Leandra, Cosmos Country

You can usually safely gauge the size of a rural town by the number of grain silos it has. Certainly using this as a measure indicates the amount of activity you can expect to find there, and Leandra, through which the N17 passes en route between Bethal and Springs, has at least seven.

But Leandra is essentially a rural town that serves the surrounding farms and local community. The main road through here is wide, two lanes each way, the grassy middle lined with pretty oleander trees that in spring produce bright pink blossoms. And there is a Spar, bottle store, 4 square supermarket, hardware store, a Standard Bank branch, an exhaust and tyre centre, a petrol station, a driving school, and a myriad other shops you might expect from a decently sized town.

The suburban streets off the main street, are pretty and lined with traditional 1950s-style bungalows, whilst alongside the railway line lie a few historical homes with tin roofs.

The major advantage to Leandra is, of course, its proximity to Gauteng. The town lies just inside the Mpumalanga border, close to Springs, Nigel, Brakpan and Secunda. This is Cosmos country, in the western parts of the province that hugs the borders with the Free State and Gauteng.

And Gautengers and Free Staters escape here for the freedom and retreat it offers in the form of big 5 country. A selection of game farms and guest farms lie in and around Leandra. The promise of night drives, the sound of wild animals at night in the camp, log fires and excellent hospitality combine to make this part of the country easily accessible to city dwellers – and more than a little inviting.

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