The Three Rondavels in Graskop, Mpumalanga

The Three Rondavels in Graskop, Mpumalanga, South Africa, are three round mountain tops with slightly pointed tops. They look similar to the traditional round or oval African homesteads made with local materials called rondavels and this is the reason for the name.

These three geological formations were also once known as ‘The Chief and his Three Wives’. The flat-topped peak was named Mapjaneng (‘the chief’) after a legendary Bapedi chief, Maripi Mashile, who defeated invading Swazis in a great battle near here. The three peaks are named after his three wives (from left to right) – Magabolie, Mogoladikwe and Maseroto.

My picture of the Three Rondavals
Here are my three boys giving me the Heebie-jeebies by standing so close to the edge – and I know there’s a railing but it doesn’t help!
A different viewing point in the area
Picture of an African rondavel by Stephen Gerner Flickr. You can see more of his great work here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/sgerner/7849486272

60 thoughts on “The Three Rondavels in Graskop, Mpumalanga

  1. Hi Robbie. Your posts about Mpumalanga take me back to my own visits to one of the most beautiful parts of SA.
    Thank you for the mini tour. I was also terrified when looking over the railing at view site. It was before I was married so didn’t have any children to worry about, but I am very prone to vertigo.

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  2. Thanks for sharing these great places, Robbie – big memories for me – on your blog. I’m most likely going to be scratching through old photographs, reminiscing with hubby about the great times we had in Eastern Transvaal, now Mapumalanga – an awe-inspiring part of South Africa.

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  3. What a stunning beauty, Robbie. It reminds me of the Three Sisters in Australia except that Three Sisters are narrower and pointed. The rock formation tells an incredible story of the power of water, the erosion, and weather. Certain kinds of rocks are softer and easier to get washed away and left the stronger rocks standing (even in a mushroom shape). The shape of the Three Rondavels look like the Native American Navajo Hogan except that Hogan has round top.

    Thank you for sharing these photos and your trip, Robbie.

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  4. I was also going to say this is stunning, because it is, Robbie. Mae Clair has already described them as that :), so I’ll add that they make me want to stare and get lost in thought. Thanks for explaining what a rondavel is. I didn’t know about them. And thanks for sharing these pictures. I’m glad there is a railing, but I’d be nervous too.

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      1. Hopefully the world will open up again when all this settles down. It might take a while though. Things like this might just be something we have to adjust to, but I hope not.

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      2. I was thinking more financially thought. The economy here is going to take a hammering as it appears to be doing in the UK and USA. I am not sure yet how this will impact on my direct and extended family. We may have to help family members in the future.

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  5. Robbie, what a wonderful adventure you and your family had — thanks so much for bringing us along. The views are breathtaking! I loved the name Mpumalanga from one of your other posts. Now you’ve also given me Magabolie. I foresee a happy name research tangent in my near future! 😀 Hugs on the wing!

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      1. Yes, it is, Robbie. It’s the cadence of the sounds that delights me. What’s particularly interesting to me is how similar the sounds feel to many Native American place names. One of my favorites is Apalachicola. Hugs.

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