This scenically beautiful province, ‘the land of the rising sun’ in the local siSwati and Zulu languages, is probably best known as the home (along with part of Limpopo province) of the Kruger National Park. It is a place of game, adventure and rich history.
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. Expect good roads and excellent choice of accommodation to suit all pockets. 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.
Mpumalanga, ‘the land where the sun rises’, is in the east of South Africa, north of KwaZulu-Natal, and borders Swaziland and Mozambique.