Kruger National Park
The Kruger National Park stretches across Limpopo and Mpumalanga. It’s home to the Big Five (elephant, Cape buffalo, leopard, lion, rhino), and over 140 animal and 150 bird species. Winter months (May to September) are best for game viewing as the vegetation is sparse and game easier to spot. Summer months (October to April) bring bird migrants back from their wintering north, and there are lots of baby animals.
Sabi Sand Reserve
The Sabi Sand, South Africa’s most famous private game reserve, borders the western Kruger National Park and has many superb, world-famous luxury lodges, including Mala Mala, Sabi Sabi and Londolozi. It is teeming with game and has the highest density of leopards in the world.
The Panorama Route
The Panorama Route is home to some of the most breathtaking scenery in the country, with famous landmarks such as the Blyde River Canyon, Bourke’s Luck Potholes and the Three Rondavels. It is easily accessible by vehicle, with great hiking trails and adventure activities.
Pilgrim’s Rest is a historic village that remains much as it was in the turbulent gold-rush days of the 1870s.
The Sudwala Caves
Thirty-five kilometres before Mbombela (formerly Nelspruit) and en route to the Kruger National Park from Johannesburg, are the oldest known caves in the world, formed about 240- million years ago. The Sudwala Caves are great for a short visit (tours leave on the hour), with spectacular rock formations older than Africa itself.
The ‘Genesis of Life’
The 3.5-billion-year-old rocks of the Makhonjwa Mountains outside Barberton are among the most ancient in the world and contain some of the first evidence of microfossil life on Earth.
The Shangana Cultural Village outside Hazyview gives an exciting first-hand experience of local life, culture and food. In Mpumalanga’s Cultural Heartland, at Botshabelo Historical Village near Middelburg, explore the culture of the Ndebele people and shop for eye-catching traditional arts and crafts.
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.
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.
The Panorama Route, one of the highest and most dramatically scenic routes in South Africa, takes you to several splendid natural wonders as it traces the Blyde River.
The views from the 26km-long Blyde River Canyon, the world’s third-largest canyon (after the Grand Canyon in USA and the Fish River Canyon in Namibia), are superb, both from the bottom and the top, and are easily accessible by road or on foot.
Blyde River Canyon, Bushbuckridge, Mpumalanga
A 26km-long canyon (third-largest in the world) that offers superb views.
The Three Rondavels, Mpumalanga
Massive beehive-like rock formations that are an iconic feature of Mpumalanga.
Bourke’s Luck Potholes
These rock pools, a geological wonder, are named after an early gold prospector.
Motlatse Canyon Provincial Nature Reserve
Aptly named vantage point that offers unending views of the surrounding countryside.