Did you know?
2 500 Boers defeated 7 500 British in a night attack during the Battle of Chrissiesmeer.
The centre of the Highveld Heritage Route is the little town of Ermelo in southeast Mpumalanga. This route will take you on a fascinating journey packed with culture, history, wildlife, mystery and relaxation.
Let's visit the ancient past first, in the Batwa Valley with its giant mushroom rock. Early tools, soot-blackened cave walls and rock art speak poignantly of a San people called the Tlou E'Tie who once lived here before the assegais of the warring Nguni tribes drove them out.
Fast forward to the South African War and the 1901 Battle of Chrissiesmeer, where Boers and Brits fought and fell. Boers who didn't support the cause were known as 'joiners' or 'henshoppers', and when you visit the town cemetery you'll find them buried side by side with their fellow countrymen. With one big difference – their graves (along with the British graves) – face the opposite direction.
Enjoy the little town of Chrissiesmeer and its beautiful old sandstone houses before taking in some of the other attractions of the Highveld Heritage Route. Take a township tour to Wesselton where you'll get a warm welcome from the vibrant community before slaking your thirst at a local shebeen.
Then pop into Ebutseni, a traditional Swazi village at Oshoek, close to the South African-Swaziland border. Or go wild in the Nkomazi Game Reserve and Songimvelo Nature Reserve. You might fancy a dip in the hot mineral springs at Badplaas or choose the tranquillity of the Matotoland lake district where 270 lakes shimmer like jewels among lush grass and wetlands. Birding is superb here.
Finally, add some mystery to your Highveld Heritage tour by visiting the ghost village of Bonnefoi with its deserted mansion, silent post office and derelict hotel. Or marvel at the hand-built stone circles, estimated to have been built thousands of years ago. But built by whom? Nobody yet knows the answer.