See Also: KwaZulu
Natal | Western Cape | Gauteng | North West Province | Eastern Cape | Northern Province
If you’d like to 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, Mpumalanga’s the place
to come to!
Mpumalanga, which means 'place where the sun
rises’ in the local languages of Siswati and Zulu is one of
South Africa’s tourism hotspots, loved by both local and international
visitors for its beauty and diversity. This province is home to The
Kruger National Park (big five country), exquisite panoramic views,
mountains, rivers, caves, trout fishing and birding opportunities,
eco-tourism, adventure holidays and the rich offerings of the local
Ndebele and Swazi cultures.
Mpumalanga is bordered by Mozambique and Swaziland in the east, and Gauteng
in the west. It is situated mainly on the high plateau grasslands of the
Middleveld, which roll eastwards for hundreds of kilometres. In the northeast,
the land rises towards mountain peaks and then terminates in an immense escarpment.
In some places, this escarpment plunges hundreds of metres down to the low-lying
area known as the Lowveld. Even though it is one of the smaller provinces
(79 490 km2 in surface area), Mpumalanga is home to some three million people.
Mpumalanga is a summer rainfall area with hot summers, especially in the lowveld
regions. Mild in winter, it can become very cold in the highveld areas.
The tourism possibilities of this province are
as diverse as the landscape itself. As the safari capital of the
country, the major draw card to the area is the world-famous Kruger
National Park. Mpumalanga has a lot more to offer than the big five – it
is a scenically magnificent province and boasts a rich cultural heartland
where visitors can embrace the warm-hearted spirit of Africa. Forests,
pristine waters and trout fishing opportunities abound and there
is no shortage of adventure activities, such as rock-climbing, abseiling
and other high-adrenalin activities, on offer.
One of the major tourist attractions
of the country, the Kruger National Park is among South Africa’s
finest assets. Well-equipped to offer big five safaris, the park
includes a large number of accommodation options,ranging from some
of the best private game lodges in the world to very affordable
rest camps. This famous park boasts over 140 species of mammals and over
500 species of birds, not to mention a wide variety of amphibians, reptiles,
flora and fauna. A wildlife wonderland, this enormous sanctuary is a must-see
for any and every visitor to South Africa.
A number of private camps and lodges are on offer in the areas surrounding
the Kruger National Park. The Sabi Sands is renowned for being home to some
of the best African game lodges in the world, bar none. These lodges are
known worldwide for their exclusivity and top-of-the-range accommodation.
Here, private safaris are simply par for the course, conducted by qualified
rangers in open-air vehicles. These lodges are all about attention to detail,
personal service and a true Out of Africa experience in unique comfort.
The perfect getaway for fly-fishing enthusiasts, Dullstroom and surrounds offer
fantastic accommodation including everything from five-star hotels to modest
Bed and Breakfast establishments. The spectacular beauty of the area and
its many lakes makes Dullstroom the perfect weekend getaway spot. A number
of quaint restaurants and pubs dot the area.
Return to the gold rush days of South
Africa. The little town of Pilgrim’s
Rest offers a step backwards into South Africa’s history, complete with
themed museums, and restored buildings… and the notorious Victorian-inspired
Royal Hotel. The area is a favourite for overseas and local visitors and is
well-equipped to handle all of the attention with a good offering of restaurants,
bars and reasonably priced accommodation available.
A short drive from Pilgrim’s Rest lies Graskop, famous for it’s
scenic waterfall and for Harrie’s Pancake Shop, known to serve up the
best pancakes this side of the Kruger National Park. It is an established tradition
to stop off here for a favourite sweet or savoury pancake en route to the Blyde
River Canyon. A vibrant artist community exists in and around the area, and
curio shopping opportunities abound.
The green belt of Sabie offers a wonderful
base to explore Mpumalanga’s
Escarpment. This is the centre of South Africa’s forestry region and
boasts excellent lodges, bed-and-breakfast establishments as well as a rather
fine backpacker’s lodge. Although the pace in Sabie is rather laid back,
there are a number of activities and day trips for the adventure seeker. Mountain-biking,
horse-trails, hiking trails and river rafting are all offer. There are also
fabulous bird-watching options. If you’re happy to keep a slower pace,
simply sit back and let the peaceful forests fortify the soul.
One of the most scenic views in South
Africa is undoubtedly offered up at the famous Blyde River Canyon – this colossal canyon is famous for its
dramatic window on the world. Here, camera-touting visitors love to visit
the God’s Window ledge, Bourke’s Luck Potholes and the Three
Rondavels – all of which offer breathtaking panoramas. The Mac-Mac
Falls and Lisbon Falls are also a keen favourite for visitors to Mpumalanga.
Explore the local Shangaan culture at
the famous Shangana Cultural Village, a short hop away from the
town of Hazyview. The user-friendly cultural village offers visitors
the opportunity to interact with the local Shangaan people and
to enjoy a taste of traditional cuisine. The Nyani Shangaan Cultural
Village is also an option, as is Matsulu Village – a traditional Ndebele
Mpumalanga offers excellent self-drive routes
and opportunities, which means you can make up an individual itinerary
and simply go with the flow. These three routes will lead self-drive
visitors to just about every destination in the province. Accommodation
throughout the province is plentiful, but advance booking is advisable
if you require a specific location such as private game reserve or
Mpumalanga Parks Board accommodation.
There are three principal routes dissecting
- The N4, running west to east from Pretoria
to Witbank and through to Nelspruit and Komatipoort on the Mozambique
- The R40, running south to north from Barberton to Hazyview
via Nelspruit and White River and through Phalaborwa in the
- The N11 which enters the province in the south at Volksrust,
travelling north to Ermelo, Middelburg and through to Groblersdal
in the extreme north of the province.