The Highlands Meander offers a heady mix of outdoor adventures like off-road trails and cliff-climbing combined with gentler pursuits like trout fishing and hiking. Or you could just park off behind a telescope and watch the amazing night skies as the universe displays its sparkly jewels.

Did you know?

Dullstroom is home to all 3 South African species of crane - the blue, crowned and wattled.

 

 

South Africa's Highlands Meander begins on the outskirts of Belfast, a charming high-altitude grassland village on the R540 towards Dullstroom where you can stop and admire a number of historic old wood and iron buildings.

But if you feel like draught beer and pan-fried trout in the high country, then the charming town of Dullstroom beckons. This is the land of critchley hackles and wellingtons - the Highlands Meander region.

They call this area the trout triangle, a land where fly-fishing rules. But trout is not the only reason to visit the area: 3 species of crane call the region home, and astounding wild flowers proliferate. This is also where, if you are very, very lucky, you may glimpse South Africa's only breeding community of black leopards.

But there's more. There are still some old-timers in the district who make there own moonshine. These ‘stokers’ still use their original decades-old kettles to brew witblitz (literally ‘white lightning', a potent form of schnapps) for visitors to taste. But make sure you have a good hangover remedy at hand.

Next stop is the Kwena Basin, two valleys nudged up against the Steenkampsberg range, halfway between Lydenburg and Belfast. This quiet part of Mpumalanga had been a crop- and cattle farming area for decades. Now tourism is in the basin, complete with off-roaders, weekend honeymooners and star watchers who take to the heavens via giant telescopes.

Continue on Mpumalanga's Highlands Meander to beautiful Emgwenya (Waterval Boven), where rock climbers gather and have created special names for each ascent route of the many crags in the area.

Dances With Wombats, Nuns On The Run, Atomic Aardvark, Shrine Of The Sea Monkeys, Route Of All Evil, Curse Of The Armadillo - they all vie with Gretchen Goes To Nebraska for most evocative ascent route title.

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