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Welcome To the Highlands Meander!

 
13 January 2017 by Katy Louise Johnson

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.

Main image credit: Ludwig Sevenster

The Highlands Meander Region of Mpumalanga is one of its best kept secrets. A unique swathe of land set high on the escarpment, unlike any other area in the province. A region of waving grasses that go one for as far as they eye can see, of craggy escarpment walls, impressive mountain passes, thundering waterfalls, enchanting forests and crystal clear streams.

Dullstroom Town Dam (5)

Image credit: Michele Meacher  |  Image credit: Michele Meacher  | Image credit: Gustav Janse van Rensburg

For many people the Highlands Meander is the ‘Gateway to the Lowveld’, a landmark to pass on the route between Gauteng and Nelspruit, somewhere to drive through rather than to stop and visit. For those who are willing to venture off the N4 and explore this undervalued region, a host of incredible sites and wonderful attractions await.

WELCOME TO THE HIGHLANDS MEANDER - Michele Meacher 13

Image credit: Michele Meacher | Image credit:Steve Adams

Landscapes that would look more at home on the moon, scenery straight from the pages of fairy tales, animals and plants that are only found here, attractions that could date back to the dawn of mankind, world famous adrenaline based adventures and internally acclaimed fishing spots, artisan shopping experiences, national monuments, internationally important wetlands and some of South Africa’s biggest mysteries. The Highlands Meander is truly a treasure chest just waiting to be explored. A region perfectly designed for nature lovers and adventure seekers alike, with space for those looking for quiet and solitude as well as those wanting fun and excitement.

BEST CLIMB IN AFRICA - Gustav Janse van Rensburg  (114)

Image credit: Gustav Janse van Rensburg | Image credit: Michele Meacher

It is somewhat ironic that the “gateway” to the sweltering heat of the Lowveld is also one of the coldest places in the province, where misty mornings and cold crisp nights are a normal occurrence even during the summer months.

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Image credits: Michele Meacher

This cooler climate makes the Highlands Meander the perfect escape for Lowvelders’ retreating from the heat and it ensures the region’s dams and streams are crystal-clear and ice-cold, the perfect breeding ground for trout. It also induces summer spectacles like the floral blooms that turn the grasslands a rich tapestry of colours. While the rocky escarpment with its mountain passes have many stories to tell, from ancient rock paintings to more recent Anglo-Boer War history.

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Image credits: Michele Meacher

Once you have found the Highlands Meander you will be drawn back time and time again, there is simply so much more to explore here. It is the perfect weekend away destination, just two hours from Pretoria and Johannesburg, a place where you can shake of the constraints and stresses of the city to play and relax in the natural beauty and tranquillity of the Highlands.

Dullstroom Town Dam (1)

Image credit: Michele Meacher

With a number of interesting Highland towns, villages and hamlets to explore too, the likes of eMakhazeni/Belfast , Dullstroom, eNtokozweni/Machadodorp, Schoemanskloof, Emgwenya/Waterval Boven and Waterval Onder. Each with its own interesting back story and range of unique attractions, there is no reason not to spend a few nights getting to know this wonderful corner of South Africa.