Hit the Wild Frontier of Mpumalanga and take a trip back in time to the days of the Barberton gold rush and beyond in a landscape of ancient mountains where leopards and hyenas track their prey through woodlands and ravines haunted by the ghosts and ruins left by long-forgotten tribes.
Bordering on Mozambique, Swaziland and the southern extremity of the Kruger National Park, the Wild Frontier of Mpumalanga's nucleus consists of the historic towns of Barberton, Komatipoort, Kaapmuiden and Badplaas. Barberton in particular is perhaps the quintessential frontier town, the site of South Africa's first gold rush in 1884. You can spend a couple days here just exploring the museums and monuments, including the first South African stock exchange and the Victorian houses along Heritage Walk.
From Barberton, old wagon roads take you past the ghost mining town of Eureka into one of the world's most ancient landscapes. The Makhonjwa Mountains enjoy the status of a 'Centre of Biological Endemism', thanks to the plant and animal species nurtured by protected mountain catchment areas. Mountainlands Nature Reserve, just ten minutes from Barberton, is the centre of a proposed World Heritage Site as the hub of the Archaean Greenstone Belt, containing rocks and life forms more than 3 billion years old. Some of the finest Mpumalanga camping sites are here.
Here you can find the Songimvelo Game Reserve, Mpumalanga's biggest at 50 000 hectares. Buffalo, kudu, giraffe, elephant, white rhino, brown hyena and leopard are among the creatures roaming its grassy plains, woodlands and forested ravines, which are interspersed with rock paintings and archaeological remains dating as far back as 400 BC.
For an adventure outdoors, an abundance of wildlife, bird life, plant life, the geology of the mountains, a history lesson outside of the classroom, heritage and folklore – the Wild Frontier is the place to go!