Africa > Southern Africa > South Africa > Mpumalanga > Waterval Boven
Waterval Boven is a small country village situated on the Transvaal Drakensberg Escarpment smack bang in the middle of Mpumalanga province. The town started out in the early 1890's when the steep gradients called for tunnels and bridges to be built for the line between Pretoria and Delagoa Bay (Maputo). 'Boven's main industry was the railway operations until the 1990's when operations were scaled down.
The town was named after the 75m Elands River Waterval just outside town. The translation from the old Dutch is "Above the waterfall". This is only one of the waterfalls nestled in the valleys surrounding 'Boven.
Today Waterval Boven is a retreat for rock climbers, mountain bikers, fly fishermen and anybody who just wants to enjoy nature and the slow rhythm of country life.
Follow the N1 towards Pretoria. Make sure you stay on the left just after exit 112 (Brakfontein/Old Pretoria road) as the N1 and N14 will meet and you need to keep following the N1 through the Brakfontein Interchange.
For some unknown reason the speed limit between exit 128 (John Foster) and exit 136 (Rigel Ave) is 100km/h rather than the usual 120km/h. There are static cameras, so make sure you don't exceed the limit.
Continue following the N1 until it meets the N4 at the Proefplaas Interchange, shortly after exit 141 (M6 Lynwood Rd), keep to the left and follow the N4 Witbank signs. From here, follow the directions as from Pretoria.
Take the N4 east towards Witbank. This is a toll road in very good condition and average driving time will be around 1 hour. Toll cost is R18 at the Diamond Hill toll gate (about halfway between Pretoria and Witbank). Keep an eye open for an impressive swallows nest construction (thousands of nests build from mud) covering the underside of one of the overpasses on this road.
You will reach the Middelburg toll gate shortly after passing through Witbank.
Stay on the N4 and pass by Belfast on your way to Machadodorp. If you need to take a break from driving and stretch your legs, stop at Milly's just before Macahodorp. You will also notice that the speed limit is reduced as you enter Machadodorp, so make sure you keep below the posted speeds as there are always speed traps.
Shortly after passing through Machadodorp you will reach the Machado toll gate.
Be aware that you might encounter heavy fog between Witbank and Machadodorp during the winter months.
Look out for the Waterval Boven turn-off on th right.
- Rock climbers discovered the quartzite cliffs of the area in 1991 and Waterval Boven has since become a major attraction to the domestic and international climbing community. With over 600 sport routes and a 150 traditional lines there is enough climbing to make you come back for more.
- Mountain Bikers can enjoy a number of single tracks in the area offering excellent riding and panoramic views.
- Other activities in the area include hiking, horse riding, fly fishing and bird watching. Fly fisherman can choose between stocked dams as well as river fishing. The river below the falls is home to an endemic yellow fish species and for that reason not stocked with trout.
The Stone Circle Bistro offers good meals in a beautiful riverfront setting.
Kaizer Chicken Dust situated in Emgwenya Township offers excellent flame-grilled chicken.
The Stone Circle Bistro is a fully licenced restaurant.
The Shamrock Arms is an Irish Pub.
Accommodation on offer ranges from luxury lodges to backpacker style budget accommodation.