While the late 1800’s mining boom has long since faded, the area has of late reinvented itself as a nature-based tourism destination. There is now widespread recognition of the destination’s very unique and world-renowned geology and important biodiversity. This has given rise to significant investment in roads, telecommunications and other infrastructure on the back of several regional and inter-regional strategies to develop and promote the area along its innate strengths which lies in its scenic beauty and large unspoilt wilderness. This, in turn, has caused upwards of half a billion Rand in private sector investment in tourism and leisure property development.
Today Barberton is seeing an upturn in its economic fortunes, the equivalent of which was last seen in the 1880’s gold rush. And it is only the beginning, with projects such as the now completed construction of the R40 road between Nelspruit and Barberton placing Barberton only 20 minutes from the provincial capital Nelspruit. At the same time the R40 link road to Swaziland has been upgraded and has directed inter-regional traffic flows via Barberton and made these unique mountains much more accessible. The addition of packaging it as a geological interpretation route has had huge positive impacts on this charming rural town.
With an overall cost of living significantly lower than the metropolitan cities of South Africa and even more so when compared to UK, continental Europe and the USA, the area offers a vast array of modern amenities. With a stable economy and a first world infrastructure, the region is very modern, yet rustic. There are shopping malls, excellent roads, first class medical facilities, first world banking, cinemas, casinos, restaurants, coffee shops, bars, café’s, hotels and most other amenities you can think of. While most of these are accessible just 5km from the Mountainlands private entrance, you can be spoiled for choice with Nelspruit, the provincial capital, not much further down the country highway.
Only 40 minutes from the reserve is the Kruger International Airport, with direct flights to and from across the subcontinent and international package tours from Europe and elsewhere. A big advantage is that being on the same time zone European passengers suffer no jetlag to and from South Africa. Close to the reserve the local municipal airstrip can accommodate private planes where passengers can be collected by the reserve’s open vehicles. A further two private airstrips near Barberton offer additional private aviation services including hangars and charters.
The nineteen hospitals and private clinics of the area offer first world medical services. The closest to the reserve is a private Medi Clinic just 5km from the main gate. Almost every conceivable type of medical specialist can be found here, operating at the highest level of Western standards. Contrary to what some foreign doctors may think, no special precautions need to be made regarding one’s health. The area is safe and in Mountainlands the risk of malaria is no higher than in Rome or Miami. There is also no increased risk of yellow fever, cholera, or some of the other tropical diseases that still occur in some African countries. Doctors at the Travel Clinic in Nelspruit specialize in travel related illnesses and can be consulted before trips are undertaken into countries north of South Africa’s borders.
As the seasons are inverted to those in the northern hemisphere, it is an excellent way to spend some first class time for all those wishing to get away from the winter cold and rain. The climate is moderate to warm and rated as one of the best in the world.
South Africa’s legal system and property and commercial laws in particular are based on English law. It has one of the best conveyancing and deeds registration systems in the world, with an exceptional degree of accuracy, reliability and security of tenure. Modern surveying of the reserve has found farm beacons first surveyed in the late 1800’s to be accurate and on par with modern satellite based surveys, down to a few millimeters. South Africa offers an unusual degree of certainty with regard to property ownership – more so if one compares it to many European countries, some of which still have multiple overlapping Cadastres (deeds registers) which can be a nightmare to the investor. Property in South Africa can be owned individually (citizens and foreigners), jointly in undivided shares or by a legal entity such as a company or trust or similar legal entity registered either inside or outside South Africa. The legal and financial professions are well regulated and it is easy to find reliable advice from accredited professionals. Foreign citizens who invest in South Africa can repatriate their capital and profits if they wish.
The Lowveld area, which includes Mountainlands, is already world renowned for its big game reserves and wildlife. Not only does the Kruger National Park offer wildlife but the private game reserves adjacent to the west of the park have become well known for their first class wildlife and wilderness experiences. Names like Mala Mala, Londolozi and Sabi Sabi already conjure up images of unspoilt nature and luxury. Added to this, the areas south of the park, around Barberton, are now opening up for wildlife and wilderness development on a scale previously unknown.
Besides all the modern amenities of the region, it also offers a plethora of activities, some even inside Mountainlands through specialist operators. Several first class golf courses are within easy reach and accessible to visitors. Daytrips and tours into neighbouring Mozambique and the Kingdom of Swaziland can augment a wilderness holiday with the white beaches of the warm Indian Ocean coastline and the rich Swazi culture. A variety of tours and activities geared to the leisure traveller or more adventurous souls are also available: historical, natural, scientific, gold panning, micro lighting, ballooning, horse riding, Eureka city, 4×4 trails, paragliding, birding, cycling, mine tours, museums and heritage walks are but a few. The list keeps growing. Magnificent sightseeing is up for grabs around one of the most beautiful parts of southern Africa where one is often enticed to stop at one of the many arts & crafts centers or cultural villages for some memorable experiences.
Proximity to :
- Nelspruit – 45km (road currently being upgraded)
- Kruger Park – 60km
- Swaziland – 29km (road currently being upgraded)
- Maputo – 170km
- Johannesburg – 320km