Stories and Traveltips

ID #2634

Old Joe and the Schoemanskloof Detour, Escarpment, Mpumalanga.

The Schoemanskloof is one of the most beautiful valleys you will ever see, especially in the early morning and late afternoon -- well worth the detour.  And there is an entusiastic birder (I forget his name unfortunately) whose wife works at Old Joes Kaia in the valley and who, for a small fee, will show you a pair of nesting crowned eagles on their property nearby.  So it is a very special place.

When the R539 through the Schoemanskloof was upgraded years ago, a stone was excavated that resembles a portly gentleman. Road workers erected this stone, which has since become known as “Old Joe,” next to the road. It has become traditional for passing motorists to stop and paint the stone. Whenever we pass, Old Joe has been given a new outfit. Sometimes old fashioned, sometimes in contemporary dress – he is always bright and cheerful.  What is surprising is that I have never seen anyone painting him. So when travelling down to the Lowveld, take along some bright paints to spruce him up a little. Incidentally you will need paint for a tophat, moustache, suit, tie, waistcoat, as well as his florid complexion so take along several different colours. Enamel works best. 

Machadodorp is on the N4 east of Middelburg, which is at the intersection of the N4 with the N11.  Travelling east on the N4, turn left onto the R36 at the Total Garage east of Machadodorp. Do not however turn left onto the R36 at the Bambi Motel. Instead, continue straight on the R539 through the Schoemanskloof.  Old Joe is on the right, approximately 12-km east of the Bambi Motel and 1-km after crossing the bridge over the Sterkloop. Alan McIver BHOldjoe



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Last update: 2014-03-28 08:05
Author: Alan McIver
Revision: 1.4

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