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.
“There is no wrong way to drink whisky – it’s yours, just enjoy it” – Steve Adams, Dave and Eve Gunns, Wild About Whisky
To find the heart of the Highlands Meander you first need to find the tiny hamlet of Tonteldoos. Dwarfed by its well-known neighbour Dullstroom with only 40 permanent residents you wouldn’t be blamed for wondering ‘what could this town possibly offer?’ The answer is loads as Tonteldoos is one of those places that are full of surprises and once you’ve found it you are unlikely to forget it.