The Cultural Heartland of the Ndebele people is located in the north-western part of Mpumalanga along the border with Gauteng and Limpopo. The many cultural villages in the area offer visitors a chance to meet the local Ndebele people and experience their customs and culture. The Ndebele people are renowned for their beadwork and art and crafts but especially for their colourfully painted houses. Their essential artistic skill has always been understood to be the ability to combine exterior sources of stimulation with traditional design concepts borrowed from their ancestors. They demonstrate a fascination with the linear quality of elements in their environment and this is depicted in their artwork, done freehand, without the help of rulers or squares.
The region also offers a wide range of adventure and sporting activities, such as hikes, 4×4 trails, golf and skiing, parasailing and wind-surfing on the two large dams in the area. The Loskop Dam Nature Reserve offers game viewing from the comfort of a boat and there are many other small reserves in the region.
The Cultural Heartland is often referred to as “Lanatus” country because the Encephalartos lanatus, a species of cycad (some are more than 4 000 years old), is endemic to the catchment area of the Olifants River, where it grows wild.
This region also has a vibrant mining and farming industry and offers agricultural tours to working farms and industrial tours to the collieries and steel manufacturing plants in the area. History buffs will enjoy the Boer War Route leading through the area.