Mashishing is a historic town that sits at the top of the Mpumalanga escarpment. It’s accessible via the Long Tom Pass which winds its scenic way down to the town of Sabie. Mashishing/Lydenburg is in popular fishing country.
The town is charming and friendly and full of life - a mix of Pedi, Ndebele, English and Afrikaans. It is surrounded by the Steenkampsberg and Mauchsberg mountain ranges.
There is evidence around Mashishing/Lydenburg of the Iron Age people who lived here some 2 000 ago. These were tall Nguni people who moved in waves down from central Africa displacing the Bushmen and settling on the Highveld and escarpment.
The scenic highlight of Mashishing/Lydenburg is undoubtedly the famous Long Tom Pass which corkscrews its way down the mountain. It’s 57km long and reaches some 2 000m above sea level at its summit. It is a somewhat challenging drive, prone to sudden mists and shafts of golden light. The pass is named after the 155mm guns used by the Boers in the Anglo-Boer War, nicknamed ‘Long Toms’ by the British.
Look out for
Fly-fishing - This is one of the most popular spots for fly-fishing breaks. There are beautiful dams and lakes here, and many a charming B&B, guest house and hotel.
Lydenburg Waterfall - One of the area’s most spectacular, the Lydenburg Waterfall actually consists of three waterfalls. Two of the falls lie next to each other and plunge into a deep pool that feeds the third.
Gustav Klingbiel Nature Reserve - An excellent museum featuring a history of human settlement here since the Iron Age. It also covers the history of the Pedi people, the Voortrekkers, the six wars, and more recent events in local history. The reserve has extensive ruins of Stone Age villages dating to before 1500 AD.
Historic Mashishing/Lydenburg - Lydenburg was the second-oldest town in the former Transvaal and there are many historic buildings in the heart of downtown that date back to the time when this was called ‘the town of suffering’.
Lydenburg Museum - Replicas of terracotta masks discovered in the Sterkspruit Valley are on display at the Lydenburg Museum. These are known as the Lydenburg Heads. There are seven of them that date back to the Early Iron Age period of around 500 AD. Six of the heads resemble those of humans, and the seventh is an animal replica of some sort.