Pilgrims Rest









These caves are the oldest known to mankind, formed over 300 million years ago. Prehistoric man discovered these caves and at the beginning of the 19 th century they were used as refuges by sections of the Swazi people. One of their kings, Sobhuza 1, is said to have hidden in the caves to escape Zulu raiders. One of Sobhuza's brothers, Somcuba, built a capital for himself close to the caves, using it as a retreat whenever Mswati (Sobhuza's heir) attempted to recover stolen cattle. He even created a defensive alliance with the Lydenburg Republic, about which there is an old legend that the caves ( whose end has not yet been reached) leads all the way under the mountains to the town of Lydenburg. In the early years of the 20 th century, the caves were exploited for their deposits of bat guano.


It was only when Mr P R Owen acquired the farm that a road was built to the entrance and it was opened to tourists. Falls of rock, underground streams and mud make exploration of its full length difficult. In the 500 m length of the caves open to tourists, there are many dominant and powerful drip-stone formations.

The ceiling of the caves contains fossilised colonies of blue-green algae known as "stromatolites". Such stromatolites, one of the earliest identifiable forms of life in Southern Africa, flourished about 2 000 million years ago.

Contact: (013) 733 4152  : One hour guided tour daily from 08h30 - 16h30  : Crystal Tour - advance bookings only - 4 hr duration

Art and Crafts
Blyde River Canyon
Dullstroom Birds of Prey & Rehab
God's Window
Kruger National Park
Long Tom Pass
The Lydenburg Heads
Mac Mac Falls
Nelspruit Botanical Gardens
Pilgrim's Rest
Shangana Cultural Village
Sudwala Caves
Three Rondawels
Tsakani House of Africa Silk


Life Size, Accurate and artistic : Pre-Historic animals - open 7 days a week.


The Sudwala Dinosaur Park offers children an exciting and educational glimpse into the world of Dinosaurs and other pre-historic animals.


It is situated next to the Sudwla Caves in a lush, sub-tropical forest garden where beautiful cabbage trees, cycads, monkeys and birds abound. Tel: 013 733 5268



This natural water feature marks the beginning of the Blyde River Canyon.

Through countless eons the swirling whirlpools which occur as the Treur River plunges into the Blyde River, caused waterborne sand and rock to grind huge, cylindrical potholes into the bedrock of the river.


The Potholes were named after a gold digger, Tom Bourke, who staked a claim nearby.



Although his claim did not produce a single ounce of gold, he correctly predicted that large gold deposits would be found in the area.The Bourke's Luck Potholes is located 35km north of Graskop town on the R532 road. Just above the confluence of the Blyde and Treur Rivers is a curious formation of rounded holes in the rock caused by the perpetual swirling waters of the Treur River. The trekkers named the Blyde (meaning joy) and the Treur (meaning sorrow) following an incident when their sorrow turned to joy.


LONG TOM PASS back to top

The Long Tom Pass was named after the cannon, which the Boers used to try and dislodge the British from Lydenburg in the battle between the Boers and the British in the Anglo-Boer War (1899 -1902) in the Lydenburg area. In 1900 at the Battle of Bergendal, General Botha withdrew towards Lydenburg with two Long Tom guns. He moved east with guns in the direction known as the Long Tom Pass.

On the British side General Buller occupied Lydenburg on the 7 September 1900. Botha then shelled the town with the Long Tom guns from the heights. Buller and his force were in possession of two 5 inch guns, and these were used during the action in the town.



Buller, however, wanted to block the road from Nelspruit to Pilgrim's Rest, so they followed Botha. Although the 5 inch gun's range was comparable to the Long Toms, the Long Toms were more easily moved as they were fitted with 4 wheels, whilst the 5 inch guns had only 2 wheels. The Boers also fired with the Long Toms at ranges which were too far for the British field artillery to reply, and by the time the 5 inch guns had been brought to the front, the Boers and the long Toms had disappeared.


On the 11 September 1900 after the battle was over, Botha passed successfully through the pass with his men and the Long Toms. In 1953 the pass was opened and at some places the road takes a new route, but mostly the route has remained unchanged.The main obstacle along the route was the Drakensberg. In 1871, President TF Burgers ordered the construction of the road over this formidable barrier to the sea. The contract was awarded to Abraham Espag and most of the work was done by pick and shovel. The first wagons to use the new road, which followed the route of the old hawepad in many places, arrived in Lydenburg from Delagoa Bay in 1874. The pass used today was opened on 22 July 1953. Parts or the old road are signposted along the new pass, which was tarred in 1964. At Die Geut (the gutter), ruts can be seen in the slate where the locked wheels of the wagons slid down the steep gradient. Whiskyspruit's water was reputedly so good that it made an excellent drink regardless of the quality of the whisky!



In 1957 a young boy, Ludwig von Bazing, aged about nine or ten, was playing in the veld (fields) on his father's farm near Lydenburg. He saw pieces of the now famous Lydenburg heads lying there. Five years later he developed an interest in archaeology and went back to where he had first seen these shards, and over a period of 4 years, he collected pieces of seven heads. He joined the archaeology club of the University of Cape town, who insisted that he take these heads to the University. Carbon dating showed that these heads dated back to the year 490 A.D. and had been made by early Iron Age people. Study of the heads has suggested that they might have been used as masks. However, the neck is very long, as is the distance between the eyes and nose, which makes it rather difficult for the ordinary person to wear one. The purpose of these heads is obscure and one can only speculate that they were probably used during initiation ceremonies.



Pilgrim's Rest was named by a digger who had found gold there. He believed this would enable him to rest after his long pilgrimage seeking fortune! Thousands of prospectors flooded the lovely valley in one of the biggest gold rushes ever experienced. There were daily discoveries of fine nuggets of alluvial gold in the stream that came to be called Pilgrim's Creek. Today, the whole town has been proclaimed an historical monument and has been restored to its original splendour. The old Royal hotel - part of which used to be a church in Lourenco Marques (now Maputo) - was brought to Pilgrim's Rest by ox wagon.




The scenic beauty of the Blyde River Canyon, the worlds 3rd largest gorge, is awe-inspiringly magnificent! The Blyde River cuts a zig-zag passage, 16 kilometres long at a depth of 750 metres in the midst of dense vegetation below towering buttresses capped by cliffs of the most remarkable shapes. There are some magnificent viewpoints along this route, including God's Window and The Three Rondawels. On a clear day the view from God's Window extends across the lowveld, past the Kruger Park to Mozambique.
The Canyon forms part of 27 000 ha Blyderivierspoort Nature Reserve, stretching from Swadini in the north to just north of Graskop in the south.


GOD'S WINDOW back to top

A must is God's Window, a viewpoint at an altitude of 1,829m/6,000ft extending northward over the Blyde River Canyon, eastward over the Lowveld, 1,000m/3,300ft below, and the Kruger National Park to the Mozambique border, and westward over forest-covered mountains.A well laid-out track leads from the parking place to other viewpoints. One particularly rewarding trip (following signs to the Rain Forest) is on a path which winds its way through evergreen tropical rain forest. God's Window - so called for the panoramic view of the Lowveld.

In the distance lies the Kruger National Park and Mozambique. From the parking area a steep footpath along the edge of the escarpment leads to the actual view site where there is a Wild Nature Reserve. God's Window is a deep ravine in the edge of the escarpment: an awe-inspiring vew down into the lowveld. A path and motoring track from the parking site of God's window, leads along the edge of the escarpment to the Lowveld Panorama and nature reserve, a beautiful area of indigenous forest with a breath-taking view. In this reserve many flowering and aromatic plants can be found.




Further north along the R532 road, the turnoff to the Three Rondawels viewpoint is 4.6km from the Lowveld View turnoff (41 km north of Graskop) and the parking area another 2.8km further. The Three Rondawels are well known gigantic peaks made from quartzite and shale. The sheer rock walls of The Three Rondawels tower more than 700m above the surrounding landscape. The Three Rondawels are named after the three most difficult and quarrelsome wives of Chief Maripi Mashile - they are Magabolle, Mogoladikwe and Maseroto.


In 1898 President Paul Kruger proclaimed the area between the Crocodile and Sabie Rivers as the Sabie Reserve because hunting mania had wiped out the Lowveld's huge herds of game. After the Anglo-Boer war, the British began clearing the way for the protected areas by the forced removal of between 2000 -3000 local inhabitants in1903. These removals continued throughout the Kruger's history. In 1969 the Makukeke people were moved out of the Pafuri area. The dispute over land claims continues today. Major James Stevenson-Hamilton was appointed the first warden. He was a short, quick-tempered Scotsman and was given the African name "skukuza" meaning "he who turns things upside down". He waged constant war against poachers and was responsible for expanding the Kruger Park, incurring the wrath of local farmers who felt that the Reserve was a breeding ground for lions. Both domestic stock and people were often attacked. Piet Grobler, Minister of Lands in 1926 successfully passed the Bill on National Parks and named the area Kruger National Park. In 1927, three cars entered the Park. Two years later there were 850 cars. Over the next 50 years, 150 000 people visited the Park annually. Today, 700 000 people visit the Park every year.


KAAPSEHOOP back to top

Kaapschehoop is famous for the last wild horses of South Africa that roam the town freely.This part of Mpumalanga, South Africa abounds with legends of gold, and horses have an exciting history which dates back to 1721.  In 1882 Bernard Chomse claimed to have found gold in the bed of a stream on a high, narrow plateau which projects like a finger between the valleys of the Elands and the Little Crocodile rivers. Situated in the hills above Ngodwana 32km from Nelspruit, the picturesque village of Kaapschehoop has a unique atmosphere. A herd of wild horses has roamed the hills around Kaapschehoop for many years, and is reported to have originated from the release of mine ponies during the gold rush of the 1870's. The diggers called the strange place Duiwelskantoor ('devils reception room'). An early observation says: "No description could convey anything approaching an adequate idea of the difficulties of a journey through this region. The mountains are so rugged that only the devil could live here". 


It became known as De Kaap ('the cape'), and became the Gold Mining Commisioner's headquarters during the gold rush. Kaapschehoop literally means,"'hope of the cape". Today the village of Kaapschehoop offers the environmentally conscious tourist a chance sighting of the famous Blue Swallows, an endangered species, and protected in the grass lands. Prospectors still work in the area. With a little imagination one can see shapes in the rocks: "snoopy", "a lions head", "a laden camel". There are superb walking and hiking trails through extraordinary rock formations. Many artists live here permanently. Richard Branson of Virgin Airlines' fame discovered the work of Harem, a young artist from Kaapschehoop. There are a number of beautiful guest- houses inKaapschehoop, as well as other accommodation to suit all pockets.


MAC MAC FAllS back to top

When gold was discovered along the Mac-Mac River in 1873, a frenzied gold rush ensued. Many of the miners were Scottish, and therefore the camp was named Mac-Mac. In an attempt to divert the river, the miners placed dynamite on the crest of the Mac-Mac Falls. The explosion split the 64-metre-high waterfall into two splendid streams which plunge into the forested gorge below. There is a viewing platform which overlooks the Mac Mac Falls and visitors can also walk for 2 km along part of the Fanie Botha Hiking Trail to the Mac-Mac pools for a refreshing swim.



Since 1994 Tsakani has become closely associated with the concept of African Silk. It was one of the first companies to develop and market Wild African Silk products in South Africa. The Tsakani product range was originally developed for the Tsakani Silk Farm and includes both wild and cultivated silk products. The company focuses on the creation of fine quality products with a distinct African character, using local technology and resources.Wild African Silk is derived from the Gonometa postica, a species that is endemic to the Southern Regions of Africa. The cocoons of these caterpillars are harvested in the Acacia Veld of the Kalahari. The silk is fawn coloured and slightly textured with a soft sheen.Contact: (013) 755 3213 www.tsakanisilk.co.za



The Shangana Cultural Village , about 5 km west of Hazyview , just off the R535 to Graskop is also a good place to get a sense of the cultural traditions of the local Shangaan community as well as enjoy an excellent lunch. Entrance is free to the reception area and its craft shop, but the village can only be visited on a guided tour. The tour follows a winding path through fields and bush to the kraal, where a family lives. You'll also meet a sangoma and learn about traditional remedies



We have recently moved to a new site just one kilometre out side Dulllstroom on the Belfast side. We present two presentations daily at the moment where we fly eagles, owls, falcons, hawks etc. It is fun for all the family, great chances for close up photos of all the birds and you even get a chance to handle some of them. A really great wild experience. To help with funds for the centre we have now started our experience days where you get the chance to be a falconer for the day . Also we have our photographic days. look on our web page for details. Also new for 2006 is an extra demonstration at weekends. We now do a 12.30 demonstration and it really is going down a storm with some of our regulars. On a weekend if you come to all three demonstrations you will get the chance to see up to twenty different birds fly.
Tel: 013 254 0777 or 072 37 88 562, email falconer@dullstroom.net , web page www.birdsofprey.co.za





Witbank Dam is the biggest municipal dam in the southern hemisphere.
Witbank Municipal Dam can be contacted direct on 013 697 0151 or 013 697 0147
This dam is known as the largest municipal dam in the southern hemisphere and has a catchment area of more than 3 540 square kilometres.

  • water sports
  • camping, caravan sites and chalet accommodation.
  • adjoining nature reserve
    • 50 different tree species
    • 150 flower varieties, amongst which are the rare ground orchids and gladiola type.
    • wide variety of game species
    • various trails have been mapped out in the reserve, where 173 bird species can be detected.

P O Box 8073
Nelspruit 1206


Office hours:

Mon to Friday

08h00 to 16h30


Queries for adverts

Broken links

Accounts queries

Complaints or Compliments




Accommodation Bookings are done by Africa Bookings

Contact Naomi at

+27(0)13 745 7187


Email Naomi

















Happenings Facebook page


Rhino Crisis in South Africa

Happenings Websites and its associates disclaim all liability for any loss, damage, injury or expense however caused, arising from the use of or reliance upon, in any manner, the information provided through this service and does not warrant the truth, accuracy or completeness of the information provided

WEB DESIGN. WEB OPTIMISATION, AND HOSTING BY UQH - www.ultraquickhost.com ©Ultra Quick Host ®UQH It is illegal to copy or reproduce any information or images contained in this website without written application and subsequent permission from Ultra Quick Host