Exploring the Marvels of Mpumalanga: A Guide to the Top 18 Things to Do

Nestled in the northeastern corner of South Africa, Mpumalanga is a province teeming with natural wonders, cultural richness, and unforgettable experiences. From the awe-inspiring landscapes of the Blyde River Canyon to the exhilarating wildlife encounters in Kruger National Park, Mpumalanga offers a diverse array of attractions for travelers seeking adventure, tranquility, and cultural immersion. In this guide, we’ll delve into the top 18 things to do in Mpumalanga, inviting you on a journey through this captivating region.

1. Explore Kruger National Park

Kruger National Park stands as one of Africa’s premier safari destinations, boasting an incredible diversity of wildlife, including the Big Five – lions, elephants, buffaloes, leopards, and rhinoceroses. Embark on thrilling game drives, guided walks, and night safaris to witness the enchanting beauty of the African bushveld and its inhabitants.

2. Discover the Blyde River Canyon

Marvel at the breathtaking vistas of the Blyde River Canyon, one of the largest and most picturesque canyons in the world. Admire the towering cliffs, lush vegetation, and cascading waterfalls that adorn this natural wonder, and don’t miss the iconic viewpoints of God’s Window and Bourke’s Luck Potholes.

3. Visit the Panorama Route

Embark on a scenic journey along the Panorama Route, a 160-kilometer road that winds through Mpumalanga’s most spectacular landscapes. Explore the quaint towns of Graskop, Sabie, and Pilgrim’s Rest, and be captivated by attractions such as the Lisbon Falls, Mac-Mac Pools, and the Pinnacle Rock.

4. Experience Cultural Heritage at Pilgrim’s Rest

Step back in time at Pilgrim’s Rest, a charming village frozen in the Victorian era. Wander through its historic streets lined with restored buildings, museums, and antique shops, and gain insight into the region’s gold rush history and cultural heritage.

5. Encounter Wildlife at Sabi Sands Game Reserve

Venture into the renowned Sabi Sands Game Reserve for an exclusive safari experience unlike any other. With its unfenced borders with Kruger National Park, Sabi Sands offers exceptional opportunities to witness Africa’s iconic wildlife up close in their natural habitat.

6. Hike the Drakensberg Mountains

Embark on a hiking adventure in the majestic Drakensberg Mountains, where scenic trails lead to hidden waterfalls, ancient rock art sites, and panoramic viewpoints. Whether you’re a novice or experienced hiker, the Drakensberg offers trails suited to all skill levels amidst breathtaking natural beauty.

7. Discover the Sudwala Caves

Descend into the ancient depths of the Sudwala Caves, believed to be some of the oldest caves on Earth. Marvel at the intricate limestone formations, underground pools, and fossilized remains that provide a glimpse into the region’s geological past.

8. Experience Adrenaline Activities in Graskop

For adrenaline junkies, Graskop is the ultimate playground. Take on the world’s highest gorge swing at the Graskop Gorge Lift Company, soar above the treetops on a zipline adventure, or brave the exhilarating Big Swing at the Graskop Adventure Centre.

9. Birdwatching in Wakkerstroom

Immerse yourself in the birdwatcher’s paradise of Wakkerstroom, a quaint town renowned for its rich avian biodiversity. Explore wetlands, grasslands, and nature reserves teeming with over 300 bird species, including rare and endemic sightings.

10. Discover the Cultural Heritage of Barberton

Delve into the cultural tapestry of Barberton, a historic mining town steeped in heritage and charm. Visit the Barberton Museum, explore the Heritage Walk, and journey underground on a gold mine tour to uncover the stories of the town’s golden past.

11. Encounter the Wildlife of Mthethomusha Game Reserve

Embark on a safari adventure in Mthethomusha Game Reserve, a lesser-known gem adjacent to Kruger National Park. Traverse rugged landscapes inhabited by a variety of wildlife, from herds of antelope to elusive predators like cheetahs and hyenas.

12. Enjoy Water-Based Activities at the Loskop Dam Nature Reserve

Indulge in a range of water-based activities at the Loskop Dam Nature Reserve, a tranquil oasis set against the backdrop of the Waterberg Mountains. Go fishing, boating, or birdwatching along the dam’s pristine shores, or simply relax and soak in the serene ambiance.

13. Explore the Lowveld Botanical Gardens

Stroll through the Lowveld Botanical Gardens in Nelspruit, where a tapestry of indigenous and exotic plant species awaits. Discover themed gardens, tranquil streams, and scenic picnic spots amidst the lush greenery of this botanical paradise.

14. Experience the Culture of the Shangaan People

Immerse yourself in the vibrant culture of the Shangaan people with a visit to a traditional village or cultural center. Engage in cultural activities, dance performances, and storytelling sessions that offer insight into the traditions, beliefs, and way of life of the local community.

15. Golfing in Leopard Creek Country Club

Tee off amidst the splendor of the African bushveld at Leopard Creek Country Club, one of the most prestigious golf courses in South Africa. Set along the banks of the Crocodile River, this championship course offers a unique golfing experience amidst unspoiled wilderness.

16. Discover the Chimpanzee Sanctuary at Jane Goodall Institute

Support conservation efforts and learn about chimpanzee rehabilitation at the Jane Goodall Institute’s Chimpanzee Sanctuary in Mpumalanga. Take a guided tour of the sanctuary, interact with rescued chimpanzees, and gain insight into the importance of protecting Africa’s primates.

17. Experience Hot Air Ballooning over the Lowveld

Soar above the picturesque landscapes of the Lowveld aboard a hot air balloon for a truly unforgettable adventure. Drift silently over rivers, forests, and game reserves as the sun rises, casting a golden glow over the African savannah below.

18. Taste Local Cuisine and Delicacies

Savor the flavors of Mpumalanga with a culinary journey through its diverse gastronomic offerings. Indulge in traditional dishes such as pap and vleis, samp and beans, and potjiekos, or sample local delicacies like biltong, droëwors, and Amarula cream liqueur.

In conclusion,

Mpumalanga beckons travelers with its unrivaled beauty, rich cultural heritage, and abundant wildlife. Whether you’re seeking budget adventure, relaxation, or cultural immersion, this enchanting province offers something for every discerning traveler. From the untamed wilderness of Kruger National Park to the scenic splendor of the Panorama Route, Mpumalanga invites you to embark on a journey of discovery and wonder amidst the heart of South Africa.