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1. Amsterdam

If the ambitious dreams of a Scot named Alexander McCorkindale had come to fruition, the out-of-way little town of Amsterdam would today be the thriving capital city of a 'tartan republic' called New Scotland. In 1864 McCorkindale arrived in South Africa with a bold plan for bringing new life to the then Transvaal. He wanted to bring 300 Scots into the area, establish farms, build towns and develop a sea route to the new port he planned to create at the mouth of the Usutu River. The Transvaal government was delighted at the prospect of an economic revival in the moribund state. They offered to sell McCorkindale 200 farms in one huge block on the Swaziland border for 8000 pounds cash.…

2. Belfast

Gateway to Mpumalanga's Highlands Meander Belfast is conveniently situated alongside the main highway en-route to the world-renowned Kruger National Park, a mere 90 minutes from Johannesburg and Pretoria. It is a naturally beautiful location and is seen as one of the most popular tourist destinations for visitors who love the outdoor life. Belfast is not only one of the most beautiful places you will visit, but also one of the coldest. Its’ small town friendly and homely atmosphere however makes up for the cold and the town has become one of the most popular destinations for avid fishermen, even in the cold! With no less than 7 fully stocked trout dams, and Dullstroom, also a fishing…

3. Carolina

In herinnering aan die Anglo-Boereoorlog 1899-1902

Carolina is a small town that lies at the crossroads of the R33, R36 and R38 in the Grass and Wetlands region of Mpumalanga, at 1700m above sea level. It is a mixed farming and small-scale coal and precious-stone mining community. The entire region is dotted with an abundance of shimmering lakes and rivers of exceptional natural beauty.  The spectacular Komati Gorge and linked Komati River area allows for day picnicking, swimming, fishing, hiking, boating or just general relaxing and soaking up the warm sun. The Komati area is a bird lovers delight and is home to an abundance of vibrant birds. Just to the North West of Carolina is the picturesque Nooitgedacht Nature Reserve - a very…

4. Dundee

The small rustic town of Dundee is situated in the picturesque valley of the Biggarsberg Mountains, a lovely and worthwhile detour off the busy N3 about halfway between Durban and Johannesburg. Dundee has a rich and varied history which includes military conflict and long connections with coal mining and the town is characterised by numerous historical buildings with historical connections that date back over 100 years. This is where the Anglo-Boer War of 1899-1902 began, the first shots were fired at Talana on a hill just outside Dundee, where today the Talana Museum is set in a 20-acre heritage park. Dundee falls within the Battlefield Region with many historical sites to visit. Dundee is…

5. eMakhazeni

eMakhazeni (Belfast) was named in June 1890 when President Kruger declared the farm Tweefontein, the property of R C O'Neil, as a township. It was a condition that a portion of Tweefontein remain an urban area. 313 erven of 120x240 ft were reserved by the Government while the 575 that were left remained the property of the owner. In that same year they began building the Dellagoe Bay railway which was completed as far as eMakhazeni (Belfast) in August 1894. A branch line was built shortly thereafter to exploit the extensive coalfields surrounding Belfast and Sammy Marks, who had all the coal mining rights parallel to the main railway line, started mining. The need for a place to worship…

6. Glencoe

When coal was discovered at Dundee, a mere 8 km away, a more efficient way other than oxwagons was sought to transport the coal to the various factories. The railway from Durban to Johannesburg reached this point on 4 September 1889 and a new village sprung up where the branch line was built in 1903. When it became a town in 1934 the village was renamed Glencoe after a mountain valley in Scotland. The main economic activity in the area is coal mining, while sheep and cattle ranching are also practiced.

7. Greytown

Jewel of KwaZulu Natal Greytown lies in the forest-clad, rolling hills of the Natal Midlands just over an hour away from Durban. It is an ideal rest-stop when travelling the Natal Midlands or the Battlefields Route. The picturesque little town is often referred to as the jewel of KwaZulu Natal, offering scenic drives, period buildings and plenty of Boer history. The area around Greytown is overflowing with rolling sugar cane, pine, wattle, gum and poplar forests, the winding roads are overlooked by a collection of aloes and euphorbia that cluster on the hillsides, making this an incredibly wonderful drive. Greytown has a number of interesting buildings to visit which include a mosque,…

8. Groblersdal

Cultural Heartland The small farming town of Groblersdal can be found just 15 km from the Loskop Dam and approximately an hour away from Middelburg. Groblersdal has a relaxed and cosy feel and is well-known for its colourful Ndebele culture – the town is referred to the “Cultural Heartland”. Ndebele people are recognised by their vibrantly coloured homes and their beautiful bead work and crafts. Their culture and work are on display in the few cultural villages in the area. The Boer War Route also travels through this region and offers some interesting stops for history lovers. Game viewing is a popular, all year-round, past time in the region and can be done in a 4X4 vehicle or on foot. Groblesdal also offers a unique opportunity of game viewing by boat at the Loskop Dam Nature…

9. Marble Hall

Marble Hall is a small farming town just 28 km’s north of Groblersdal. It is situated in what is considered the agricultural centre of the area and served in the past, as the residential base for the workers at the marble lime mine situated there. Though marble is no longer mined there, Marble Hall can be proud of its heritage. Today there are many buildings all over the country, and around the world, showcasing the excellent quality marble that was mined there! But today the town is known for its lush wheat, citrus and cotton crops and its outstanding game farms! The area would appeal to travellers seeking outdoor activities and an opportunity to relax. You can enjoy game viewing, hiking and the Loskop Dam which is the ideal spot for fishing and water sports. If you are interested…

10. Piet Retief

Piet Retief, or Mkhondo as it is now known, is a reasonably sized town situated in the Assegai Valley in the extreme south east corner of Mpumalanga.  In 2010 it was renamed Mkhondo, meaning Assegai, the name of the local river running through the valley. The town is picturesque, surrounded by beautiful plantations of Blugum and Wattle trees and lies approximately 100 km from its neighbouring towns, Ermelo and Vryheid. Piet Retief is also used as a popular stopping point en-route to Swaziland and the Kwazulu-Natal coastline. Visitors can enjoy the great outdoors around Piet Retief, forests, dams and mountains which provide many opportunities for walking, hiking and biking. Fishing is…

11. Modimolle

Gateway to Africa’s Eden Modimolle is located 130 km north east of Pretoria and roughly two hours drive from Johannesburg. It is the commercial centre of the Waterberg region and is also known as the Gateway to Africa’s Eden as the town is flanked by the Nylsvlei wetland and the Waterberg Biosphere. This is a gentle laidback town, popular with visitors heading off to nearby lodges, mineral spas, game reserves or hunting destinations. Modimolle is a tourist attraction in itself because of the huge variety of outdoor recreation options which include birding, horse riding, rock climbing, hiking, biking and hunting. To complete this picture of abundance, visitors and residents can treat themselves to the juicy fruit and crunchy fresh vegetables on offer at the farmers' market. Modimolle…

12. Nieuwe Hanover

New Hanover lies along Route 33 between Pietermaritzburg and Greytown in the Midlands of KwaZulu-Natal. There is not much to warrant a stopover in this small farming town however, the surrounding area offers opportunities for outdoor activities such as scenic walks, cycling, birding, fishing and the Durban beaches are just over an hours’ drive away. New Hanover lies just north east of Albert Falls Dam and game reserve which provides a variety of birds, fishing and water sports and the Karkloof Nature Reserve is only 48 km outside of New Hanover and is a birders paradise with sightings of Cape parrot, southern ground hornbill, all three crane species, oribi and the Karkloof blue butterfly! New Hanover is not the only small village in the area of German origin, it is surrounded by the…

13. Paulpietersburg

A hot spring, the Lurula Natal Spa, surfaces on the southern approaches to the 1536 meter mountain known as Dumbe, from the wild dumbe fruit which grows on its slopes. A village, named after President Paul Kruger and Commandant-General Pieter Joubert of the Transvaal, was founded in the area.

14. Pietermaritzburg

Capital of KwaZulu-Natal Pietermaritzburg is the capital of the province of KwaZulu-Natal and the second largest city in the province. It is one of the best-preserved Victorian cities in the world. It is the administrative capital of the province and is conveniently situated between Durban and Johannesburg, near the Drakensberg and several game reserves, Pietermaritzburg is a convenient stop over and base to explore KwaZulu-Natal. One of its most attractive features is that it is a city set amidst the forested hills and rolling countryside of the Natal-Midlands. Pietermaritzburg is the largest town in the Natal Midlands, a scenic retreat that boasts unmatched natural beauty, charming…

15. Vryheid

Vryheid is a centre for coal mining and ranching. History When Chetshwayo, the Zulu king, died on 8 February 1884, there was disagreement over the succession. Chetshwayo's son, Dinuzulu, found himself opposed by dissidents , notably a resolute fighting chief, Zibbebu, who had been granted independence by the British in their efforts to bring peace to Zululand after the Anglo-Zulu War. Dinuzulu's followers, the Suthu faction of the Zulus, were no match for Zibebu's fighting men, who also had the support of a number of European frontiersmen, who were friends of his, including John Colenbrander, who provided Zibebu with military guidance. Dinuzulu was approached by a group of Europeans -…