Did you know?
A Shangaan bride is expected to wear a goat's bladder on her person as a symbol of fertility.
Mpumalanga means ‘place where the sun rises’, a lucky portent for a couple getting married in this dramatically beautiful province.
And there are dozens of wedding venues in Mpumalanga to choose from, which combine modern amenities with the wildest of settings – none more so than the province’s luxury private game reserves that border the Kruger National Park.
Weddings in Mpumalanga include venues in private reserves like the Sabi Sand that are well-equipped to host your wedding. You can choose a sunset ceremony next to a waterhole or a spot with endless views of the Lowveld. The combination of exceptional service, luxury accommodation and the African bushveld in all its glory at places like Sabi Sabi Earth Lodge, Lion Sands Ivory Lodge and Singita’s Ebony and Boulders lodges, will make an unforgettable impression on you and your guests.
If you are looking for a country-style wedding venue in Mpumalanga, you can choose between the hills of the Highveld and beautiful garden settings in the tranquil farmlands that cover much of the province. Mpumalanga’s picturesque towns of Barberton, Dullstroom, Graskop, Hazyview, Pilgrim's Rest and White River (all just a short drive from the Kruger National Park) are popular wedding destinations.
The Casterbridge Hollow Hotel in the arty town of White River is a sophisticated venue for a wedding, while Misty Mountain, situated on the Long Tom Pass, has remarkable views of the Mpumalanga escarpment. Other venues, like the Bergwaters Eco Lodge & Spa (in the valley between Waterval Boven and Waterval Onder), also offer comprehensive wedding packages.
Weddings in Mpumalanga can also be held at venues close to the country’s economic hub of Johannesburg, such as at Welgelegen Manor in Balfour, which was designed by Sir Herbert Baker in 1913. Another accessible option for your wedding is Dullstroom – known for its pretty surrounds, trout fishing and small-town charm. Consider Walkerson’s Hotel and Spa, or the quaint Cowshed, a specialist wedding venue between Dullstroom and Mashishing.
Towns like Wakkerstroom and Piet Retief, although somewhat off the beaten track and better suited to small weddings, will surprise you and your guests with their scenery, historic churches and the warm hospitality of their lodges.
Travel tips & Planning info
Who to contact
Tel: +27 (0)13 759 5300/01
Singita Ebony and Boulders lodges
Tel: +27 (0)21 683 3424
Fax: +27 (0)21 671 6776
Sabi Sabi Earth Lodge
Tel: + 27 (0)13 735 5261
Fax: + 27 (0)13 735 5260
Casterbridge Hollow Boutique Hotel
Tel: +27 (0)13 737 7752
Kruger National Park
For information about the Kruger National Park, visit the SANParks website (listed at the bottom of the article)
How to get here
Mpumalanga is largely accessible and you can either drive there by road (about a three- to five-hour drive from Johannesburg, depending where you're headed) or take a flight to the Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport, which is situated close to Nelspruit.
Best time to visit
Mpumalanga experiences rainfall (mostly in the form of short thunderstorms) in summer and the province is known for its generous quota of sunny days. Winters are mild in this part of the world (a good time to enjoy game-viewing).
Around the area
Mpumalanga has many excellent attractions including the historic town of Pilgrim's Rest, adventure activities on offer in Sabie and Hazyview, and the Blyde River Canyon. Of course, the Kruger National Park is a must.
Tours to do
The Panorama Route is a highlight and includes attractions such as God's Window, Blyde River Canyon, Long Tom Pass and the Bourke's Luck Potholes.
Having your own car will give you the freedom to move around.
What will it cost
In Mpumalanga, there is a range of venues to meet all budgets. It's a good idea to shop around to find a wedding package to suit your needs.
Length of stay
A wedding in South Africa is the perfect excuse to go on an extended holiday (either with or without the family). Plan a two-week post-wedding tour and enjoy all the major attractions of Mpumalanga.
Where to stay
Most wedding venues have accommodation on offer, so it's a good idea to examine your options. The high-end lodges in the Sabi Sand are definitely worth a visit if your budget will allow. Staying a night or two in the Kruger National Park before or after the wedding is an absolute must (but you'll probably need to book your accommodation long in advance).
What to eat
You could always design your wedding menu around local produce available in the area. Have local Shangaan chefs cook up a local feast or find your inspiration from across the border and splash out on peri peri prawns, Maputo-style.
You could always try your hand at panning for gold in the historic town of Pilgrim's Rest.
Arts and crafts sold by the roadside.