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Hidden Gems of the Cultural Heartlands

 
08 January 2016 by Katy La Grange

The Cultural Heartlands is a region of contrasts. A rich mixture of wild grasslands, agriculture and mining that has left this corner of Mpumalanga with its checker board appearance and instantly recognisable landmarks.

The Cultural Heartlands is the gateway to Mpumalanga, from both Gauteng and Limpopo, a region that offers so much more than just the power stations and coal mines it is famed for.

While the region is dominated by the two focal towns of Middelburg and eMalahleni, formerly Witbank. The smaller towns scattered throughout the region reflect the social and economic flavour of the many faces of the Cultural Heartlands.

Stoffberg  - agricultural roots

Those entering Mpumalanga from Limpopo on the R555, R519 or R33 will drive through the small agricultural town of Stoffberg. 

While you can easily drive through the town itself without realising it. The huge grain silo in the centre of Stoffberg is a symbol of the town’s agricultural pedigree. 

While there are few things to see and do in the town itself, the surrounding area provides beautiful scenic views for those simply driving through, or out for a ‘Sunday drive’ and the ‘Blinkwater Perskombers’ just outside Stoffberg is a lovely stopping point for anyone looking for a spot of lunch or an overnight stay.

Kraanspoort Vakansiedorp – holiday retreat

The beautiful holiday town of Kraanspoort Dams is one of the first Cultural Heartland towns for those entering Mpumalanga on the N11. 

Located just 5kms away from the region’s biggest natural landmark and tourist attraction, Loskop Dam, Kraanspoort Vakansiedorp provides holidaymakers and residents alike with the picture perfect bushveld lifestyle ideally situated only 45km away from the amenities of Middelburg.

The 1000 hectare estate is a natural haven, home to free roaming game, mountain bike trails and hiking routes, making the town an ideal retreat for any outdoor enthusiast.  While the 9-hole golf estate, game drives and close proximity to all the attractions surrounding Loskop Dam, ensure Kraanspoort Vakansiedorp will keep the whole family entertained.

Ogies – mining town

Ogies is the first major town for those entering the province and Cultural Heartlands Region on the N12 from Gauteng. Ogies is not a typical tourist town. Still there are a number of landmarks including the towns two churches that are worth stopping by if you happen to be driving through the town. 

A typical mining town, Ogies represents the industry that dominates this region and has drawn people from far afield to the Cultural Heartlands. 

The Cultural Heartland towns like its landmarks, attractions and very essence is a complex mix of agriculture, mining and wild spaces. These give the Cultural Heartlands a distinct vibe and set it apart from any other region in Mpumalanga. It is a land of hidden gems, a place where cultural heritage and South African history combine in a uniquely beautiful natural setting, to offer an alternative tourist attraction. While the small towns themselves might not have the ‘tourism pull’ of those along the Panorama Route or Highlands Meander, the drive itself more than makes up for this.

So next time you are driving to Mpumalanga from Gauteng or Limpopo, or looking for something different to do over the weekend, why not explore the many faces of the Cultural Heartlands. A region packed full of hidden gems just waiting to be explored.

 

For more information check out: www.middelburginfo.com  or contact: reservations@middelburginfo.com | +27 (0)13 243 2253. GPS

Coordinates Latitude: -S25° 46’39.36” & Longitude: E29° 26’54.43” 

Or for Witbank contact Carol from Traveller’s Corner Witbank: co.travel@mwebbiz.co.za | +27 (0)13 656 5461. GPS Coordinates 25.879548, 29.251239