Bourke's Luck Potholes, Blyde River Canyon Nature Reserve, Mpumalanga, South Africa. Picture: Wikimedia Commons
Bourke's Luck Potholes, Blyde River Canyon Nature Reserve, Mpumalanga, South Africa. Picture: Wikimedia Commons

3 must-see places in Mpumalanga

By Debashine Thangevelo Time of article published Sep 18, 2017

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If you ever find yourself Mpumalanga, make a point at popping in at these spots.

The Sudwala Caves


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Set in Precambrian dolomite rock first laid down about 3.8 billion years ago, when Africa was still part of Gondwana, the caves formed about 240 million years ago. 

There are a number of speleothem structures in the cave, known by names such as the “Lowveld Rocket” and the “Screaming Monster”. 

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There are also microbial fossils of collenia, a cyanobacterium in the rock, formed 2 billion years ago. The caves were used for shelter in prehistoric times, probably due to a constant supply of fresh air from an unknown source in the caves. 

Bourke’s Luck Potholes

This geological feature is at the confluence of the Treur and Blyde Rivers.

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Sustained kolks in the Treur River’s plunge pools have eroded a number of cylindrical potholes or “giant’s kettles”. It was named after a local prospector, Tom Bourke, who predicted the presence of gold, though he found none himself. 

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Pedestrian bridges connect the various overlooks of the potholes and the gorge downstream. 

The Three Rondavels

These three rondavel-like round, grass-covered mountain tops with somewhat pointed peaks have names commemorating a 19th century chief, Maripi, and three of his wives.

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The flat-topped peak adjacent to the rondavels is Mapjaneng, “the chief”, remembered for opposing invading Swazis in a battle. 

The three rondavels are named for three of his more troublesome wives: Magabolle, Mogoladikwe and Maseroto. Behind the rondavels the distant high plateau of Mariepskop may be visible.

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Beside the dam, Thabaneng hill is known as the “sundial” or “mountain with a shadow that moves”, allegedly indicating the time of day. 

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