Did you know?
Bulembu was purchased by Bulembu Ministries in Swaziland and is now a safe haven for orphans.
You may have heard of Mpumalanga’s historic little town of Barberton, once the bustling hub of the 1880s gold rush, but few visitors are aware of the spectacular Bulembu Pass that is accessed from Barberton.
The Bulembu Pass is a scenic route that takes you over and through some of the oldest mountains on Earth. This mountain pass twists and turns along winding roads and hairpin bends, bypasses mountain streams and crosses rivers before finally taking you to Bulembu, the former asbestos mining town just over the Swaziland border.
But be warned, while a sedan car can handle the journey, it is recommended you use a 4x4 as the road is extremely steep in places and full of potholes.
Set out from Barberton on the Sheba road and go south on the R40 to the Bulembu Pass. For the first 9km you’ll be on a steep tarred road that takes you over the Saddle Back Mountains. Be sure to stop at one of several lay-bys to admire the spectacular views.
Be sure to go left onto the Shiaylongubo Dam road, down 6km to Peglar’s Bush. This stand of magnificent natural forest in the midst of pine plantations is a highlight of the Bulembu Pass.
Once back on the mountain pass look out for the old Havelock-Barberton aerial cableway – used to ferry asbestos in the old days – that crosses the road in front of you and enjoy great views of the Songimvelo Game Reserve to the west.
One other must-do on the route is just 2km before the Swaziland border post. Turn right and descend into the Msauli Valley – a gorgeous spot full of waterfalls and rivers.