Welcome to Mpumalanga!
Mpumalanga is one of the most geographically diverse and unbelievably beautiful places in South Africa. People are drawn to Mpumalanga by the magnificent scenery, the fauna and flora and the saga of the 1870’s gold rush era and a wealth of fascinating tribal legends.
Mountains, panoramic passes, valleys, rivers, waterfalls and forests characterise the landscape.
This is also Big Game Country, the setting for dozens of sanctuaries teeming with wildlife and birds. Visit the world’s most famous game reserve, climb the world’s third-highest canyon, explore the world’s oldest cave and spend the night in the world’s best private game lodges.
TOP REASONS TO VISIT
This beautiful province is most visited and admired for its breath-taking scenery and landscapes, and for its easy access to some of the best wildlife viewing in Southern Africa. It offers many private game reserves and national parks with Big 5 game viewing opportunities.
These are regarded as the oldest caves in the world. See the PR Owen Hall known as the Amphitheatre, which has its own natural cooling system.
The Blyde River Canyon
The largest green canyon in the world, thus making it one of the most visited attractions in South Africa. Located on the northern parts of the Drakensberg Escarpment, there are many treasures within the canyon to be discovered. You can experience its beauty on land, water and in the air. Walk to various viewpoints, take a boat trip or fly over the Blyde River Canyon in a microlight or hot air balloon.
Possibly the best view in the whole of the Blyde River Canyon is of the “Three Rondavels”, huge, round rocks, thought to be reminiscent of the houses or huts of the indigenous people, known as rondavels. This canyon is part of the Panorama Route.
Choose a clear day and you can see all the way to the Kruger National Park and Mozambique. Glance towards the east and you’ll see the Three Sisters, also known as the Three Rondawels. Just 2 km north is Wonder View, the highest viewpoint in the region. Spend time here and soak up the spectacular panoramic Lowveld landscape, also the place where Africa split from Madagascar and Antarctica during the break-up of the Gondwanaland millions of years ago.
Bourke’s Luck Potholes
This natural water feature marks the beginning of the Blyde River Canyon. Through countless eons the swirling whirlpools which occur at the Treur River plunges into the Blyde River caused waterborne sand and rock to grind huge, cylindrical potholes into the bedrock of the river.
The Potholes were named after a gold digger, Tom Burke, who staked a claim nearby. Although his claim did not produce a single ounce of gold, he correctly predicted that large gold deposits would be found in the area.
Admire a naturally carved, free-standing rock buttress fringed with vegetation arising from a forest. An observation deck with a metal railing allows you to take some good panoramic photos of this 30 meter tall quartzite tower, set against the backdrop of a huge crack in the cliff behind.
Kadishi Tufa Waterfall
Hidden at the end of the Blyde Dam, it is one of few rare living Tufa Waterfalls in the world and is said to be the second highest Tufa Waterfall in the world, dropping 200 metres from its limestone shelf to the water of the Blydepoort Dam. Due to water running over this rock formation it erodes faster than the rocks surrounding it. The erosion gives the waterfall and the rock a look of a crying face. This is the very reason that it is known as ‘The Weeping Face of Nature’.
In Mpumalanga, there are tons of waterfalls, which are worth visiting like the Horseshoe Falls, Lone Creek Falls, Mac-Mac Falls, Lisbon Falls and the Berlin Falls.
The Genesis Route
The Genesis of Life is located on the Makhonjwa Mountains, south of Barberton. The area has some of the oldest volcanic pieces on earth with evidence such as Bacteria Microfossils and fossils of the first oxygen producing plant named the Collenia.
The Lake District
The small hamlet of Chrissiesmeer is the centre of South Africa’s largest lake district with some 270 lakes that are home to 20 000 Flamingos. Experience the hospitality, beautiful guest houses and guest farms with a vintage countryside atmosphere. It is the ideal stopover from and to Kwa-Zulu Natal, the Kruger National Park and Swaziland.
Long Tom Pass
The somewhat mystical area of Long Tom Pass is one filled with beautiful mountain ranges, each with a story to tell. The area offers exciting outdoor activities that will keep the whole family entertained. Enjoy the ultimate ride of your life and ‘excite your soul’ on Misty Mountain’s Long Tom Toboggan. Simply hop on board your cart and prepare to take a deep breath when you reach a speed of 45 km an hour during your 3 minute ride, as you twist and turn through wild flowers and beautiful forests.
Moholoholo Rehabilitation Centre
Nestled at the base of the Drakensberg escarpment, behind the Three Rondawels, Moholoholo has become a haven for the rehabilitation and care of abandoned, injured and poisoned wildlife. Wildlife is brought to the Centre from all corners of South Africa, and once healthy enough are re-introduced into their natural environment.
Swing over Graskop
Experience the adrenaline of a 68 meter freefall at 180 km/h in under 3 seconds on one of the world’s highest cable gorge swings! Or fly across the gorge on a 135 meter high-wire “Foefie Slide”, 130 meter above ground zero and witness the breath-taking Graskop Falls as never seen before.
WHERE TO GO
The capital of Mpumalanga, is situated in the Kruger Lowveld region and the gateway to Mpumalanga and the Kruger National Park. A range of accommodation options available from Hotels, Bed and Breakfasts, Guest Houses to Self-Catering units.
The Botanical Gardens just outside of the town have a rare collection of plant species and visitors to the gardens will be able to see the first man-made rain forest. Sudwala Caves, Dinosaur Park and Cultural Centre is a must-see for any visitor to the region. The Nelspruit Nature Reserve offers several walks through the reserve, lasting from one to six hours. The Green Heritage Hiking Trail offers a pleasant, relaxing way to enjoy the reserve.
A charming village nestled in the Mpumalanga Highlands, with a mere 2,5 hours’ drive from Gauteng and conveniently situated halfway to the Kruger Park. Known for its crystal clear dams, perfect for trout fishing as well as popular outdoor activities such as hiking, mountain-biking and an array of other adventure sports. The town also boasts an Ernie Els designed championship golf course.
Culture is abundant here with true culinary experiences. Numerous excellent restaurants, coffee shops, craft-beer brewery and a world-renowned whisky bar and eclectic pubs all form part of this.
Graskop is a small forestry town perched on the edge of the Drakensberg escarpment, centrally situated in the Panorama Tourist region of Mpumalanga. Only a few minutes’ drive from scenic wonders such as God’s Window, Burke’s Luck Potholes and the world renown Blyde River Canyon as well as many spectacular waterfalls. Graskop is a popular tourist destination and is renowned for its pancake bars and curio shops.
Pilgrims Rest is a living museum and a national monument, declared a gold field in 1873, soon after digger Alec “Wheelbarrow” Patterson had found gold deposits in Pilgrim’s Creek. The valley proved to be rich in gold and by the end of that year, there were about 1500 diggers working in the area, as a result, Pilgrim’s Rest became a social centre of the diggings.
This small town is best explored on foot. Stroll from shop to shop, from restaurant to pub and experience the lifestyle and architecture of South Africa in the 1800’s.
Sabie is less than 4 hour’s drive from Gauteng and OR Tambo International Airport, a relaxing hour’s drive to and from the Kruger National Park, and within minutes from several spectacular waterfalls. Sabie is a tranquil, malaria-free holiday destination that caters for the whole family and offers hiking, fly fishing, mountain biking, horse riding, white water rafting, rock climbing and abseiling, bird watching, 4×4 trips, sightseeing, and shopping for African arts, crafts and curious.
A gateway to the southern part of the Kruger National Park, as well as the spectacular Panorama Escarpment with its waterfalls, forests and panoramic views at God’s Window and the Blyde River Canyon. It’s an adventure hub offering several experiences ranging from hot air ballooning, to Elephant rides and anything in-between. Hazyview is a veritable “Gourmet’s Treasure Trove”, with some of the best eateries in the Lowveld. The area is home to 300 butterfly, 450 bird, 3000 plant and 150 mammal species.
The serene town of White River, situated in the Mpumalanga province just north of Nelspruit, is the perfect spot from which to explore the magical beauty of the Lowveld. This includes the world-famous Kruger National Park, many other game reserves and the awe-inspiring Blyde River Canyon, God’s Window and numerous waterfalls on the escarpment.
White River is the home of numerous craftsmen and artists, exquisite restaurants and places to stay. The area is central to some of the best cycling and hiking trails.
White River is easily accessible via a good road network and a well-connected airport just 15 minutes away.
The Panorama Route
One of the country’s most scenic self-drives explores the Mpumalanga Highlands, or the north-eastern section of the Great Escarpment of the Drakensberg. Its popularity has much to do with the proximity to the Kruger National Park and is often part and parcel of an organised trip to the game reserve.
The most popular stretch of the route is the R532 that winds its way from the town of Sabie via a selection of graceful waterfalls to God’s Window, the Blyde River Canyon, Bourke’s Luck Potholes and the Three Rondawels.
Apart from the natural highlights there are attractions such as the Hoedspruit Endangered Species Centre, Tsakani Silk Farm, interaction with elephants, farmstalls, eateries, hiking and walking trails, a coffee farm and roastery, art galleries and cultural village experiences.
Klaserie Private Nature Reserve
This Nature Reserve shares unfenced borders with the Timbavati Game Reserve and Kruger Park.
Visitors can embrace the African bushveld here and take in the sights, sounds and smells that make the bushveld such a unique experience. Safaris within this unspoilt region of the Greater Kruger National Park focus on the bush and its eco-systems.
Klaserie is part of an exclusive, privately-owned wildlife sanctuary. The area is renowned as a home to the Big 5 and offers incredible game viewing opportunities. Along with the Big 5, guests can expect to see an abundance of plains game and incredible birdlife, whilst experiencing it all on guided walks, off road, and at night.
Timbavati Game Reserve
This Reserve shares a common unfenced border with the Kruger National Park allowing animals free range and ensuring that guests have an opportunity to view the greatest diversity of wildlife that South Africa has to offer.
Accommodation at Timbavati is offered in colonial style game lodges, traditional thatched bush lodges, and luxury tented safari camps, providing a range of styles to suit your dream South African safari lodge holiday. Timbavati is easily accessible by air or road.
Nkomazi Game Reserve
Known as ‘The Place of Water’, Nkomazi Game Reserve is a destination of outstanding scenic beauty. It is an ecological Aladdin’s Cave of natural science, from its towering ancient mountains to its broad river valleys and impressive grasslands containing countless animals and rare flora such as the Barberton Daisy.
Sabie Sands Game Reserve
Adjacent to South Africa’s flagship Kruger National Park, Sabie Sands offers a safari experience found nowhere else in the world. Game viewing possibilities are simply unparalleled, including the much-sought after Big 5. Add a fantastic range of luxury lodges suiting all tastes and an African dream safari is born. There are no fences between Kruger National Park and Sabi Sands Game Reserve, so wildlife roams freely in this huge natural environment.
Mthethomusha Game Reserve
This reserve borders the south-western side of the well-known Kruger National Park, embodies the spirit of Africa and allows you to walk the ancient paths of yesteryear, the very paths walked by the San (Bushmen) people thousands of years ago. There are over 250 sites in the area where you can view these fascinating San Rock Paintings and in fact, with the greatest concentration of rock art per square metre on earth, it’s the perfect place to learn more about the San culture. The rugged terrain is home to the majestic Big 5 as well as Kudu, Giraffe and Zebra, whilst the picturesque scenery provides the ideal backdrop for game drives and bush walks. Mthethomusha Game Reserve is unspoiled nature at its very best.
Kruger National Park
Where nearly 2 million hectares of unrivalled diversity of life forms fuse with historical and archaeological sites – this is real Africa. The world-renowned Kruger National Park offers a wildlife experience that ranks with the best in Africa.
Several different accommodation options are available, form tented camps, cottages, bungalows to luxury safari lodges.
Please note: The Kruger is situated in a malaria risk area; therefore, it is advisable to take the necessary precautions.