Mpumalanga Travel Guide

 

Description

Although Mpumalanga is not the only province in South Africa with excellent game viewing, national parks and luxury lodges, it's here that the safari experience has been perfected. About half the Kruger National Park is in this lovely province and there are so many private game reserves and lodges than you will have a hard time choosing. Like Limpopo Province to its immediate north, Mpumalanga straddles the escarpment between the Lowveld and the Drakensberg, so the different parts of the province have different characters. The Lowveld is hot and humid with broad-leaved forests and wide, slow rivers, while the Highlands are cool and green, with rolling grasslands, pine plantations, pockets of indigenous forest and cheerfully gurgling mountain streams and waterfalls. Most of the game is in the Lowveld, while the attractions of the Highlands include hiking, horse trails, river rafting and other adventure activities, such as gorge swings and abseiling.

The Restaurant at the End of the Universe, near the town of Waterval Boven, is one of South Africa's most popular climbing destinations. The fly fishing in the Highlands area is awesome, particularly near the pretty town of Dullstroom, where there are loads of dams and streams well stocked with fat trout. There are awesome birds to be spotted, both in the game reserves and in the Highlands, where you're likely to see some montane grassland species, including the rare and endangered blue swallow. For a bird's eye view, rather than a view of birds, you can choose between microlight flights and gentle floats in a hot air balloon. Mpumalanga also has some fantastic paragliding and hang gliding launch sites - particularly along the escarpment. The mountain biking is great. Even with so much to do, many people visit Mpumalanga just to sight-see. The Panorama Route is a scenic meander taking in some fabulous sights, including the Blyde River Canyon, Bourke's Luck Potholes, the Three Rondawels, the Swadini Dam and many beautiful waterfalls and spectacular vistas including one called God's Window.

The Blyde River Canyon is the biggest vegetated canyon in the world. Second in size only to the Grand Canyon in the USA, and the Fish River Canyon in Namibia, it is lush and green with a plethora of plant and animal life and is a major centre of endemism. It's also where Antarctica and Madagascar split away from Africa a few million years ago during the break-up of the super-continent Gondwanaland. Also in the canyon, is Bourke's Luck Potholes - a fantastically contorted area of scenic potholes, and deeply scoured canyons. The Blyde is a great river to raft, with some pretty challenging rapids, but it also offers fun family paddling on a gentler section. The Three Rondawels are three conical hills and the Swadini Dam at the end of the canyon is a lovely stretch of water. Also on the Panorama Route is the rather cutesy museum town of Pilgrims Rest. The mines were active until the 1970s when they became terminally unprofitable, and the whole town was bought up by the provincial authorities to be converted to a tourist attraction. Museums, cute craft outlets, coffee shops, restaurants and the original hotel with its characterful bar bring the gold rush era vividly to life. Pilgrims Rest was the venue for the World Gold Panning Championships in 2005.

Mpumalanga's cultural attractions are particularly colourful. The iconic Ndebele artwork that is almost synonymous with South Africa is produced in the museum village of Botshabelo. Colourful beadwork and small painted articles can be admired and purchased while the magnificent painted buildings are - unfortunately - not for sale as souvenirs. They're well worth photographing, though. Kids will love the dinosaur park, just outside the deep and convoluted Sudwala Caves. Mpumalanga has a very interesting technical freshwater diving destination that will appeal to technical divers.

Note: If you are planning to travel to the north eastern parts of Mpumalanga or Swaziland please be aware that this region is malarial. Consult your doctor or travel clinic for advice and refer to our article on malaria.

In and Around

Nearby Locations
Nearest Airport
Featured Destinations
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Bars and Nightclubs
Gallery and Museums
 

Accommodation near Mpumalanga

*Distances are shown as the crow flies and not necessarily the actual travelling distance.

from R6,500
1 night, 2 adults

Ngwenya Lodge

Sleeps 14 Komatipoort Self-catering in Komatipoort

Ngwenya Lodge is located just 9 km from Komatipoort and 3 km from the Crocodile Bridge Gate to the K...

from R900
1 night, 2 adults

Gecko Lodge

Sleeps 42 Hazyview Lodge in Hazyview

Gecko Lodge is situated 3 km from Hazyview in Mpumalanga, on a 35 ha farm with a Sabie River frontag...

Kwambali Riverside Lodge
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60%
from R900
1 night, 2 adults

Kwambali Riverside Lodge

Sleeps 60 Hazyview Lodge in Hazyview

Only four hours' drive from Johannesburg, Kwambali Riverside Lodge offers the ideal tranquil setting...

Walking Tall Private Bush Retreat
save
25%
from R1,000
1 night, 2 adults

Walking Tall Private Bush Retreat

Sleeps 8 Marloth Park Conservancy Self-catering in Marloth Park Conservancy

Walking Tall Private Bush Retreat is situated 300 m from the Crocodile River in Marloth Park and nex...

from R1,530
1 night, 2 adults

Grand Kruger Lodge

Sleeps 42 Marloth Park Conservancy Safari in Marloth Park Conservancy

Grand Kruger Lodge, Mpumalanga South Africa - UN-compromised luxury accommodation, safaris, game dri...

from R700
1 night, 2 adults

Cycas Guest House

Sleeps 12 Malelane Guest House in Malelane

Cycas Guest House is situated in the quiet suburb of Malalane; a gateway to the famous Kruger Nation...

Woolly Bugger Farm
Special
Deal
from R800
1 night, 2 adults

Woolly Bugger Farm

Sleeps 22 Dullstroom Self-catering in Dullstroom

Set in the idyllic Tonteldoos Valley, Woolly Bugger Farm covers 270 hectares of rugged terrain with ...

from R1,500
1 night, 2 adults

Francolin Lodge

Sleeps 18 Nelspruit Bed and Breakfast in Nelspruit

Francolin Lodge is a luxury guest house and boutique hotel situated centrally in Nelspruit. Offering...

Nabana Lodge
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30%
from R740
1 night, 2 adults

Nabana Lodge

Sleeps 16 Hazyview Lodge in Hazyview

Unpretentious and casual, Nabana Lodge is set in a rural area, surrounded by banana farms. It is a t...

from R140
1 night, 2 adults

Mac Mac Forest Retreat

Sleeps 284 Graskop Lodge, Graskop Backpacker, Graskop Self-catering, Graskop Bed and Breakfast, Graskop Camping and Caravanning in Graskop

Mac Mac Forest Retreat is centrally situated between Sabie, 15 km away from Mac Mac, Graskop and Pil...