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LOCAL TIME: 12:26 am | Wednesday, 29 November
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Botshabelo Mission Station & Historical Village

The Botshabelo Mission Station and Historical Village are a South African Heritage Site, dating back to 1860 when two young German missionaries, named Alexander Merensky and Heinrich Grutzner, arrived in South Africa from the Berlin Mission Society.

They bought a farm in the Olifants River Valley near Middelburg in what is now Mpumalanga and established the ‘Place of Refuge’ (Botshabelo) Mission Station,

The Botshabelo Mission Station is incorporated within a small game reserve and includes an ‘open-air museum’ Ndebele Village with arts and crafts stores. The Ndebele are famous for their colourful and distinctive homesteads, ‘geometric’ art, dolls, clothing, beadwork, neck rings and jewellery – instantly recognisable among the many cultures in South Africa, and very sophisticated and beautiful.

Ndebele Homesteads are as lavishly decorated with geometric shapes as their clothing, and their murals are the celebrated result of a tradition that is passed through the women of the tribe, from mother to daughter. Ndebele artist Esther Mahlangu is famed internationally and been commissioned to create murals for private and corporate clients – some of which are on display at the Botshabelo Museum.

Self catering accommodation is available in the old missionary houses and activities on the property include walking and hiking trails, game drives and horse-riding. Historical tours and guided tours through the Ndebele Village are also offered.

For more info: 013 245 9900/9911

Getting there: From Johannesburg take the N4 to Middelburg and turn into the R35 to Groblersdal, turning left after 12km from Middelburg at the Botshabelo sign.

More info on the town of Witbank More info on the Highveld and Cosmos area

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