Did you know?
Before the San and Khoisan were forced to flee into Namibia's deserts, many lived in Mpumalanga, adorning hundreds of cliffs and caves with their paintings.
Mpumalanga will delight incentive travellers with so many wonderful attractions and adventure activities. Here are some Mpumalanga incentive highlights to tempt you...
The magnificent Panorama Route in Mpumalanga is best known for its cultural heritage and dramatic landscapes. Major highlights include Blyde River Canyon (the 3rd largest canyon of its kind in the world), the exquisite waterfalls in Graskop and Sabie, and the Echo Caves. The 33km-long gorge of the Blyde River Canyon harbours a 25 000 hectare nature reserve, with lush vegetation, rich birdlife, hippo and crocodile, and varied species of antelope. Its attractions include God’s Window, with its dizzying vistas; Bourke’s Luck Potholes - a collection of million-year-old potholes which have formed in the bedrock of the river, causing swirling whirlpools to form; and the Three Rondavels - 3 magnificent rock spirals with unusual, hut-like tops that form part of the far wall of the Canyon. There are scenic walks and lookout points all around the Canyon with many tourist facilities to enhance the pleasure of your trip.
The largest game reserve in Africa, the Kruger National Park stretches for 352 kilometres from north to south along the Mozambique border. It offers South Africa’s richest and most comprehensive wildlife experience in 2 million hectares of unspoiled African bush. It features 16 different ecosystems and, along with the much sought after Big 5, it has 147 species of mammals and 507 species of birds. Mpumalanga borders on the southern half of the Kruger Park which has its own ecosystem and character, different from the more northerly region.
Mpumalanga is bushveld and wildlife country and it offers a wide selection of award-winning luxury game lodge experiences. Here you can enjoy deluxe accommodation with service and cuisine to match, guided safaris and bush walks, elegant dinners by the riverside, jacuzzis and spa treatments - in complete peace and privacy. All these lodges offer open vehicle safaris in search of the Big 5 and most have facilities for a secluded business meeting in the bush, South Africa’s popular 'bosberaad' safaris.
Elephant-back safaris are available at some of the private game reserves in Mpumalanga, some of which are bywords for excellence in the global travel industry (such as Mala-Mala and Richard Branson’s Ulusaba).
The 3 million-year-old Sudwala Caves are the oldest known caves in the world, featuring awesome rock displays, dramatically lit stalactites and stalagmites, and fossils of the first oxygen-producing plants on earth. The Sudwala Caves were used as a hiding place for the Boer’s ‘Long Tom’ guns during the Anglo-Boer War, and many people believe that this is where the legendary Kruger Millions are still hidden.
For those wishing to experience the tribal culture of Mpumalanga, the nearby village of Botshabelo (Place of Refuge), now an open-air Ndebele village museum, provides an authentic look at how Ndebele people live. The village houses many Ndebele huts, decorated with beautiful traditional geometric paintings, in which Ndebele people still live.
Travel tips & Planning info
Who to contact
Mpumalanga Toursim and Parks Agency
Tel: +27 (0)13 759-5300/01
How to get here
There are daily flights from Johannesburg to Hoedspruit and Phalaborwa. You can also fly to the Kruger Mpumlanga International Airport near Nelspruit from Johannesburg, Durban and Cape Town. Driving to Mpumalanga is another great option, especially if you want to experience the many sites and adventure activities at your leisure.
Best time to visit
Mpumalanga is a year round destination with mild winter temperatures and hot summers.
Around the area
The Panorama Route is a popular tourist route filled with beautiful scenery and adventure activities. Here you'll discover God's Window, Wonder View, the Pinnacle, Bourke's Luck Potholes as well as the awe-inspiring Lisbon, Berlin and Mac Mac waterfalls. A visit to the magnificent Blyde River Canyon with its Three Rondavels is a must on any itinerary. Also near the quaint town of Graskop is the gold-rush town of Pilgrim's Rest where you can relive the goldrush of 1873.
Tours to do
There are a great number of adventures activities in Mpumalanga such as quadbiking at Mac Mac Falls, enjoying gold panning in Pilgrim's Rest, and canoeing in the Blyde River Canyon. You can also enjoy Big 5 game safaris in the Kruger National Park and at private reserves, birding safaris, fly fishing and much more.
If you're visiting the Kruger National Park you can drive yourself around. If you're staying at one of the many private reserves in Mpumalanga, you'll be taken on game drives in 4x4 open vehicles.
Length of stay
You'll need plenty of time to experience and explore Mpumalanga so plan to stay a week to 10 days.
Where to stay
From self-catering accommodation to golf estates, country estates, luxury game lodges, farm stays and guest houses, the choice is endless.
There are beautiful African arts and crafts that you will find at many stalls along Mpumalanga's tourist routes.