Discover the Lowveld and Highveld of Mpumalanga on the two-day Queen Rose Trail, which includes steep ascents and descents, lush landscapes, rich biodiversity, gorgeous cascading waterfalls and natural swimming pools – what more could you want?

Did you know?

Mpumalanga province was formerly known as the Eastern Transvaal.

Approximately 330km from Johannesburg you’ll find a hiking trail to take you back to the tranquility and beauty of nature.

Located between Badplaas and Barberton in the Nelshoogte Nature Reserve, this two-day hiking trail spans a mere 21km. But don’t be fooled, this is not flat terrain and sturdy hiking boots, along with some degree of hiking fitness, are an absolute must when attempting to do trail.

The trail, consisting of two sections, runs mostly through the Komatiland Forestry, along the Montrose and Queens Rivers. You can start at either section: the 13km Montrose section, which is mostly downhill; or the 8km Queens River section, which is mostly uphill. You can rest your weary head at one of the two overnight hiker’s huts, the Queens View and the Makesh. Both huts have electricity, beds, mattresses, ablution and braai facilities, and can sleep up to 20 people.

The Montrose section begins at the main entry gate and although it is predominantly a downhill trail, an initial burst of energy is spent going uphill through the Pine Forest for about 2km. The descent through the indigenous forest is a particularly fragrant one as your nostrils take in the scent of the lush flora, only to be broken by a plunge in the nearby Alvin Falls’ natural swimming pool. The trail then continues along the river and cuts down the Makhonjwa Mountains, ending with a path crossing through open grasslands towards Makesh Hut.

The Queens River section of the trail follows the Queens River Valley. You can expect to pass a local settlement, cross the river on a log bridge, take in the views of the Crowned Eagles nest, cross a low-level bridge and later visit a picnic area to enjoy a spot of lunch on your way to Queens View hut.

The Queen Rose Trail is an average hike in difficulty but a spectacular hike in every other way.

Travel tips & Planning info

Who to contact

The Queen Rose Trail
Tel (Andrea): +27 (0)79 180 1488

How to get here

From Johannesburg you can hire a car and drive along the N4 going east to Mpumalanga. At Machadodorp, turn right onto the R541, then turn left at the T-junction onto the R38. Follow the R38 to the Nelshoogte Nature Reserve where the trail begins.

Best time to visit

It can get very hot in summer (December to February) so it’s best to visit the area during the cooler months of the year.

What to pack

Make sure you come prepared for both the Lowveld heat and the Highveld chill. This is a high rainfall area, so be prepared for summer afternoon rain and crisp clear winter evening. A hat, sunscreen and insect repellant are always recommended.