A Brief Overview
The town takes its original name from Irishman, Richard Charles O’Neill’s farm ‘Belfast’. eMakhazeni or Belfast is also known as the ‘Gateway to the Highland Meander’, just 210km drive from Pretoria making it an ideal ‘weekend away’ for anyone wanting to escape the clamour of Gauteng.
As you come into this Highland’s Town there is an almost theatrical change of scenery. The monotonous flatlands of Middleburg transform into rolling grasslands with rocky hilly outcrops and lush riverine valleys cut by babbling brooks. The area can be covered by a layer of mist during the winter months giving it an enigmatic feel, but undergoes an incredible metamorphism from November to January when the Highlands’ flowers spring into life and turn the green grasses
into a colourful canvas that has captured many an artist’s imagination.
Located on the edge of the Drakensburg escarpment, eMakhazeni is an impressive 2,000 m above sea level and is famed for being one of the coldest, crispest places in South Africa. While the subalpine climate might make eMakhazeni a bit nippy during mid-winter, it ensures the town provides a welcome escape from the sultry heat of the Lowveld during the summer months.
This is when thousands of anglers flock to the town to try their luck at fly fishing. Part of the Highlands Meander’s famous ‘Trout Triangle’, the crystal-clear, ice-cold water that flows through the town’s rivers and fills its dams provide the ideal spawning ground for both brown and rainbow trout. The cool water also ensures that anyone brave enough to take a dip in one of the town’s many dams, pools and waterfalls will have an invigorating experience!
The town is by no means a one trick pony and like so many of the other Highlands Meander towns there is far more to do here than simply fish. Outdoor enthusiasts can enjoy exploring eMakhazeni and area on horseback, mountain bikes or hiking it on foot. While history buffs can immerse themselves in the regions rich Anglo-Boer War history, from the British concentration camps to the Berg-en-dal monument located just outside the town.
The town is also home to the world’s biggest bulb grower and distributor with over 6 million tulip bulbs leaving eMakhazeni every year and every spring enjoys the most impressive display of tulips and daffodils found anywhere in the country. It is also where South Africa’s oldest Blue Gum plantation can be found.
eMakhazeni or Belfast as the locals still refer to it, is a cold town with a warm heart, somewhere to enjoy cool misty mornings exploring nature or taking in the historic sites before retreating for a long lazy evening next to a crackling fire!
Tel: 013 253 1184 Google Directions: -25.676641, 30.035019