Explore the mountains
Pieter Visser and Wynand Engelbrecht recently completed their last exam to conduct tours in the mountains of Barberton under the banner of their new enterprise, Dusty Tracks Off Road Adventures. And they had to write quite a few of them – there was a basic tour-guide’s course, a level-III first-aid course, one for obtaining a professional driving permit, and even a vehicle-recovery and helicopter-rescue course – you have to know how to help a helicopter land in the mountains in the event of an emergency.
They also had to negotiate with private landowners, mine owners, SANParks and Mountainlands Nature Reserve to gain access to some of the areas. Years of work.
They take you over rough terrain – Wynand points to paths zigzagging up the mountain at an incline of 60 degrees in some places. “It’s hard to believe the Voortrekkers went up there in their ox-wagons! We always ask people whether they have a vertigo or a fear of heights.”
They both grew up here and, says Pieter, once Barberton is in your blood it’s difficult to imagine living anywhere else. “The downside is the small-town stuff… the gossip.”
“Yes,” Wynand adds, “everyone knows everyone else, and those you don’ t know, know you!”