Botshabelo Historical Town, Museum, Nature Reserve and Hiking Trails

near Middelburg, Mpumanlanga

In 1865, two German missionaries, Alexander Merensky and Heinrich Grütner bought a farm in the Olifants River valley near Middelburg and established a mission station named Botshabelo (Place of Refuge). A fort was also built to protect the settlement called Fort Wilhelm and this eventually became Fort Merensky. A small town developed around the mission and includes a 2300ha nature reserve. The historical little town includes a beautiful little church and many period buildings that blend in so well. Accommodation can be booked through the number at the bottom of the page. Botshabelo is situated 8km outside Middelburg on the Groblersdal road. When you enter Middelburg from the Witbank direction Botshabelo is clearly signposted. There is no need to book the trails and payment is included in with the cost of the entrance at the main gate.

Three hiking trails of different lengths have been developed. These are well marked and focus on the Klein Olifants River and the gorge through which it flows.

  The trails start from a board close to the office. Although currently there are no maps of the trail available, the trails are not difficult to follow. The trail are (with their marking colours):

Aasvoėlkrans 12km (White)

Bobbejaanstert 10km (Blue)

Botshabelo 6km (Red)

  One of the main features of the trails are the magnificent examples of the local species of Cycad Encephalatus lanatus that flourishes in the area.  
  There are some lovely rock formations along the route. The sandstone has been carved into many unlikely forms by the erosion forces of nature.  

It is important to take plenty of water along with you as it is not advisable to drink the water from the river.

  Animal species such as Blesbuck, Springbok, Duiker, Zebra, Black Wildebeest, Eland etc are to be found in the reserve plus a large variety of bird species.

Please don't feed the Vervet Monkeys or Baboons and carry your rubbish out of the trails.



The Ndebele village is well worth a visit. This is situated close to the camping site, at the end of the Aasvoėlkrans trail.


For more information and bookings for the accommodation, church for weddings, caravan and camping


Telephone+27 (0) 13 245 9003

Tel/Fax +27 (0) 13 245 9000

Footprint Hiking Club

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