Middelburg (MP)

The town of Middelburg in the province of Mpumalanga was founded in 1864 when the Voortrekkers landed on the banks of the Klein Olifants River, they called this new village: Nasareth. This name disappeared in 1872 and became Middelburg because of the middle position between Pretoria and Lydenburg. The Dutch Reformed Church was built in 1890 and today it is a tourist attraction. Another old building is Meyers Bridge, this is a stone bridge that dates from 1896 and has been declared a National Monument. Middelburg is known in its own country as the ‘capital of stainless steel’ because of the large Columbus Stainless steel plant that is located there. For tourists, there is culture, history, nature and a variety of water sports.

During the Second Boer War (between the Afrikaners and the English) England built a large concentration camp in Middelburg. The Memorial Museum was later built along the 1381 graves of women and children who were killed there. For those interested in the history of South Africa, this is definitely a place to visit.

Middelburg is situated along one of the main routes to the world-famous Kruger Park and tourism is a small but growing industry. The most famous museum is the Botshabelo (‘hideout’) mission post that was founded in 1865 by two German missionaries to proclaim the Christian faith. In the former mission post you can visit Fort Merensky (or Fort Wilhelm), church buildings and the school. The fort is a mix of Western and Sotho architecture and was built to protect against various tribes that were already located in the area.

An extension to Botshabelo is Ndebele Village, an open-air museum where women from the Ndebele tribe still live in a traditional way and give you a very warm welcome to talk about their culture. The women use different shapes and colors to paint their house and beads to decorate their clothing. In this village you can see how the huts have changed over the years, the oldest hut dates from 1860. Between 8:00 and 16:00 visitors are welcome in the village and the women show how they manufacture their jewelry .

There are various dams around the city: Middelburg Dam, Loskop Dam and Kruger Dam, which means there is plenty to do for water sports and fishing enthusiasts. The Loskop Nature Reserve is located 55 kilometers from Middelburg and is suitable for game drives and safaris by boat because of the Loskop Dam with an area of no less than 2350 hectares. 70 different animal species live in the reserve, including rhino, buffalo, hippopotamus, crocodile and giraffe and many different bird species.

Hikers have a wide choice of routes in the area, for example the Middelburg Nature Reserve has beautiful routes where you can see the special Cycad palm trees along the way.

At the country club there are tennis courts, swimming pools, bowling and there is a golf course for those who want to hit a ball.

In terms of accommodation, there is sufficient choice in hotels, guesthouses and lodges such as: The Plantation Guest House.

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