Lydenburg is situated at the foothills of the famous Long Tom Pass and is surrounded by the Steenkampsbeerg and Mauchsberg mountain ranges which are the highest points in Mpumalanga. Besides being a tourist destination and a springboard to the many tourist attractions in the surrounding area, Lydenburg is today a mining boom-town servicing the numerous platinum and chrome mines in the area. Shopping is thus excellent and for those exploring this area, Lydenburg is an ideal provisioning town. For the many business visitors there are numerous quality B&B’s in the town and a few Star graded Lodges that also offer fly-fishing on the outskirts of town.
Lying only 290kms from Pretoria, Lydenburg is an easy 3 hour drive from Gauteng making it an ideal stopover to explore the Panorama Route, the Highlands Meander and the Kruger Park as well as the many game parks in Mpumalanga.
Four steams traverse the area, namely the Dorps River, Sterkspruit, Doringspruit and Klipgat, making it a fisherman’s haven. Just 55kms away is Dullstroom, a renowned tourism and trout fishing destination.
Lydenburg is the home of numerous Iron Age sites (500A.D.) particularly in the Gustav Klingbiel Nature Reserve,where stone-walled enclosures, engraved circles and pottery attest to these earlier inhabitants of this beautiful area. Most of this pottery is closely related to the pottery found at the Lydenburg Heads site in respect of age and decoration. These famous heads were found in the 1950’s by a schoolboy and comprise 7 clay masks which were probably used in rituals and ceremonies in the Early Iron Age. The original heads are now housed in the Iziko National Musem in Cape Town but perfect replicas are beautifully displayed in the Lydenburg Museum along with much of the original pottery. The Museum is also a treasure-house of early settler and Voortrekker displays and is well-worth a visit. In 1873 alluvial gold was discovered in the area and the town experienced a typical ‘Gold Rush’ as the precious metal was sifted from the waters. Regrettably the supply soon dried up!
Many talented artists reside in the area – painters such as Eugene Hurter, stained glass artists, wood carvers and bead workers. A annual exhibition is held at the civic centre to display and market these wares.
A strong cycling and running club arranges a number of events during the year, the most well known of which is the annual ‘Long Tom Marathon’, a grueling road race from Sabi to Lydenburg running over the dramatic Long Tom Pass.
The Gustav Klingbiel Nature Reserve is set on the edge of the town and comprises an area of 2,200 hectares with typical escarpment flora and fauna from orchids to cycads and tree ferns. There are numerous species of game to be found including zebra, most of the antelope species, baboons and monkeys, jackal, caracal and cerval and the occasional leopard. The reserve also offers excellent bird-watching and a list is available from the adjacent museum, as well as details of the Crane Hiking Route. The reserve is open to vehicles and hikers from 8hoo to 17h00 at R10 per person. While game watching and birding can be done from a vehicle, there are numerous hiking trails from 5kms to 12 kms. Hikers may also use the recently added mountain bike routes which include some hair-raising downhill tracks on a circular 20kms drive.
Lydenburg is an ideal springboard to world-renowned attractions like Blyde River Canyon, Pilgrims Rest and God’s Window and the route north over the Long Tom Pass or through the Strydom Tunnel takes the visitor through spectacular scenery dotted with waterfalls and terrain of great beauty.
To experience the majestic splendour of this area book a stay at Stonecutters Lodge situated just 20kms from Lydenburg on the Highlands Meander route (R540). This 4 Star lodge offers superb accommodation for couples or families on a self-catering or DBB basis and has a superb conference facility for up to 20 delegates.