The Ultimate Country Getaway
Wakkerstroom is a tiny village, located just east of Volksrust, in a peaceful valley in the Grass and Wetlands Region of Mpumalanga province. It was once a collection of farms, and a few rural retirement homes for folks from the city, built around a tiny town with some historical buildings but not much else.
Today however, the area is of considerable importance to South Africa as a natural heritage area. Thanks to the Wakkerstroom Wetland Reserve and Training Centre, the town has been put on the birding map and monitors many endangered bird species. The successful promotion of the area as a bird lovers destination saw the town boom with guesthouses, restaurants and shops. Wakkerstroom is still however a small charming little village, there are traffic lights for at least 30 kilometres in any direction, and that’s the way the locals like it!
Wakkerstroom is well worth a visit, and not just for birding. The countryside is beautiful and offers an abundance of outdoor activities which include Alpaca Goats and wool products, 4×4 and MTB Trails, fly-fishing, San Rock Art, hiking trails, off-road-biking and quad-biking, horse-riding and horse trails.
For the more culturally inclined the town has a museum and a few historical buildings which makes up a wonderful Walking Historical Route through the town – this can be booked at the Tourism Centre.
Wakkerstroom accommodation includes self-catering, guesthouses and B&B’s.
Things to do and see
- Grey Rhebok Hiking Trails
- Ossewakop Hiking Trail
- Ossewakop 4X4 Route
- Busman Paintings Tour
- Wakkerstroom Wetland Reserve
- The Roost Alpacas
- Old Kruger Bridge
- St Mark’s Church
- Historical Walking Route
- Blood River Vlei
- Nelshoogte Pass
- Volksrus Golf Course
Wakkerstroom receives approximately 790 mm of rain annually with most rainfall occurring during the summer months.
Summer months, November to March will have average temperatures of between 12˚C and 26˚C.
Winter months, May to August will have average temperatures of between 0˚C and 21˚C.
There are daily flights into Johannesburg’s O R Tambo International Airport, approximately 266 Km both via the R50 and R23 and also into the Nelspruit Airport, Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport, and Pietermaritzburg Airport, both approximately 330 km away. Car hire facilities are available at both Airports.
Wakkerstroom the town, was established in 1859 and is the 6th oldest town in the district of the Old Transvaal.
In 1859, Dirk Cornelius Uys – better known as Swart Dirk Uys, due to his dark complexion – and two others known only as Gunter and Joubert, were instructed to search for a suitable place in the remote part of the Transvaal to establish a new town and congregation. They travelled inland from Potchefstroom, and, after a week or two, they stopped overnight at a place that made a most favourable impression on them the following morning.
Uys immediately began to measure out the streets and demarcated the town. When the town was subsequently surveyed with a proper surveyor’s chain 1941, there was only a slight difference between the new pegs and those initially staked by Uys.
Dirk Uys proposed that the town should be known as Uysenburg, but the Executive Committee of the ZAR preferred that the town should be named after the President, so it became Marthinus Wesselstroom. The district became known as Wakkerstroom, and by 1904, the town itself also became known as Wakkerstroom.
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