Mpumalanga HighlandsThe enchanting escarpment
Unmask hidden gems of history, cloistered by exhilarating landscapes
The Mpumalanga Highlands, one of the most undiscovered areas in South Africa, covers the higher reaches of the escarpment and is ensconced between the Cultural Heartland and Panorama Regions. The region specifically caters for the needs of bird watchers, nature lovers and especially hikers who delight in the challenging cliffs, ravines, and rolling mountains.
Those interested in the history of the old Zuid Afrikaans Republic of Paul Kruger and the Anglo-Boer War(1899-1902) can take time out to explore the ruins of forts, artillery placements, trenches and graves of soldiers found in and around many of the towns and villages.
For those who love unraveling mysteries, there are the ruins of Stone Age and Iron Age settlers left behind by a vanished people, the Koni tribe. During your stay at Verlorenkloof Lodge, you will be immersed in the life of these forgotten people and their forgotten world.
Few South Africans, let alone visitors know about these people and their stone crafted settlements, terraced fields and linking roads. The Koni story defies the usual stereotypes about backward African farming techniques and shows that these settlements housed a substantial population, organised vast amounts of labour for infrastructural development, and displayed extraordinary levels of agricultural innovation, prowess, and productivity.
StoryScape travelers can enjoy a unique swathe of land set high on the escarpment, unlike any other area in the province. A region of waving grasses that go one for as far as the eye can see, of craggy escarpment walls, impressive mountain passes, thundering waterfalls, enchanting forests and crystal-clear streams.
For many people, the Mpumalanga Highlands is the ‘Gateway to the Lowveld’, a landmark normally passed on the route between Gauteng and the Kruger National Park, somewhere to drive through rather than to stop and visit. StoryScape travelers will venture off the beaten track and explore this undervalued region, a host of incredible sites and wonderful attractions.
It is somewhat ironic that the “gateway” to the sweltering heat of the Lowveld is also one of the most temperate places in the province, where misty mornings and cold crisp nights are a normal occurrence even during the summer months.
This cooler climate makes the Mpumalanga Highlands the perfect escape from the heat of the Lowveld and ensures the region’s dams and streams are crystal-clear and ice-cold, the perfect breeding ground for trout. It also induces summer spectacles like the floral blooms that turn the grasslands a rich tapestry of colours. While the rocky escarpment with its mountain passes have many stories to tell, from ancient rock paintings, stone walled settlements to more recent Anglo-Boer War history.
There are a number of interesting Highland towns and hamlets to explore, each with its own interesting history and unique attractions., Dullstroom being one of the quaintest and the epicentre of South African fly-fishing. Verlorenkloof Lodge with its magical setting is where the StoryScape traveler will spend two or three nights getting to know this wonderful corner of South Africa.