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The Wildebeest's guide to South Africa

Mpumalanga attractions


Abel Erasmus Pass

Afrikaans name: Abel Erasmuspas

Abel Erasmus Pass

Abel Erasmus Pass

Photo © Johan van Zyl

The Abel Erasmus Pass connects the highlands of Mpumalanga province with the lowveld of the Limpopo province. The pass is an engineering marvel and it has 62 bends of varying severity. The pass is 24 km in length and the change in altitude is 737 metres. It was officially opened on the 8th May 1959.

One of the highlights of this pass is the JG Strijdom Tunnel which is 133 metres in length. There is a view site at the entrance to the tunnel.

The scenery along the route is spectacular. If you are "lucky" enough to get caught behind a slow-moving truck just relax and enjoy the view.

Abel Erasmus Pass

Abel Erasmus Pass

Photo © Johan van Zyl

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Berlin Falls

Afrikaans name: Berlinwaterval

Berlin Falls

Berlin Falls

Photo © Johan van Zyl

The province of Mpumalanga is blessed with a number of beautiful waterfalls such as the Lisbon Falls and this one, the Berlin Falls. While they are not quite as high as the Lisbon Falls they are a beautiful sight.

The Berlin Falls are on the Sabine River and are 80 metres high. The water drops into a basin that is bordered by red rocky cliffs.

Visitors can view the falls from an observation deck opposite them which presents a perfect view.

References and further reading

Southern Africa from the Highway - Author: AA RSA - Year Published: 1991 - Page: 61

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Bothasnek Pass

Afrikaans name: Bothasnekpas

Bothasnek Pass

Bothasnek Pass

Photo © Steven Herbert

Bothanek Pass is located in Mpumalanga between Badplaas and Barberton. It is approximately 14 km in length.

The pass climbs from 853 metres above sea-level, on the Barberton side, to 1,441 metres above sea-level.

The road is tarred and is in good condition. There are a couple of places where one can stop and take in the amazing views.

Scenery along Bothasnek Pass

Bothasnek Pass scenery

Photo © Steven Herbert

Bothasnek Pass

Bothasnek Pass

Photo © Steven Herbert

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Crocodile River

Crocodile River

Photo © Steven Herbert

The Crocodile River flows from the Dullstroom area until it joins the Komati River near Komatipoort.

The Crocodile River is probably best known as the southern border of the Kruger National Park.

One of its main tributaries is the Elands River which flows past Waterval Boven and Waterval Onder.

The river is used for trout fishing in its upper reaches near Dullstroom. In the Nelspruit area its water is used to irrigate the citrus plantations. As it flows eastward past Kruger National Park its southern bank is lined with game lodges and fields of sugar cane.

Crocodile River

Photo © Steven Herbert

As you can see the Crocodile River is not just a name. It really does have Crocodiles. Big ones!

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Elands River

Afrikaans name: Elandsrivier

Elands River

Photo © Steven Herbert

There are a number of Elands Rivers in South Africa. This article refers to the one in Mpumalanga.

The Elands River flows from near Machadodorp to just below the Montrose Falls. It is part of the Komati River basin.

The river flows past the town of Waterval Boven then plummets 70 metres over the Elands River Falls, before flowing past the town of Waterval Onder.

The Elands River joins the Crocodile River just below the Montrose Falls. This is near the intersection of the N4 and R539 roads.

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God's Window

God's Window

View from God's Window

Photo © Johan van Zyl

God's Window is a view site on the edge of the Drakensberg Mountain escarpment. Here you stand at the top of a 700 metre drop to the "lowveld" below.

The view is spectacular, particular during clear sunny weather. In good conditions one can see the Lebombo Mountains that form the border with Mozambique in Kruger National Park.

There is a parking area near a viewing platform but one can also take a trail to the highest view point which offers an even better view.

God's Window

View from the highest point at God's Window

Photo © Johan van Zyl

References and further reading

Southern Africa from the Highway - Author: AA RSA - Year Published: 1991 - Page: 60

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Grobler's Bridge

Grobler's Bridge over Komati River

Photo © Steven Herbert

Grobler's Bridge was finished in 1897 and was the main bridge across the Komati River, on the R36 between Carolina and Machadodorp, until it was replaced by the Stoltz Bridge nearby. Grobler's Bridge has a length of 41 metres and was made from locally sourced materials.

The Komati River is a perennial river that flows from between Hendrina and Carolina and flows east till it eventually reaches the Indian Ocean at Maputo Bay. This gives it a length of around 480 km.

This river merges with the Crocodile River near Komatipoort. Soon afterwards it plummets through a gorge down to the coastal lowlands of Mozambique.

The Komati River is also known as the Incomati River which is derived from the siSwati word for cow. Cows give milk all year round and this river flows all year which gives the link between the cow and the river.

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Komati River

Komati River looking upstream from R36

Komati River at Stoltz Bridge on the R36 north of Carolina

Photo © Steven Herbert

Pictured on this page is the Komati River where it crosses the R36 between Carolina and Machadodorp. The R36 crosses the river via the Stoltz Bridge which was built in 1967 to replace Grobler's Bridge which is a stones throw downstream.

The Komati River is a perennial river that flows from between Hendrina and Carolina and flows east till it eventually reaches the Indian Ocean at Maputo Bay. This gives it a length of around 480 km.

This river merges with the Crocodile River near Komatipoort. Soon afterwards it plummets through a gorge down to the coastal lowlands of Mozambique.

The Komati River is also known as the Incomati River which is derived from the siSwati word for cow. Cows give milk all year round and this river flows all year which gives the link between the cow and the river.

Stoltz Bridge over the Komati River

Photo © Steven Herbert

Komati River looking upstream from R38

Komati River looking upstream from R38

Photo © Steven Herbert

Pictured on this page is the Komati River where it crosses the R38 a bit east of Badplaas. This is just below the dam wall of Vygeboom Dam.

Komati River looking downstream from R38

Photo © Steven Herbert

References and further reading

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Krokodilpoortsberge

Krokodilpoortsberge taken from the N4 highway

Photo © Steven Herbert

Most people travelling on the N4 from Nelspruit towards either Kruger National Park or Mozambique are familiar with the spectacular range of hills on the southern side of the road, particularly in the Kaapmuiden area. These are the Krokodilpoortsberge.

If you travel between Nelspruit and Barberton on the R40 you get to cross these rugged hills on a tar road that surely has some of the tightest corners in South Africa.

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Lisbon Falls

Afrikaans name: Lisbonwaterval

Lisbon Falls

Lisbon Falls

Photo © Johan van Zyl

There are many waterfalls in the Mpumalanga province of South Africa, such as the Berlin Falls, but these are, at 92 metres, the highest.

Lisbon Falls are located near Graskop on what is known, for good reason, as the Panorama Route.

The falls are on the Lisbon River and are "plunge" type falls in that the water falls vertically without making contact with the rock surface.

The falls are named after the capital city of Portugal and there is also a large farm named "Lisbon" nearby.

References and further reading

Road Tripping South Africa - Author: MapStudio - Year Published: 2014 - Page: 161

Southern Africa from the Highway - Author: AA RSA - Year Published: 1991 - Page: 61

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Nelsberg Pass

Afrikaans name: Nelsbergpas

Nelsberg Pass

Nelsberg Pass

Photo © Steven Herbert

The Nelsberg Pass is also known as the Nelshoogte Pass. It is on the R38 between Badplaas and Barberton in Mpumalanga.

This scenic pass is 12 km in length and rises 405 metres, from its lowest point on the eastern approach, to a height of 1544 metres.

The road is tarred and in good condition but it is fairly steep in parts with a gradient of 1:7.

The Nelsberg Pass road goes through the Nelshoogte State Forest which is a plantation of pine trees.

Nelsberg Pass

Above - Nelsberg Pass

Photo © Steven Herbert

References and further reading

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Westoe Dam

Afrikaans name: Westoedam

Westoe Dam

Westoe Dam near Amsterdam in Mpumalanga

Photo © Steven Herbert

The Westoe Dam lies north of the small village of Amsterdam in Mpumalanga, South Africa.

Construction of the dam finished in 1968. The main reason for the dam was to supply water to local towns and industries.

The Westoe Dam is located on the Usutu River which flows from west to east. The R33 road crosses the Usutu River just below the dam wall as shown in the pictures.

It has a capacity of nearly 60 million cubic metres!

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