Mpumalanga is one of South Africa’s most beautiful provinces. Meaning “the place where the sun rises”, it is a haven for nature-lovers. Here are six unique things to experience in Mpumalanga.
1. Go on a luxury safari
Mpumalanga is home to the world-famous game reserve, Kruger National Park. The Sabi Sand Private Game Reserve, lies next to Kruger National Park, and shares unfenced borders with it. Between them, the area boasts some of the top luxury safari lodges in South Africa.
The game viewing experience is unparalleled and it is not uncommon to see South Africa’s Big Five animals and many more, in one game drive. You can also go on night safaris, photographic safaris and bush walks with armed guides.
2. Visit the Sudwala Caves
The Sudwala Caves are regarded as some of the oldest caves in the world and are said to be more than 240 million years old. They rest in Pre-cambrian dolomite rocks which are among the second oldest known sedimentary rocks on Earth. At the base of a huge cliff close to the caves, is the Sudwala rainforest. The caves consist of a fascinating labyrinth through the earth.
You can go on an hour-long guided tour on foot and marvel at the amazing rock formations, or you can be more adventurous and go on the five-hour Crystal Tour, where you occasionally have to go on your hands and knees to crawl through small tunnels.
3. Take a drive along the Panorama Route
The Panorama Route in Mpumalanga is one of the most scenic and dramatic routes on the African continent. You will see natural geographic formations like the Blyde River Canyon, Bourke’s Luck Potholes and The Three Rondawels.
The Blyde River Canyon is one of the largest canyons in the world. Bourke’s Luck Potholes are giant potholes formed by the meeting of two rivers, at the beginning of the Blyde River Canyon.
The Three Rondavels are natural rock formations which get their name from their shape which is similar to the traditional round African homestead. The views from the viewpoints along this route, like God’s Window, are incredible.
4. Chase some waterfalls (literally)
Mpumalanga has a cluster of dramatic waterfalls, all beautiful and unique in their own way. There are more waterfalls here than anywhere else in southern Africa. Some of the most popular ones are Lisbon Falls, Berlin Falls, Mac Mac Falls and Lone Creek Falls. The Lisbon Falls are the highest waterfalls in the area.
5. Play a round of golf in a game reserve
Combine your golf and wildlife experiences and play at one of these courses. The Leopard Creek Golf Course, borders Kruger National Park, and is separated from it only by the Crocodile River. It is consistently rated amongst the Top 3 golf courses in South Africa. Or you can play a round of golf in Kruger National Park itself, at the Skukuza Golf Course. Of course, you may be disturbed by intruders of the four-legged variety. A sign at the entrance proclaims “Beware: Dangerous Animals. Enter at Your Own Risk”. A lion once killed a buffalo on the first green.
6. Go gold panning
Try your hand at gold panning in the historic village of Pilgrim’s Rest, which was founded in 1873 after gold was discovered in the area. You will probably not find enough gold to make some jewellery but you can experience what it was like to be a prospector in the 18th century. The annual Gold-panning Championships are held every year in September.