How Ed Viestur’s quote about climbing the 14 biggest peaks, “getting to the top is optional, getting down is mandatory”, just popped into my head at that precise moment I will never know. When it did I was halfway up my own mountain, a 15 m rock climb with a group of strangers I had only met an hour previously and who were at the bottom trying to encourage me on.
One thing I have found common across the globe is that often the most important discoveries are found in the most unlikely of places. Take Emgwenya for example, this is undoubtedly a beautiful small town that marks the end of the Highlands Meander if you are travelling from Gauteng or the start if you are journeying from Nelspruit and yet for many people travelling through, Emgwenya it is simply a landmark along the route.
Conjure up mental images of Mpumalanga and what do you get? The Kruger National Park, the iconic Lowveld heat, the dry bushveld scenery the province is famed for, or perhaps the vistas of the Panorama Route. Yet there is so much more to this province than simply savanna scrub.
With the exception of Dullstroom, the Highlands Meander region of Mpumalanga is too often viewed as the ‘Road to the Lowveld or Gauteng’. With people generally just passing through, rather than taking the time to see what the region is all about.
The Highlands Meander is a treasure trove of attractions, activities and adventures just waiting to be explored and over the next twelve days that is exactly what we will be doing. However, before we set-off on the journey into what you can do in this versatile region of Mpumalanga we need to first look at where you can stay!
Hiking might not be the first thing that pops into many people’s minds when thinking about the Highlands Meander Region of Mpumalanga, trout fishing “yes”, hiking” no”! Yet this small section of South Africa’s “Big Five” province is home to some of the best hikes in the Country.
The endless grassland plains that seem to stretch unhindered along the Highlands Meander escarpment are sometimes a surprise to those tourists coming to Mpumalanga for their perfect ‘African Safari’. The last thing they expect on their way to Kruger are the lush green pastures that stretch from eMakhazeni, formerly Belfast to eNtokozweni, formerly Machadodorp, which gives the Highlands Meander a Scottish feel.
Traditionally September is the month for flower enthusiasts to pack-up their bakkies and 4x4 trailers and head to Namaqualand in time to be dazzled by the daisies. For the real diehard fans, this is then followed by a trip to the West Coast for the fynbos flowers in October.
Most people have heard of the Bermuda Triangle and the lives it has claimed, but few realise that this is not the only sinister Triangle out there. The Devil’s Sea Triangle in the Pacific has claimed countless ships; The Michigan Triangle over the USA Lake has downed aircraft and made boats vanish; while America’s Bridgewater Triangle is responsible for hundreds of strange sightings.