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Welcome to Lydenburg

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The historical town of Lydenburg is situated at the foot of the Long Tom Pass on the highveld escarpment and lies between the Steenkampsberg and Mauchberg Mountain Ranges

The Voortrekker leader Hendrik Potgieter founded the "town of suffering" in 1850 when he, together with a party of Voortrekkers, decided to move away from the malaria scourge that was striking in Orighstad. The name of the town refers to the drought and malaria and general misfortunes faced by their people in Orighstad. For a while the town, the oldest in Mpumalanga, was one of several Boer "Republics" and also served as a point along the travel route to Mozambique, as well as playing quite a prominent role in the South African (Anglo-Boer) War. In 1873 alluvial gold was discovered and the town experienced somewhat of a gold rush, and quite a bit of the precious metal was sifted from the waters. This supply soon dried up, and today Lydenburg is known as more of a thriving agriculture and chrome and platinum mining centre.

There is much to in Lydenburg to keep travellers interested in history and heritage busy. At the Lydenburg Museum where visitors are taken back to the early days of the town's existence, many unique and fascinating displays can be seen. It takes in the history from Iron-Age man through to the arrival of the Pedi, the Voortrekkers, six wars, right through to today. It includes replicas of the Lydenburg Heads, discovered by a farmer's son, that are believed to date back to 500 AD. The originals are in Cape Town. Also at the museum is a distillery where visitors can try the potent traditional Afrikaner brew, mampoer. Also of cultural interest are the two historic Dutch Reformed Churches in town, one of which houses a small museum.

The area around Lydenburg is well known for the Long Tom Pass, named in honour of a skirmish between the British and Boers, as well as it being the site where the Boers positioned their "Long Tom" guns. The pass links Lydenburg on the Drakensberg plateau with Sabie on the escarpment, and is one of the most spectacular highways in the country. The 2,150m high summit is one of the highest points reached by a major road and offers spectacular views. Visitors to Lyndeburg can also relax or enjoy walking trails through typical escarpment fauna and flora in the 2,200ha Gustav Klingbiel Nature Reserve. Another great natural wonder is the dramatic Hydra, on the Dorp River about 16km from town, which has twin falls with a total drop of 245m.

Lydenburg is an eco-traveller and adventure fundi's paradise. It is within easy reach of world-renowned attractions like Blyde River Canyon, Pilgrim's Rest and Kruger National Park, while the hiking trails, including the Crane Nature, Famba Farms, Maratan, Pedi, Protea Nature, Ribbok and Sterkspruit trails are a great option to see the beauty of the terrain.

Trout and fly-fishermen are in for a treat at the Sterkspruit Dam, which has excellent fishing opportunities.

Did You Know that the Lydenburg Heads have the distinction of being the earliest known forms of African sculpture in southern Africa.

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© Aleo Group 2002 - all rights reserved - Published: 01 March 2002  Last Updated: 28 December 2011