Mpumalanga

This beautiful province is probably best known as the home of the Kruger National Park.

Mpumalanga

This beautiful province is probably best known as the home of the Kruger National Park.

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          Mpumalanga


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          Mpumalanga is home to the Kruger National Park, one of the oldest, largest and most famous game reserves in the world. It is also home to the Sabi Sand Reserve, South Africa’s most prestigious private game reserve.

          But it is also where you’ll find some of South Africa’s most dramatic scenery; more waterfalls than anywhere else in the country; mountains that cocoon Earth’s oldest life forms; the oldest dolomite caves in the world; colourful cultures; an exciting gold-rush past; friendly little towns; and adventure activities for the most adrenalin-hooked action junkie. 

          The province, which stretches east from Gauteng to neighbouring countries Swaziland and Mozambique, owes its spectacular scenery to its geographic location: about four hours’ drive north-east from Johannesburg, the Drakensberg mountains drop down steeply from the grasslands of the Highveld escarpment to the subtropical Lowveld savannah below.

          The edge of the escarpment is home to the high, scenic Panorama Route that traces the course of the powerful Blyde River and takes in some spectacular natural attractions, as well the historic village of Pilgrim’s Rest, where you can relive the heady gold-rush days of the 1870s (and even pan for gold if you have time).

          Four mountain passes wind down from the escarpment to a subtropical area of flourishing citrus and fruit farms, which then becomes 20 000km2 of the Kruger National Park.

          Choose from any number of accommodation options ranging from charming, affordable B&Bs, to guest farms, country hotels and luxury game lodges.

          Mpumalanga has an excellent infrastructure, with good roads that make self-driving easy, and lots of attractive small towns with restaurants and curio shops. It’s also South Africa’s top adventure centre, where you can go river rafting, abseiling, climbing, quad biking, horse riding and mountain biking.

          It’s no wonder, then, that Mpumalanga is one of South Africa’s top tourist destinations.

          Game viewing in Mpumalanga is probably as good as it gets. The iconic Kruger National Park, about 350km from south to north along the Mozambique border and averaging 60km from east to west, is the size of a small country.

          And that’s exactly how you’ll feel – that you’re in a unique country where wildlife rules, and nature shows off many spectacular ecozones, from bushveld and mountains to savannah and forest. Choose between self-drive, guided game walks and drives, and wilderness trails.

          The park is home to the Big Five (elephant, Cape buffalo, leopard, lion, rhino), and over 140 animal and 150 bird species.

          Kruger’s neighbours to the west, Sabi Sand Reserve and other adjacent private reserves, are also teeming with game. Your chances of spotting the beautiful, elusive leopard here are very high as Sabi Sand has the highest density of leopards in the world. It is home to world-famous five-star lodges … but no day visitors.

          If you’re intending on going on a safari in Mpumalanga then the best time to visit would be in winter as it’s sunny and warm during the day and dry and cool at night. Late winter is popular for game spotting because the vegetation is sparse and animals visit the waterholes to drink. Summer in the Lowveld can be extremely hot due to high humidity.

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          You can fly to Johanessburg direct from London or indirect via the Middle East. From Johannesburg, it is approximately a 4-hour drive to Mpumalanga. Alternatively, you can take a short 30-minute flight.

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