The valley of Schoemanskloof most often passes in a blur, as motorists step on the gas to get from Mpumalanga to Gauteng (or vice versa) as quickly as possible along the flawless N4 highway. Rarely does recognition of this route extend beyond an odd comment of “hmm, this is actually quite beautiful”, and even those living in Nelspruit may never have explored the valley right on their doorstep. This is a bit of a shame really, as Schoemanskloof bursts with appeal. Here’s our selected list of things to do and places to stay in the kloof.
Old Joe’s Kaia
Named after the famous painted rock on the N4, Old Joe’s Kaia is a haven of tranquillity complete with a labyrinth, superb home-cooked meals and a beautiful stretch of the Crocodile River. The farm offers accommodation in characterful, comfy rondavels, log cabins and family units.
Drakenzicht boasts a unique, manicured ‘mountain links’ golf course, spread across the emerald green hills of Schoemanskloof. Guests have a choice between self-catering or B&B accommodation in luxury chalets with magical views over the valley. There’s a swimming pool and outdoor braai area to soak up the balmy climate.
Wolwekrans Eco Lodge
Set on the mountain tops, this eco-friendly lodge features arguably the best views in Schoemanskloof. The self-catering chalets have private bomas and fireplaces, along with panoramic vistas over the valley. Outdoor activities include hiking, fishing on the Crocodile River, mountain biking, picnics and spotting the variety of game and birds living in the pockets of indigenous forest.
The view from Drakenzicht in Schoemanskloof. Photo: Drakenzicht
Mankele Mountain Bike Park
This mountain biker’s playground boasts no less than nine different trails, ranging from a 1.8 km downhill thrill ride all the way through to a 55km beast. Mountain bikes are available for hire. The farm also offers river rafting, paintball and a 275 metre zipline, leaving thrill-seekers wanting for nothing.
Mpumalanga’s most famous caves are a short drive off the N4. The guided tour covers the history, geology and cultural significance of these remarkable underground caverns, ending with a stop at the mesmerising colours and reflections of the Fairy Land pool deep in the caves. The property has a dinosaur park and toe-tickling fish spa for good measure.
With quad bike trails, hiking routes, mountain biking and game viewing, Indabushe is an adventurer’s paradise. A range of rooms and tented accommodation are available, while a super tube, foefie slide, tree-top cables and other activities are due to be introduced soon.
Joubert and Seuns Farm Stall
For the best orange juice in the Lowveld, look no further than this stall right next to the N4. A comprehensive range of other products are available, allowing you to savour the bounties of one of South Africa’s most prolific farming regions.