Roossenekal was established in 1886 and named after two soldiers, Roos and Senekal, who died in the war against the Ndebele Chief, Mapoch. The Mapoch caves situated 6km out of town were the scene of a bloody battle between the Boers and the Ndebele chief and his followers, who held out for weeks before being forced to surrender. Despite its colourful past, nothing much happened in this small village until 1965 when the Mapoch Vanadium Mine was opened. Iron ore is also mined in the vicinity.
Adventure And Sport
Trout-fishing: There are several trout-fishing spots in the area.
Kristalwater Mampoer Distillery: The Kristalwater Mampoer Distillery produces a traditional South African alcoholic drink. But be warned: drinking mampoer is not for the fainthearted – it has a tremendous “kick”.
Sweethome Cheeses Factory: A less risky endeavour is a visit to Roossenekal’s Sweethome Cheeses Factory.
Fauna And Flora
Arum Lily Festival: In November and December each year, the valleys around Roossenekal and Tonteldoos are covered in arum lilies. A three-week-long Arum Lily Festival celebrates this beautiful phenomenon. A traditional “Boeremark” (Farmers’ Market) ends the festivities.
History And Architecture
Forts: The remains of several Boer forts around Chief Mapoch’s village and of forts built years later by the British during the Anglo-Boer War can be seen in the area.
Historic Buildings: The Dutch Reformed Church, situated some 17 km south of the town at Laersdrift, is a fine example of the architecture of the late 1800s. Other historical buildings include the Old Police Station.
Historic graves: Several historic graves, including those of the two men after whom the town was named, have been preserved and can be visited.
Mapoch Caves: The caves, site of the siege of Mapoch by the Boers, have been proclaimed a national monument. A bronze statue of the Ndebele leader guards the entrance to the caves.
Die Berg: About 30 km east of Mapoch’s Caves is “Die Berg”, at 2 332 m the highest point in the area. It is also the source of the Crocodile River that flows through Nelspruit and Komatipoort to Mozambique.
Magnetic iron rocks: The large number of magnetic iron rocks found in the Roossenekal district is an interesting geological phenomenon.