A Road Trip along the Genesis Route

12 November 2015 by Katy Johnson

Why not try something different this Sunday and discover the beautiful province of Mpumalanga in the process. The 220km figure of eight Genesis Route lies in the heart of Mpumalanga’s Makhonjwa Mountain Range and makes the prefect Sunday drive. 

Enjoy history associated with the Gold Rush town of Barberton, the tourist attractions of Badplaas or simply the rich agricultural community that surrounds Low’s Creek. 

The Genesis Route is more than just the scenic alternative to the N4 between Gauteng and the Kruger Lowveld. It’s a magnificent drive that takes you through diverse landscapes and spectacular scenery. It’s a route that allows you to experience the regions rich history, iconic wildlife and vibrant cultural heritage. A journey that will allow you to have action packed adventures or a relaxing laid back getaway depending on what you desire. 

So what are you waiting for? Isn’t it time you explored the Genesis Route and uncovered some of the best attractions in the province. 

There are two ways to access the Genesis Route from Nelspruit, so the choice is yours. Take the R40 out of Nelspruit and you will experience one of the most spectacular and winding passes in the Province, as you head down into the Barberton basin. Or head towards Malelane on the N4 and just after the beautifully painted Nkomazi Silo turn onto the R38 and follow the Genesis Route signs.

If you took the N4, R38 route why not check out Boondocks Mountain Labyrinth. While it’s not strictly part of the official Genesis Route, it provides the perfect precursor.  Situated approximate 4km from the N4 turn off on the left hand side. Boondocks provides impressive 360 degree panoramic views of unspoilt Bushveld from its high mountain perch and the labyrinth is the perfect sanctuary away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life to relax and unwind. 

The next stop has to be a visit to one of the ‘Mining Wonders of the World’ Bray’s Golden Quarry, found in the beautiful Mountainlands Reserve. Here Edward Bray discovered gold deposits so rich the rocks appeared to be cemented in gold. Barberton Odyssey Tours can arrange a tour of the Quarry and Sheba mine, renowned for being the oldest and richest gold mine in the world! 

Next stop Barberton and the fabulous Heritage Walk, where you will discover 24 relics of the towns historic past hidden amongst Barberton’s bustling streets. Simply collect a map from the Tourism Information Office on Crown Street and set off on a journey to uncover Barberton’s “golden past”. Then stop for lunch at restaurant Josephine, where fine dining meets South African comfort food for a taste celebration that is getting rave reviews.

No road trip along the Genesis Route would be complete without driving along the Geotrail, between Barberton and Swaziland on the R40. The Genesis Routes newest yet oldest attraction, the Geotrail allows you to step back in time and explore what the surface of our planet would have looked like 3.5 billion years ago. Providing a glimpse of what Mpumalanga would have looked like before man, before the dinosaurs, when the first life forms were only beginning to appear and the planet was a far more hostile place. Enjoy the 11 stops with their beautifully interpreted information boards, this is a day trip in its own right as the Geotrail takes around 5 hours to do if you choose the guided tour. So pack a picnic and enjoy!

If it is spectacular scenery you are looking for, the Nelshoogte Pass between Barberton and Badplaas produces a string of breath-taking vistas that have earned its reputation of being one of the most scenic routes in South Africa. So it is understandable that the 2-day Queen Rose Hiking Trail situated on the pass is renowned for its scenic beauty. 

The perfect overnight stay is Dawsons Game and Trout Lodge where you can unwind, relax and recharge in a tranquil paradise famed for its fly fishing. Or enjoy a more energising experience at Forever Resorts Badplaas renowned for the healing springs that have been drawing tourists to the town since the ‘Gold Rush’ days. 

Badplaas is home to many fabulous attractions including the Cradle of Life Biopark, where  you come face-to-face with predators from all over the world. Scuba diving at Komati Springs, South Africa’s premier inland dive site is a playground for recreational and technical divers alike. 

The Genesis Route is a one of South Africa’s hidden gems, that once discovered will never be forgotten and will keep you coming back for more!

For more information check out:

Boondocks Labyrinth - Stuart Jensen: +27 (0)87 807 9880 | stuart@boondocks.co.za | www.boondocks.co.za

Barberton Tourist Information Office – Astrid Christianson: [+27 (0)79 180 1488 | barbertontours@gmail.com  

Queen Rose Hiking Trail Barberton Odyssey Tours and Activities – Andrea Botha: +27 (0)79 180 1488 | barbertontours@gmail.com

Restaurant Josephines – Danielle: +27 (0)13 712 3543 | +27 (0)72 400 5279 | restaurantjosephines@hotmail.com  | www.restaurantjosephines.co.za

Dawsons Game and Trout Lodge – Laria Vermaark: +27 (0)83 576 4215 | bookings@dawsons.co.za | www.dawsonslodge.co.za

Forever Resorts Badplaas – Central Reservations: +27 (0)12 423 5600 (or for the resort: +27 (0)17 844 8000) | Badplaas@foreversa.co.za 

Cradle of Life - Reception +27 (0)82 345 1924 | +27 (0) 82 452 3444 | info@cradleoflife.co.za or gm@cradleoflife.co.za  | www.cradleoflife.co.za  

Komati Springs Dive Centre - Andre: +27 (0)82 650 2294 | info@komatisprings.com  | www.komatisprings.com