Machadodorp nestles next to the N4 highway between Gauteng and Mozambique and many tourists use the town as convenient overnight stop en route to the Kruger National Park. However, tourists staying a few days in this picturesque town will find plenty of activities to keep both adults and children occupied for hours.
History of Machadodorp
The town lends its name from a Portugese engineer, Joachim Machado, who surveyed the route for a railway line between Pretoria and Delagoa Bay in the 1890’s. According to BPJ Erasmus, Op Pad in Suid- Afrika, Jonathan Ball Publishers, 2004, Joachim Machado went on to become Governor-General of Mozambique.
Machadodorp started as a railway station after the opening of the railway on 10 July 1894 and the local authorities proclaimed the area as a town in 1904. During the Anglo-Boer War and after the fall of Pretoria, Machadodorp was the the first seat of the Transvaal Government between 5 June and 28 August 1900. After the Battle of Berg en Dal, the British troops bombed the town and the residents evacuated. Today a bronze plate commemorates the house where President Paul Kruger resided during the war.
What to Do in Machadodorp
With the Elands River meandering through the town, many anglers cast their flies to trout from within the confines of the town. Besides walking through the town with its small typically African shops and viewing the most prominent feature of the town, namely the church, several hiking trails litter the area surrounding Machadodorp.
One of the most popular and well-known hiking trails is on the road between Machadodorp and Badplaas on the Five Assegais Country Estate. Visitors can choose between two hiking trails, a two-day 12-kilometer trail or a 5-kilometer trail, which offers insight into the fauna and flora of the Skurwerand Mountains with aloes, and various other indigenous plant species.
A short distance from Machadodorp tourists can relax at the hot springs of the Forever Resort Badplaas where several activities like warm and cold pools, massages, a spa, nature reserve and much more are open for enjoyment by overnight and day visitors alike.
On the N4, just before the turnoff to the town of Machadodorp, Milly’s Ultra City offers tourists the opportunity to refuel and dine at the Milly’s Restaurant. The restaurant overlooks a small lake and diners can buy fish food to feed the fish. This is wonderful entertainment for children after a long stretch seated in a car. A small shop sells trout and various other homemade items as well as candy and curious.
Next to Milly’s a trout processing plant can be viewed by special appointment.
Accommodation At and Around Machadodorp
The accommodation in and around Machadodorp naturally centers around fly-fishing and several fly fishing lodges offer accommodation to tourists. Most of these lodges host other activities besides fly-fishing and tourist must decide which lodge would fill their needs bests.
Skurweberg Trout Hideaway is on the road between Machadodorp and Badplaas in the Skurweberg Mountain Pass. This is an exclusive lodge and occupants have full and sole use of the facilities at the lodge. Like most other lodges, hiking and bird watching are popular activities at the lodge.
Also on the road between Machadodorp and Badplaas, Misty Valley Lodge accommodates more visitors and offers a range of entertainment besides fly-fishing. The lodge is closer to Waterval-Boven than Machadodorp, but tourists must travel through Machadodorp to reach the lodge.
Being only a short drive away from the Kruger National Park and the Panorama Route to view the Three Sisters, Blyde River Canyon and Sudwala Caves, Machadodorp is a prime tourist destination in South Africa.