Carolina is a town situated on the Johannesburg to Swaziland route (R33 and R38) in the Mpumalanga province of South Africa. The town lies in the grass and wetlands region of Mpumalanga at 1700 meters above sea level. It is a mixed farming and small-scale coal- and precious-stone-mining community.
In the late 19th Century there was an important wagon route from Johannesburg to the gold fields of the Kaap Valley in the East. Farmers in the area that was to become Carolina decided to establish a town as a stopover for wagon trains, and one of them, CJ Coetzee offered them a portion of his farm providing the town was named after his wife. Carolina was duly established in 1882 and named after her. The town was proclaimed in 1885. The village was totally destroyed during the 2nd Anglo-Boer War and was later rebuilt.
Situated in the vicinity of Carolina is the magnificent Komati Gorge and linked Komati River. This beautiful area allows for many a day picnicking, swimming, fishing, hiking, boating or just generally relaxing and soaking up the warm sun. Numerous exciting watersports can be enjoyed. In addition, this lovely area is home to an abundance of vibrant birds. The Komati area is any bird lovers delight! Situated just to the North West of Carolina is the picturesque Nooitgedacht Nature Reserve. This nature reserve is a very popular birding area and home to more than 200 species of spectacular birds. In addition to birding, there are also a few exciting horse and hiking trails that can be enjoyed in the Carolina area. Most of these lovely trails are day trails, but for the adventure seekers, there are several 2-day trails available where one can stay overnight in a trail hut.
Carolina not only boasts magnificent beauty but fine cultural and historical heritage. Besides the spectacular sandstone architecture, this area boasts a few fine examples of San rock art which can be seen and explored. To add to the historical heritage of the Carolina area, there are also a few interesting Battlefields which can be visited. Make sure you visit the Market Square, Burger Monument as well as other historical memorials.
Other exciting activities that can be enjoyed in the area are 4×4 adventures, quad biking and game viewing. Definitely, a town where you can keep yourself busy for a weekend.
Hanna’s Antiques and Coffee Shop
While I was in Carolina looking for interesting places to write about I came across a little gem called Hanna’s Antiques and Coffee Shop.
I was pleasantly surprised with the small town hospitality of the locals and the old house converted into a coffee shop filled with antiques strategically placed to create a homely ambience, and everything is for sale!
The owner, Hannetjie Van Aswegen is a Carolina resident since 1976, this former teacher always had a love for antiques and built up her collection throughout the years, this collection is now for sale in her shop.
Her clientele consists of many diverse people who drive through to Swaziland, residents from surrounding towns who heard about this gem from others. Locals having coffee and catching up with friends, business people having meetings and they even do parties and functions at the coffee shop. Even clients from Gauteng drive all the way to this small town to buy antiques!
I also discovered a very nice coffee table book in the shop – Carolina’s Ancient Sites – Fiction, Facts and Mysteries by Prof Ton Sanders.
This book traces the history and disinters a treasure trove of archaeological sites in and around Carolina that produce fascinating stories of the town that have yet been left buried or untold. A “must have” for any historian and those interested in the rich history of Carolina and the Southern African region.