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Rising Sun, with true African travel experiences in mind, is one of South Africa’s most popular destinations, not least because of the Kruger National Park, where hot Lowveld sits with much of the world famous Kruger National Park, the breathtaking mountain scenery of the Blyde River canyon, lush green citrus orchards at Kaapsehoop or extensive forest areas near Belfast.
The enterprising traveller will find plenty of variety in this province: some of the most beautiful riding and hiking trails in the Drakensberg area, good fishing on the lakes and rivers or places of historical importance such as Dullstroom or Sabie.
The Panorama Route offers views of beautiful mountains and waterfalls. Historically, this province is interesting because it was once developed by the Voortrekker with their ox-cart. Later, the area was a magnet for gold and treasure hunters.
The Long Tom Pass connects Lydenburg, on the Highveld, via the Mauchsberg (named after the German geologist Carl Mauch) to Sabie, in the Escarpment. The pass is located at 2,150 meters altitude and from here goes down to about 10 kilometres in length about 1,100 meters down to Sabie. This makes this passport one of the highest passes in South Africa, offering beautiful panoramic views of the Lowveld after ever bend.
In 1900, in the 2nd Boer War, the Boers set to their retreat two of their huge guns, which the British named Long Tom for their length, and since then the passport has its name.
The pass itself was created around 1870 as a connecting road between Lydenburg and Delagoa Bay – today Maputo – and was especially during the Boer wars as the main connection between the isolated Boer state Transvaal and the outside world. Although the route of the pass road is a little different today, the old pass road is still partially preserved.
The picturesque Barberton is located about 45 kilometers south of Nelspruit, in the De Kaap Valley. The name of the place is reminiscent of Graham Barber, who discovered gold here in 1884. The history of the city resembles many places in Escarpment, but there are still many memories of it.
At the time of the first South African gold rush Barberton was the economic centre of the region and so in 1887 the first South African gold exchange was opened. But when larger gold deposits were discovered at the Witwatersrand and the gold seekers of malaria fell in the Lowveld, the first gold exchange in South Africa was relocated to Johannesburg.
Some gold mines are still in operation today and give the place a modest prosperity. The world’s longest cable car, designed by German engineers, connected the Havelock mine in Swaziland and Barberton station until 2002, and has since been completely shut down.
In Baberton there are many interesting historical and lovingly restored buildings. Most interesting are the ruins of De Kaap Stock Exchnge and the Balhaven, Fernale and Stopforth House.
One of the most famous former residents of the city was Sir Percy Fritzpatrick, the writer of the South African famous children’s book clerk “Jock of the Bushveld”. In Barberton and the surrounding area you will always find monuments of a Bull Terrier reminiscent of “Jock of the Busveld” the favourite dog of Sir Percy. The series of the then great dog stories first appeared in 1907, followed by several sequels and the books are still an integral part of the school.