Blyde River Canyon holiday resort



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.

Overview
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.

Climate
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.

GETTING TO KNOW MPUMALANGA

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.

Major attractions in the area:

  • The Kruger National Park
    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.
  • Best Game Lodges in the World
    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.
  • Big Catch Country
    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.
  • Gold-diggers delight
    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.
  • Best Pancakes in Africa
    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.
  • Green Belt
    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.
  • Views from Paradise
    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.
  • Arts and Culture
    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 Village.

Self Drive in Mpumalanga

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 Mpumalanga:

  • The N4, running west to east from Pretoria to Witbank and through to Nelspruit and Komatipoort on the Mozambique border.
  • The R40, running south to north from Barberton to Hazyview via Nelspruit and White River and through Phalaborwa in the Northern Province.
  • 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.