The Nkangala District

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Did you know that in April 2021, the Nkangala District launched the Resistance and Liberation Heritage tourism Route? The intention is to enhance and diversify tourism in the Mpumalanga province.

There are many women and men in Mpumalanga who played a role in ensuring freedom and equality for all South Africans, and this tourism route highlights both the people and places of significance in this regard. The route itself is well mapped out and marked with visible signage and accessible entry points and each landmark is linked back to the history it relates to, allowing tourists to find all with ease and enjoy their time exploring this culturally rich region.

The Nkangala District is one of 3 districts in the Mpumalanga province, the others being Ehlanzeni and Gert Sibande. Nkangala makes up 22% of the geographical area of Mpumalanga, holds its headquarters in Middelburg, and is well known as the economic hub of Mpumalanga, being rich in minerals and natural resources. Hosting the Maputo corridor, the potential for economic growth and tourism development holds much hope.

Making up the Nkangala Resistance and Liberation Heritage tourism Route are the cities of:

  • Delmas
  • Emalahleni
  • Botshabelo
  • Mapochs Caves

Let’s take a quick dive into these key regions in the Nkangala region:

Delmas

A small maize farming town in Mpumalanga, Delmas is about 19km’s North East of Springs and 73km’s South East of Pretoria. Delmas was originally named ‘De Le Mas’ meaning ‘of the small farm’, by the French owner of the farm on which the town was laid out.

Delmas has forest-like plantations around it, and boasts a quiet leafy suburb as well as a golf course. This small town is also famous for the ‘Delmas Treason Trial, where 22 anti-apartheid activists were placed on trial, to intentionally suppress the United Democratic Front.

 

Emalahleni

An Nguni name meaning ‘place of coal’, Emalahleni was established in 1903, and originally named after the white rock located near the railway station. Likely the most industrialised municipal area of Nkangala, its landscape features underground and opencast coal mines.

The area itself has the largest concentration of power stations in the whole of South Africa. Boasting many heritage places throughout Emalahleni, it is a rich base for industrial and military history, architectural and engineering graves, which are to be protected and conserved.

 

Botshabelo

A beautiful meaning to the name - place of refuge - Botshabelo is a township that was initially created in 1979 by the apartheid government. It now is the largest township in the Free State and the third largest in South Africa.

 

Mapoch’s Caves

Not too far from Dullstroom, Mapoch’s Caves is a historical and provincial heritage site in Mpumalanga. Created by Chief Mapoch of the Mapoch tribe, the caves are created by various building techniques, and served as a high fortress. Add to this the statues of King Nyabela that announces entry to the caves, it’s a must see on the Nkangala Resistance and Liberation Heritage tourism Route!

 

If you’re looking for a little more information on this area of Mpumalanga, or more on one of the above key areas, visit our blog: Celebrate heroic men and women on the Nkangala district resistance and liberation heritage route.

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