A charming rural centre, Carolina is in the heart of Mpumalanga’s grasslands & wetlands region. It is popular for its gentle mountain scenery and pleasant outdoor pursuits. Carolina is also a popular birding destination with a warm, hospitable spirit here. Carolina has a range of country hotels, B&Bs, guest houses and self-catering cottages.
Beauty and history combine in Carolina. The area is steeped in the torrid history of the Anglo-Boer War. The whole village was destroyed during the war and had to be rebuilt. Carolina has some beautiful golden sandstone examples of Victorian architecture, while the eaves of nearby caves bear witness to the San people who once roamed these plains.
Today Carolina is a mixed farming and small-scale coal and precious stone mining community. It was once a staging post on the wagon route from Johannesburg to the gold fields of the Kaap Valley in the late 19th century. When farmers here first mooted the idea of establishing a permanent town in 1885, a local farmer offered up several portions of his farm on condition the town was named after his wife.
Look out for
Nooitgedacht Nature Reserve - This glorious nature reserve north-west of Carolina comprises an entire wetland complex that supports plenty of small game and birds. There is hiking, a 42km-long mountain bike circuit, birding and 4x4-ing.
Komati Gorge - The Komati River winds its way through an incredible sweep of cliffs between Carolina and eNtokozweni/Machadodorp. There are amazing views, giant carved potholes and red craggy cliffs. You can go boating, swimming, picnicking, hiking and botanising.
Birdwatching - There are over 200 species here, including the bald ibis and crowned crane.
History & heritage - Historic architecture, battlefields and national monuments are plentiful, so spend a day exploring historic Carolina. Check out Market Square, the Burger Monument and other memorials. You can also visit Bennefoi Farm, which was the first trading post and post office in the area. There is also Grobler Bridge, a national monument, built in 1896.
Fishing - There’s excellent fishing to be had in the Nooitgedacht Nature Reserve, as well as at Boesmanspruit. The Morula Fishing Festival, held on the banks of the Komati River, is a popular and lively annual event.
Hiking - With its mountains and unspoiled wilderness areas, Carolina offers some very good hiking adventures. Trails vary in length and include waterfalls, rock art and bird breeding projects.