Gateway to Mpumalanga's Highlands Meander, eMakhazeni/Belfast is one of the coldest places in South Africa. That’s what makes it one of South Africa’s premier fly-fishing destinations. Set on the eastern plateau of the Mpumalanga escarpment, Belfast’s icy cold and clear streams, rivers and dams provide perfect conditions for trout. They attract fishermen and anglers from around the country and the world.
eMakhazeni/Belfast is also known for its pretty scenery and pastoral feeling. Think rugged mountains, silver dams and fields of cows and sheep. The region is famed for its beautiful spring wild flowers, including masses of daffodils and tulips. eMakhazeni/Belfast has the biggest tulip nursery in the country, and the oldest plantation of bluegum trees.
The town itself is primarily an agricultural and mining centre. Coal, black granite, fire clay and kaolin are mined in Belfast and there are large deposits of chrome and iron. It’s also the junction for a railway line through Dullstroom and Lydenburg to Steelpoort. The name Belfast comes from an Irishman who settled here and named it after his hometown.
Look out for
Fly-fishing - eMakhazeni/Belfast is undoubtedly one of the country’s top fishing destinations. The rivers, streams and dams are well-stocked with bass and trout. Almost every spot in this charming area is fishing friendly.
Outdoors - The landscape around eMakhazeni/Belfast is mountainous, with grasslands, wooden ravines, cliffs, kloofs and canyons. This is outdoor action central. You can go hiking, rock climbing, abseiling, hot air ballooning and paragliding. There are 4x4 routes, horse riding trails and mountain biking paths.
The Highlands Meander - eMakhazeni/Belfast is a gateway to one of Mpumalanga’s most charming tourist routes, the Highlands Meander. It takes in the friendly little towns of Emnotweni/Dullstroom and Enthokozweni/Machadodorp along the misty heights of the Mpumalanga escarpment. The area is a day-trippers delight. You can discover a vibrant arts & crafts community, friendly restaurants and pubs.
History & archaeology - There are many buildings and sites of historic interest. These include: the Berg en Dal Monument, the Anglo Boer war monument and Kwasimkulu - an archaeological site of the Ndzunda-Ndebele people.
Belfast Tulip Nursery - eMakhazeni/Belfast has the biggest tulip nursery in the country. It’s well worth a visit – especially in spring when the tulips and daffodils burst into colourful bloom.
Birding - eMakhazeni/Belfast is an excellent birding destination, with possible sightings of some rare species. These include all three species of endangered South African cranes (the blue, wattled and crowned cranes). Stanley's bustard and the extremely rare and elusive white-winged flufftail can also be spotted if you’re lucky.