Barberton Mountainlands

You can drive this in your own 4×4 vehicle or in ours! This trail is rated as a 2-3 and can escalate to a 4-5 when wet. We consider this as our flagship tour.

The trail starts at Greenstone Wildlife Estate at 9 am where we get off the beaten track “Where the road ends and the fun begins.” After driving on a single track gravel road for 5km, passing through the valleys of Mountainlands Nature Reserve, we stop at 14 Streams picnic spot and camping site which has breathtaking views of the valleys, waterfalls and natural rock swimming pools only to mention a few. In this area, we normally see an abundance of animal life and quite a few of the endangered red duikers. As an extra option, we can take you on an underground mining tour through the Florence-Devonian Gold Mine or just have a quick breakfast next to the stream. From here we start to climb from about 800m to about 1300m above sea level. This is where it gets interesting with inclines of up to 35 degrees while traveling on a narrow road right on the cliff’s edges. Don’t worry, it looks more intimidating than it really is. Half an hour later we arrive at the first plateau where big herds of Zebra, Blue Wildebeest, and the elusive Eland can be seen. This stop has awesome views of the Makhonjwa Mountain Range and the 3.25 billion-year-old beach can be seen on the distant mountain range. From here we continue upwards on a winding two-track trail that sometimes disappears, a sure sign of such a special privilege to visit this part of the world. About fifteen minutes later the highest point of the Mountain Range, with a 360-degree view as far as Bearded Man (a Mountain in Swaziland 1456m) is reached. This feels like the top of the world with views of hundreds of mountain peaks below. This is called “The Valley of a Thousand Hills” From here we have to cross a valley to get to the next mountain range, with a couple of tricky “Zig Zag” corners as we drive down the valley. The next climb has a 100-meter long strip with lots of cross holes. After a couple of minutes, we stop at the top of the mountain range, where you can calm your nerves as the next 30 minutes is an easy drive. Time to start up the “braai” and have some lunch. We stop at the Gates of Heaven where you can still see the signs of the ox wagon road which started down at the bottom of the mountain and continued straight up with inclines up to 35 degrees. The metal band on the wooden wheels left an imprint that is still visible in the soft rock. This is where it gets interesting again as the road winds down a rocky trail to the bottom of the valley with views over the Barberton basin. This last stretch of the trail takes about 45 minutes to finish. We exit through the Gates of Hell, so called because in late 1800 the only safe haven was the top of the mountains, as the bottom parts had Malaria, Tsetsi fly, the Fever and were almost un-travelable in the rainy seasons. This area was called the Valley of Death. The tour ends close to where we started at Greenstone Wildlife Estate at about 16:00