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WWith just a few weeks of winter left, there’s no better time to hit the road in search for the perfect winter getaway. Imagine snuggling up in front of a crackling fireplace, waking up to the faint sounds of nature, taking a deep breath of fresh air and drinking water from natural springs, or going on a game drive to find our Big Five. Experience this and so much more in majestic Mpumalanga, a province that boasts many hidden gems. Find it all now by taking an unforgettable journey to the “place where the sun rises”.
Hit the N12 and N4 highways from Johannesburg en route to Mpumalanga and you’ll discover many surprisingly quaint stops along the 300km journey. Depending on which route you take, you could to drive into Dullstroom. As you arrive in this Highveld town, you’ll notice the beautifully designed Piazza on your right – this Italian-style “village” boasts quaint shops, restaurants and luxury accommodation for tourists who’d like to overnight. If there’s time, explore the town and the activities on offer, such as fly-fishing, horse riding and hiking.
Journey on and venture further into this province known for its incredible mountain peaks, vast escarpment and jaw-dropping views. The Long Tom Pass is just one of the areas where road-trippers have plenty of opportunities to take in the picturesque scenery. This exquisite mountain pass is named after the Long Tom cannons used during the Anglo-Boer war, one of which remains on the very top of the pass for visitors to experience.
AAn ideal if not perfect winter getaway in Mpumalanga is without a doubt Misty Mountain. Established in 1974, this lodge that’s situated on 280 hectares of land is 1700m above sea level, and offers sweeping views of the valleys below.
The accommodation at this three-star establishment, which is graded through the Tourism Grading Council of South Arica, comprises several units ranging from studio and family to farmhouse. Every unit boasts unique aspects including spectacular views, welcoming fireplaces or luxurious outdoor areas.
Once settled in visitors can indulge in the fine cuisine served at the lodge’s restaurant.The delicious culinary options on the a la carte menu are sure to excite your palate. The service from staff is impeccable, and Lillian, a waitress of 12 years says: “Misty Mountain is a lovely place. Tourists always come back for the beautiful wilderness and heritage sites.”
Activities onsite, in and around the Panorama Route include Africa’s only alpine coaster, the Long Tom Toboggan that sits on a 1.7km track. Thrill seekers can expect to reach speeds of up to 45km an hour, and the three-minute ride is enough to get anyone’s heart racing. After bolting down this extreme ride, South African Tourism’s Marketing Coordinator, Funeka Kraai says: “The Long Tom is an adrenaline rush of note, it’s exciting.”
“The unique selling point of Misty Mountain, and one of the things that’s close to my heart is the view, it really gives the wow factor. Mpumalanga is a place of extreme natural beauty, natural beauty that goes right down to the flora and fauna,” says Lisa Sheard, owner of this incredible mountain getaway. On why South Africans should venture out and take a Sho’t Left, Lisa says: “Getting out of one’s normal environment is healthy, and a wonderful way to discover your country.”
When experiencing all the gems on this epic road trip through Mpumalanga the Blyde River Canyon Nature Reserve and God’s Window is a must do, boasting extraordinary views and more.
What are you waiting for? Mpumalanga has so much more to offer, so why not take a Sho’t Left this winter and enjoy the beauty and adventure that lies in this province.
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