Badplaas

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Information provided by Hans Bornman from his unpublished book, Lowveld Tour Guide:

Health resort with hot sulphur springs, 51 km east of Carolina and 69 km west of Barberton. It was discovered in 1856 by Jacob de Clercq and proclaimed State property in 1893 and a township in 1947. The name is Afrikaans, derived from Dutch, and means ‘bathing place’ or ‘spa’. The origin of the spring is in Verneukspruit. The temperature varies from 52ºC to 53ºC with a constant flow of 30 000 litres an hour. It is bordered by the Seekoeispruit and the picturesque Hlumuhlumu mountain range. According to geologists the mountain range is situated in the earthquake belt and vibrations with tremors and underground rumblings sometimes occur. This range is known among the Swazi as DlomoDlomo – ‘the mountain that rumbles’. Badplaas is the largest mineral water holiday resort in the country.

There are private baths for the use of invalids, eight recreational swimming pools, a giant water slide and other amenities, restaurants, shops, a post office, banking facilities, tennis, bowls, mini-golf, horse riding and angling. The 3 800 ha resort also has a nature reserve.

When Sobhuza I (1815-1836) became king of Swaziland, the Ndwandwe, under Zwide Mkhatshwa, sent increasingly powerful armies against the Ngwane (Swazis). Sobhuza tried to defuse Ndwandwe aggression and married Zwide’s daughter, Thandile (who became LaZidze). She became the mother of Mswati II (1845-1865). Although Zwide grudgingly agreed to this marriage, he warned that this would not stop him from attacking Sobhuza if he wanted to in the future.

Zwide did not, in fact, wait for long and struck out to destroy Ngwane power once and for all. Early in the nineteenth century, Zwide invaded the north and almost destroyed Sobhuza’s political organisation in the Shiselweni area, south of Lobamba. Sobhuza was forced to flee north, leaving most of his followers behind. His capital was burnt to the ground and the area came to be called ‘Shiselweni’, from ‘kushisa’ – ‘to burn’.

From Shiselweni Sobhuza sped northwards to Mbulungwane Hill, about 20 km north of Mhlosheni. The Ndwandwe attacks pushed him still further north and many of Sobhuza’s followers were lost on the journey to the north. He finally retreated to the Dlomodlomo mountains where he lived quietly under the protection of an Umsotho chief called Magobhoyi until the Ndwandwe were finally defeated by the Zulu in 1819.

After succeeding his father, Mswati II commenced a career of large scale raids and adventure. He built a military post, named Mbhuleni, on the upper Komati River, at the foot of the Mkingomo Mountains, where Ngcina Matsebula was the induna, and his wife, LaMagadlela Khumalo, the nkhosikati (chieftainess). After her death her son built a new capital at the foot of the Dlomodlomo mountain and his son, Mkolishi Johannes Dlamini (1928-1988), was the first Chief Minister when the now defunct National State of KaNgwane was founded in 1977.