Mpumalanga has an abundance of reserves, historic towns and scenic roads peppered with natural landmarks. Here are the most popular things to do.
1. The best of Kruger National Park
If you’re doing a day trip into the park, drive the tar road from Skukuza to Satara, which will take you a leisurely five hours (one way) with stops for photos and a picnic. It’s busy but has great sightings – buffalo, lion and elephant are common. Lower Sabie Rest Camp is popular for its impressive views over the Lower Sabie River, well-equipped campsite and spectacular game-viewing (expect to tick at least some of the Big Five if you stay here). www.sanparks.org
2. God’s Window
A trip to Mpumalanga isn’t complete without taking in breathtaking panoramic views down the steep forested ravine of the Blyde River Canyon. On cloudy days, when there’s a layer of clouds below you, you’ll feel as if you’ve reached the heavens. (It’s also one of these 6 free things to do in Mpumalanga.)
3. Blyde River Canyon Nature Reserve
The reserve is a wonderland of cascading waterfalls, a precipitous gorge, magnificent vistas and wildlife. Do a day-long road trip and stop at the impressive Bourke’s Luck Potholes and Three Rondavels lookout point. Stay overnight at the Blyde River Canyon Lodge (tel 015- 795- 5305) with rooms leading onto a garden frequented by zebra, or camp at Blyde River Canyon Forever Resort (tel 012-423-5600).
4. Pilgrim’s Rest
The historic gold-mining town has recently seen major restoration of its buildings and tourists are returning after last year’s controversial business lease renewals. There’s lots to keep you busy: go horse-riding, do a guided hike, try your hand at gold panning or go on a spooky ghost walk. Tel 013-768-1060.
5. Skyway trails
Mpumalanga is heaven for adrenaline junkies, with lots of exciting activities, from mountain biking to river rafting. One of the most popular of these is an aerial cable trail from Hazyview through a forest canopy to the Sabie River Valley. www.skywaytrails.com.