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A Brief Overview

Carolina is on the doorstep of the Komati Gorge Wildlife Reserve and the Nooitgedacht Nature Reserve, which are frequented for birdwatching, game spotting and various adrenaline-pumping outdoor activities. Yet few know that it’s also the resting place of internationally-acclaimed painter Bertha Bonnefoi of the Everard group of artists and that one can stay in a repurposed double decker bus.
What better place to have sundowners than from atop the illuminated sandstone cliffs of the Komati Gorge Wildlife Reserve, as you observe the Komati River carve its way through the valley. The Komati Gorge Wildlife Reserve is characteristic of Mpumlanga’s highveld grasslands, which makes it popular for birdwatching and game spotting. From hiking, rock climbing and horse riding to fishing, canoeing and mountain biking there’s so much to see and experience during a visit.
Keep your eyes open as you drive there from Carolina, along the R36, as you will see the sandstone Grobler Bridge – built in 1897 and now a national monument – on your right.
On a private tour of the surrounding region you will learn about the intriguing Bokoni civilisation or 'the forgotten people of Mpumalanga' as they are known, who inhabited the area in for 500 years until the early 19th century. They ruled over large portions of Mpumalanga's escarpment and built concentric stone-walled enclosures, roads and terraces that have made the area of particular interest to archaeologists and historians.

Another lesser-known fact of the region is that of the internationally-acclaimed Everard group of artists, who lived in the nearby hamlet of Bonnefoi. Although it has been abandoned since, a private tour paints the picture of the ghost town at its peak in the 1900s – and you can imagine the goings about of the manor house, hotel and post office. Painter Bertha Bonnefoi (nee Everard) is buried in the Carolina cemetery.
Yet another natural attraction on Carolina’s doorstep is Nooitgedacht Dam within the 3420ha Nooitgedacht Nature Reserve. This grassland biome protects the Moist Sandy Highveld grassland veldtype and is home to small predators and several game species, making it popular among campers. Remember to bring your fishing rods along with your binoculars as there is an abundance of carp, bass and barbel in the 756ha dam.
While there's so much to explore in the region, do visit Carolina too. It is believed to have been established as a trading post in 1886 on Groenvlei and Goede Hoep farms, but another story tells the tale of Cornelis Coetzee who offered parts of his farm, Steynsdraai, for the estabishment of the village, but only on the condition that it be named after his wife. Although the town was almost completely destroyed during the second Anglo-Boer War, it was rebuilt shortly afterwards and still has a few of its original sandstone buildings around the church square.
Hint: For an unusual experience stay in the red double decker bus along Van Riebeek Road that has been repurposed into a guesthouse.

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