Talking to the many diverse tourism offerings that travelling guests can enjoy in the province reaching far "beyond wildlife”, the MTPA welcomes local festive season visitors to explore the beauty, charm and adventure found throughout the many spectacular small towns of the Mpumalanga province . Having already reviewed a selection of lesser known Mpumalanga towns as part of the MTPA #MpumalangaBeyondWildlife #KnowYourSmallTown festive campaign, join us as we uncover the unassuming but equally noteworthy towns of Volkrust, Wakkerstroom, Lows Creek, Lydenburg and Belfast.
Home to many historic battles that have taken place throughout the ages, Volksrust makes for an interesting stop-over when travelling between Johannesburg and Durban. Including the site where the Transvaal won independence from the British, Volksrust is also the town where human rights activist Mahatma Gandhi was arrested on numerous occasions, alongside other Indian protestors including his wife Kasturba, for peacefully marching against the Black Act and Immigration Law. Gandhi’s Satyagraha Campaign resulted in the Gandhi-Smuts agreement of 1914 and better living conditions for Indians.
The second oldest town to be established in the province of Mpumalanga, Wakkerstroom can be located in a magnificent valley overlooked by Ossewakop Mountain and is centrally known as one of the most beautiful areas in the region. Brimming with history that is only rivalled by its sheer magnificence, Wakkerstroom makes for a world-renowned destination for visitors interested in history, heritage and some of the province’s most significant biodiversity. From abundant wetlands, grasslands and forests, the area is home to prolific birding and indigenous wildlife native to the province. Visiting historians may also be interested in visiting one of the largest collections of Anglo-Boer War as well as World War I and II memorabilia belonging to Chris Smit, the town's former mayor who has turned his home into a private museum called Oppikoppi.
Named after Scot David Ireland Low who discovered a gold bearing reef in the area, the little town of Low’s Creek became one of the stations along the Barberton to Kaapmuiden railway line. Once a small agricultural community, the Low’s Creek Farm was given to Jack Dreyer, a member of the secret services for his efforts during the South African War (1899-1902). Today the town welcomes visitors to its ample mountain climbing, hiking and cycling trails, tranquil retreats and prolific birding and even butterfly watching. Nearby activities and places of interest just a stone’s throw away from Lows Creek also include the Sudwala Caves as well as the Lowveld Botanical Gardens, the Barberton Guided Heritage Walk and the Lost City of Eureka to name just a few.
Towered by the infamous Long Tom Pass and the Steenkampsberg and Mauchsberg mountains, Lydenburg also referred to as Mashishing, makes for the ideal stop-over on a tour of the Panorama Route or trip to the Kruger Park. Showing off with its beautiful Waterfall river valley and surrounded by ample fresh water fishing, visit the Lydenburg Museum for a trip back in time to the town’s earliest existence and surrounding places of interest including the Gustav Klingbiel Nature Reserve, Sterkspruit Nature Reserve and the vast expanse of the Steenkampsberg Pass.
As we approach the end of our small town profiling keep a look out for part 4 still to come as we reveal the last few travel gems to make up local Mpumalanga treasures.