Laid-back leisure in the Lowveld
White River, conveniently located between Nelspruit and the world-famous Kruger National Park, is the perfect base from which to seek out the Lowveld’s leisure offerings. Whether you’re up for game-viewing and golfing, or you prefer shopping and long gourmet lunches, you’ll find plenty of reasons to linger in trendy Manzemhlope.
Casterbridge Lifestyle Centre, White River
© Casterbridge Lifestyle Centre
Did you know?
White River is so-named because of the nearby river, which is milky in colour because of the presence of kaolin.
White River is the ideal Lowveld getaway for those in search of bushveld atmosphere, with the reassurance that an authentic Italian espresso is just an outdoor café away.
Located just minutes from the main town centre, is one of White River’s most visited entertainment venues. Once a mango plantation, Casterbridge Centre is a relaxed, elegant lifestyle centre with an air of, ‘spoil yourself’ about its boutique shops, delis and open-air restaurants. It has a cinema, petting zoo, a vintage car museum, tourist information centre, a Saturday fresh produce market and its own micro-brewery.
When visitors to White River, South Africa aren’t splurging on hand-crafted furniture and other collectables, or relishing gourmet menus at Salt, Oliver’s, Fez and Baghdad Café restaurants, the area’s golf courses are a popular diversion.
Nearby is White River Golf Club, an 18-hole championship course, and Matumi Golf Club, an 18-hole parklands course. En route to Hazyview, Kruger Park Lodge Golf Club and Lion’s Rock Golf Lodge, are 9-hole courses with a mix of parklands and bushveld terrain, and the occasional 4-legged hazard.
Tour the lush, subtropical, plantation-lined countryside of White River, Mpumalanga by car or motorbike because there's plenty to see around White River. Visit a silk farm, an orange winery and macadamia nut farm, mission trading post and potters' workshop.
The roadside stalls of curio vendors, and farm stalls brimming with local produce, provide a delicious excuse to stretch your legs before proceeding to the Numbi Gate entrance of the Kruger National Park for some game-spotting, or venturing further, along the scenic Panorama Route to the Blyde River Canyon.
Just 20kms from White River, the city of Nelspruit offers slick shopping malls, Emnotweni Casino, fine dining at Orange and 10 on Russel, and, on its outskirts, the natural attractions of the Sudwala Caves and the Lowveld National Botanical Gardens.
Travel tips & Planning info
Who to contact
How to get here
It’s possible to fly to Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport, near Nelspruit, from OR Tambo International Airport or Lanseria Airport in Johannesburg.
The N4 is a toll road from Johannesburg to Maputo, going through Nelspruit. Toll costs are in the region of R80 per vehicle. In Nelspruit, turn left at main intersection where the N4 crosses with the White River, Barberton road. Take the R40 from Nelspruit, and follow the R40 towards White River.
Travel towards White River on the R40, pass Casterbridge on the left.
Travel on the R537 from Sabie turn to your right at the traffic light towards Nelspruit on the R40.
Around the area
Adventure sports and a Shangaan cultural village in Hazyview; scenic waterfalls around Sabie; a famous pancake house, trendy galleries and a ‘Big Swing’ in Graskop. Kruger Park game reserve is on White River’s doorstep.
Tours to do
Self-explore the Panorama Route, with natural attractions like Bourke’s Luck potholes and the Blyde River Canyon, or follow the Lowveld Gourmet Route, from Nelspruit to Hazyview. South, explore the historic towns of Barberton and Pilgrim's Rest.
White River, and the surrounding areas, are particularly scenic, so self-drive or a tour operator is recommended. The distances between attractions here are too vast to make a metered taxi a feasible option.
Length of stay
White River makes an ideal 1 or 2 night stopover en route to Kruger National Park, Sabi Sand Game Reserve or the Blyde River Canyon. You could though, relax for a week here, and find plenty to keep you amused.
What to pack
Pack clothes and equipment to suit the activities you plan to do. White River is in a subtropical region, and can get very hot and humid in summer. Winter is warm during the day with occasional chilly nights or early mornings.
Where to stay
White River accommodation options include luxury 5-star guesthouses, self-catering and B&B options. Hotel lovers should opt for Nelspruit or Sabie, while backpackers are better off in Hazyview or Sabie.
What to eat
White River is a large citrus and nut farming area. Local produce is fresh and abundant so try tropical and citrus fruits (fresh or dried), macadamia nuts and avocados in season. Smoked trout, fresh prawns from nearby Mozambique, venison and biltong (dried meat) are other local delicacies.
White River hosts a number of smaller, local festivals throughout the year, including a holistic fair and ‘Innie Water’, a water sports festival. Contact the local tourism office for the latest happenings.
Seasonal, local and home-made produce. Crafts, curios, leather goods, fashion jewellery, clay pots and wood carvings.