Mpumalanga DestinationsAmersfoort, Grass & Wetlands
Just across the KwaZulu Natal border in Mpumalanga, Amersfoort lies about 30 minutes' drive from Volksrust, in the heart of the country's energy, mining and transport base. Standerton is just west of here, whilst the N11 passes right through town, intersecting Route 35 on its way through.
Amersfoort is an interesting little town. It grew up around a Dutch Reformed church way back in 1888, during the period of Dutch colonisation of South Africa. The church is still there, on Route 35, the stone church's spire visible through the line of trees on the side of the surprisingly wide street.
Further through what can only be described as a 'one horse' town in today's terms, derelict shops and little cottages have stood for years, some of them with the Cape Dutch gables and tin roofs typical of mining towns in Mpumalanga still intact; strangely reminiscent of more popular towns like Pilgrim's Rest.
Not far from Amersfoort is the Majuba Power Plant, the coal fired generator of electricity run by Eskom. It is the largest producer of coal-fired electricity in the world, hence its name Majuba or 'mountain of the doves' – an allusion to its size.
Majuba uses about 50 000 tons of coal a day, transported by truck. It is not unusual to pass mega ton coal haulage trucks, as they arrive at the power station on average every two minutes. Hence the drive by Eskom to construct a R5.2 billion railway line - a 68 km heavy-haul line from Ermelo in Mpumalanga to the power station just outside Amersfoort, to convert the transport of coal from road to rail.
The bridge over the Vaal River in Amersfoort is a national monument, built in 1896.