- Mkhondo (Piet Retief)
Piet Retief, or Mkhondo as it is now known, is a reasonably sized town situated in the Assegai Valley in the extreme south east corner of Mpumalanga. In 2010 it was renamed Mkhondo, meaning Assegai, the name of the local river running through the valley.
The town is picturesque, surrounded by beautiful plantations of Blugum and Wattle trees and lies approximately 100 km from its neighbouring towns, Ermelo and Vryheid. Piet Retief is also used as a popular stopping point en-route to Swaziland and the Kwazulu-Natal coastline.
Visitors can enjoy the great outdoors around Piet Retief, forests, dams and mountains which provide many opportunities for walking, hiking and biking. Fishing is another popular past time in the area – the dams, streams and rivers are well-stocked with a variety of fish species, particularly the indigenous yellowtail and Natal yellowfin.
There are some fine historical buildings too, like the Dutch Reformed Church, built by Gerard Moerdijk in 1921 who was the architect responsible for the Voortrekker Monument in Pretoria. Piet Retief was almost completely destroyed during the Ango-Boer War and the old Blockhouse is another historical building worth viewing. You can also visit the historic German settlement of Wittenberg.
There are various accommodation options in the area, which include B&B’s, Guesthouses, Lodges, self-catering cottages.
Things to do and see
- Grey Rhebok Hiking Trail
- Assegai Hiking Trail
- Piet Retief NG Church
- Heyshope Dam
- Oribi Conservancy
- The Candle Factory
- Rainbow Route
- Piet Retief Golf Course
Piet Retief receives approximately 920 mm of rain annually with most of its annual rainfall during summer.
Summer months, November to March will have average temperatures of between 14˚C and 26˚C.
Winter months, May to August will have average temperatures of between 3˚C and 22˚C.
There are daily flights into O R Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg, approximately 318 Km’s away along the N2 and N17 and into King Shaka International Airport in Durban, approximately 394 Km’s away via the R34. Car hire facilities are available at the Airport.
The town of Piet Retief was founded by the Voortrekkers and laid out in 1883 on the farms Osloop and Geluk. It was named in honour of the Voortrekker leader Piet Retief who was killed by the Zulus under the leadership of their King Dingane in 1838.
Although it was the Voortrekkers who were the founders of this town, settlers of all nationalities, among them Germans and Scots, soon found the tranquil grass and timberlands setting attractive.
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