wood working books, finding complex and unusual brain teasers that he could hand cut on his scroll saw, a lot of these haven't been seen in many years. 




A move out of Ian's garage in Caversham Glen to the Pineville Junction Craft Village in 1992 provided a larger workshop where he could also teach his skills to others and a shop from where to market the products.

In August 1997 we purchased a 4.5 acre property in Bothas Hill and the Pineville shop was closed and moved up the hill. 

Patrick Kelsey 1992.jpg
Thulani Patrick 1992.jpg


Starting with a craft market, then the Wood Magic log cabin, we developed the property and invited more crafters to join us. The Courtney's operated the 1000 Hills Arts and Crafts Village in Bothas Hill from 1998. The Puzzle Cafe was build with an amazing view overlooking the railway line and Alverstone hill. An expansion of Wood Magic included the Krafty Kids shop in the village. 

Market #2 0398.JPG
Wood Magic.jpg

1998 - 2010

The 1000 Hills Craft Village, as it became known, had 8 wooden craft shops and attracted visitors from all over the world. 

We also enjoyed visits from car clubs on their day out and managing to get a visit from an old 'London' double decker bus - based in Durban.

The ten years there were great until the economic downturn of 2009 started hurting everyone and things slowed down.

The property was sold to developers in early 2010 and Wood Magic moved.

MG car club (10).JPG
Village (36).JPG
Village (31).JPG
The bus (4).JPG


After the property was sold in 2010, Wood Magic changed its name to The Puzzle Place and moved just over the road into a craft village now called 1000 Hills Village. We initially had one of the smallest rondavel shops but kept upgrading, moving into larger rondavels.

Inside shop 2012.jpg



When it became available we moved to a bigger shop and this is where The Puzzle Place is located on the left side of the 1000 Hills Village.


We have a variety of about a hundred brain teasers and the most incredible wood designs, including our speciality Courtney Classic 3D puzzles - never copied - never duplicated - hand crafting that no laser cutter is capable of doing!

We also have numerous local crafters that supply us with their wood crafts from carvings and keyrings to clocks, toys and paintings.


The Puzzle Place is still run by Ian Courtney and is being kept original.

It is an awesome place to bring the whole family for a challenge.

bottom of page