If you are looking for something to do in the beautiful nature of the province of Mpumalanga, we highly recommend taking a drive along the Genesis Route. Shaped in the figure of a number eight and spanning 220km, the Genesis Route will take you on a journey through Mpumalanga’s Makhonjwa Mountain Range, perfect for a Sunday drive.
The route provides a scenic alternative to the N4 between Gauteng and the Kruger Lowveld. It will lead you through the historic town of Barberton (originating during the gold rush in the 1880s), the tourist attractions of Badplaas and the agricultural community that surrounds Low’s Creek.
In addition to the region’s rich history, you will be delighted by its iconic wildlife and vibrant cultural heritage.
The Genesis Route can easily be accessed from Nelspruit, via the R40 where you will experience one of the most spectacular and winding passes in the province, as you head down into the Barberton basin. Alternatively, you can travel towards Malelane on the N4 and turn onto the R38 just after the beautifully painted Nkomazi Silo following the Genesis Route signs.
While travelling along the N4 route towards Malelane, you can stop at Boondocks Mountain Lodge and Labyrinth, situated approximately 4km from the N4 turn-off on the left-hand side. The property provides visitors with impressive panoramic views of unspoilt Bushveld from its high mountain perch, while the labyrinth is the perfect sanctuary away from life’s daily hustle and bustle to relax and unwind.
The next stop has to be a visit to Bray’s Golden Quarry, one of the ‘Mining Wonders of the World’, found in the beautiful Mountainlands Nature Reserve. The quarry was first formed after Edward Bray discovered rocks which seemed to be made completely from 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!
After your visit to Bray’s Golden Quarry, you can travel to Barberton and attend the educational Heritage Walk. Simply collect a map from Barberton Tourism on Crown Street and set off on a journey to uncover Barberton’s “golden past”, with 24 important, historical stops along the way.
An absolute must-see is the geo-trail along the Makhonjwa Mountains of the Barberton Greenstone Belt. Stretching between Barberton and Swaziland on the R40, the geo-trail allows you to step back in time and explore what the surface of our planet would have looked like approximately 3.5 billion years ago. The geo-trail can easily be enjoyed as a full-day, picnic trip. You can choose to follow the beautiful information boards yourself or attend a guided tour which lasts about five hours.
If it is spectacular scenery you are looking for, the Nelshoogte Pass between Barberton and Badplaas will be the perfect location for you to stop and stretch your legs. Offering a string of breath-taking views, the pass has earned its reputation of being one of the most scenic routes in South Africa. The two-day Queen Rose Hiking Trail is situated on the pass and is renowned for its picturesque beauty and variety of wildlife.
At the end of your day, Dawsons Game and Trout Lodge provides a peaceful overnight stay if you are looking for a place to unwind and relax. Another popular option is the Badplaas Resort, which forms part of the Forever Resorts group. Badplaas is well-known for the healing springs that have been drawing tourists to the town since the ‘Gold Rush’ days.
The Genesis Route is one of South Africa’s hidden gems, which once discovered, will never be forgotten and will keep you going back for more!
Just outside of Badplaas is the Cradle of Life Biopark. The Biopark is a conservation project which rescues and rehabilitates a number of wild animals including lions, tigers, jaguars and cheetahs. Visitors are allowed to have educational encounters with some of these animals.
Komati Springs, also located close to Badplaas, is South Africa’s premier inland scuba diving site, providing a playground for recreational and technical divers alike.
For more information check out:
Queen Rose Hiking Trail Barberton Odyssey Tours and Activities
Andrea Botha: +27 (0)79 180 1488 | firstname.lastname@example.org
Forever Resorts Badplaas
Central Reservations: +27 (0)12 423 5600 (or for the resort: +27 (0)17 844 8000)