Of South Africa’s nine provinces, Mpumalanga is the one which attracts a lot of international visitors’ attention. As the home of the world-renowned Kruger National Park, Mpumalanga safari travel is a popular stop for tourists on the South African safari travel circuit.
One of Mpumalanga’s best kept secrets is the Highlands Meander. The Meander is located in the higher reaches of the escarpment between Johannesburg and Mpumalanga’s capital, Nelspruit. Mpumalanga’s Highland Meander is a holiday haven for adventurers, nature lovers and most of all fly-fishing enthusiasts.
Villages and Towns
The well-known Elands River runs through the small town of Machadodorp. Situated just above the escarpment, this beautiful town and its surrounding area are often described as a magical place and it is the perfect base from which to explore the Highlands Meander.
With a warm welcome, the town attracts a lot of the fly-fishing community and caters well for it. Be sure not to miss the annual festival held at the Machadodorp’s Fly Fishing Park where both locals and holiday-makers can participate in potjiekos and fly-fishing competitions.
From Machododorp visitors can venture to the historical village of Waterval Boven. The name translates to “Above the Waterfall”, and refers to Waterval Boven’s close proximity to the Elands River’s waterfall. There are a lot of historical sites and buildings in this beautiful village that was established in 1898 as a railway depot. Today some of the most popular pastimes in the area include trout fishing, horse riding, hiking at the Elkandskrans Trail and swimming in mountain pools. Extreme sports enthusiasts will want to try their hand at rock-climbing on the world-renowned cliffs of the surrounding Drakensberg Mountains.
As one of the world’s tallest waterfalls, the Elands River Falls gushes over the cliff and drops a staggering 228 meters before splashing into a deep clear pool. This mesmerizing waterfall has been declared one of South Africa’s National Monuments and truly is a must-see.
Belfast is home to South Africa’s oldest Blue Gum plantation. There are many beautiful sights, both natural and in the form of monuments, to be seen in Belfast and its surrounds. A great destination for the whole family, some of the activities available in this area include mountain biking, rock climbing, hiking, abseiling, horse riding and bird-watching.
The beautiful quaint town of Dullstroom is heralded as the perfect family destination. Like many of the villages and towns of Mpumalanga, Dullstroom also has a lot of historical sites, most notably the stone memorial and garden that was created to commemorate the women and children who died in British concentration camps during the Anglo Boer War. However, it’s mostly anglers from across the globe that are attracted by this small town, as South Africa’s best trout fishing rivers are located in the Dullstroom area.
Attractions and Activities
Known as the trout Mecca, thousands of fishers flock to the Highlands Meander each year in search of the perfect catch. A captivating sport to watch, fly-fishing is an artistic, skilled activity with gentle and rhythmic movements. Anglers can enjoy a peaceful fly-fishing experience without having to worry about boats or floating tubes since Mpumalanga’s fishing locations are well regulated.
Bird-watching enthusiasts should make a turn at the Gustav Klingbiel Reserve. To date more than 320 bird species have been recorded in this 2200 hectare reserve. Bushbuck, eland, Grey rhebuck, impala, kudu, steenbok and zebra are some of the several species that inhabit this beautiful nature reserve. The scenic views all along the mystical Long Tom Pass are striking, looking over mountainous gorges, cliffs and montane grasslands. At the Long Tom Pass entrance tourists will be able stroll around the museum that exhibits history from the surrounding area’s archaeological Stone Age sites, and also do a bit of shopping at the curio shop.
For a good road trip, the Long Tom Pass comes highly recommended. Deriving its name from the Long Tom cannons used during the Anglo Boer War, Long Tom Pass saw many wagons lost during the old days when it was used to transport goods from Lydenburg to Mozambique. Today it has somewhat of a mystical reputation but is no longer as dangerous. Instead, as holiday-makers drive along the pass they will be able to look upon beautiful mountain ranges, including Mount Anderson and Mauchsberg, and the lush vegetation that covers the area as far as the eye can see.
With so much to do and even more to see, the Highlands Meander will take you on a journey that you will never forget!
Exclusive Getaways South Africa is a collection of celebrated South African country getaways, including the luxurious Kloppenheim Country Estate near Machadodorp in the Mpumalanga Province.