We spent 7 days in Mpumalanga this past week and we came back with recommendations, reviews and a teaser of how our trip was in the very green province of Mpumalanga.
Mpumalanga is a province of South Africa. The name means “east”, or literally ” the place where the sun rises” in the Swazi, Xhosa, Ndebele and Zulu languages .
The entire Mpumalanga area offers exceptional opportunities for bird-watching, hiking, horse-riding and fishing. We didn’t explore all there was to experience in Mpumalanga but what we did get to see and feel was phenomenal.
We stayed at Hazyview Cabanas and the resort’s large grounds stretch from the main Hazyview / Sabie road all the way down to the cool Sabie River. Only 18km from the Kruger National Park, the resort has a variety of units, either freestanding or in small apartment blocks, are spread around the resort allowing children plenty of space to play. When visiting any resort on side of the world, you should expect gecko’s which we were so prepared for but had to make peace with the fact that we had gone to a place where we cannot ignore them.
Just beyond Sabie, the Mac Mac Falls are worth stopping for; and you can treat yourself to a swim in the crystal-clear pools. A small detour leads to Pilgrim’s Rest; a fascinating historic town, well worth exploring before continuing to Blyderivierspoort Nature Reserve. In the reserve, you can feast your eyes on the Blyde River Canyon and the rich bird life. At the southern tip of the reserve, the view from God’s Window stretches to eternity across the Lowveld. From there, it’s a short and easy drive to some of the finest private game reserves in the country and Orpen Gate to the Kruger National Park.
With so many options in Mpumalanga you can imagine that it was a tough choice to decide where to go first and what to leave out, but we encouraged ourselves knowing that we can always go back. Here are some of the wonderful views ad experiences we had in our 7 days in Mpumalanga.
The trip itself is an experience we would recommend to any group of friends, family or even a couple, well it obviously depends where you’re driving from because it could soon feel like you’re never going to get there if you’re driving more than 12 hours.
We started our trip from Pretoria which can take approximately 5-6 hours depending on how long your stops are. Make sure when taking a road trip to Mpumalanga that you go during the day because the sight outside your window is one you wouldn’t want to miss. Also depending on the time you’re traveling some of the roads are foggy and pothole infested so you will need to have a careful driver when you get to Mpumalanga.
Bourkes Luck Potholes
Did you know?
These bizarre natural water features, hewn by centuries of water, mark the start of the Blyde River Canyon. Take the 700 metre walk to view these unusual water features.
We visited the popular Bourkes Luck Potholes in Graskop during our stay in Mpumalanga last week, and this geological attraction formed by water erosion was a phenomenal sight. Entrance was free for the driver only, R63 for adults, R23 for children under 12 and pensioners.
Bourke’s Luck Potholes are without doubt a major icon, but when thrown in together with the likes of the Three Rondawels, God’s Window, the Blyde River Canyon and numerous magnificent waterfalls, one can become immune after a while.
Bourke’s Luck Potholes were named after prospector Tom Bourne who discovered alluvial gold in the area during the later 1880’s. Bourke’s Luck Potholes is a magnificent natural attraction located along the panorama route, approximately 35km north of the town of Graskop in mpumalanga and approximately a 20 minute drive from God’s window.
The Blyde river which runs through the Rouke’s Potholes is usually very clear and you can drink from it, but we went in a time where there was a huge storm which turned the water into a muddy brown color, still beautiful but we were looking forward to drinking from the river side.
If you can, begin your wander around Mpumalanga with Bourke’s Luck Potholes, for they are without doubt incredible. Essentially they’re the result of decades of swirling eddies of water where the Treur River meets the Blyde River, the tumult of which has caused extensive water erosion over time. The result is a series of cylindrical rock sculptures that look as though they would be more comfortable on the moon.
They are on the Panorama Route and are one of the major tourist attractions in South Africa, so best get there ahead of the bus tours. A series of metal bridges take you right above them, if photographs are a high priority, whilst walkways around the ridges allow you various angles and viewpoints from which to take your snaps.
Bridal Veil Falls
WE WENT BEHIND A WATERFALL!!!!!
Ok lets calm down a bit but we had to take sure you see how exciting it was for us to have such a refreshing experience. Bridal Veil Falls forms part of the “Waterfalls Tour” along the Panorama Route in Mpumalanga. The soft spray from this waterfall generates a beautiful veil that lends the fall its name.
The Bridal Veil Falls is just outside Sabie, Mpumalanga in South Africa. It is 146m high. It is situated just outside Sabie and is accessible by car, with parking and picnic area. Entrance is R10 per person, which we found to be reasonable comparing to the Potholes entrance fee. An easy footpath runs through bush scenery for about 1 km directly to the waterfall, it is an uphill hike which can make the unfit cry but its all worth it when you get to the falls.
The waterfall itself isn’t amongst the biggest but that’s not the point, the most exciting part of it all is getting to go behind it and take a cool shower. Not everyone is brave enough to walk through the mud and slippery rocks to get wet behind the waterfall but believe us it is definitelyly worth it.
Because of being somewhat more difficult to access, Bridal Veil Falls is not as famous or popular as the province’s various other waterfalls, which are all reachable by road. If your time is limited and you cannot incorporate a hike during your trip through Mpumalanga, Mac Mac Falls, Lisbon Falls and Berlin Falls are all incredibly striking.
One of our highlights and most educating trips was to the 240 million year old Sudwala Caves. The Sudwala caves are set in Precambrian dolomite rock, which was first laid down about 2800 million years ago, when Africa was still part of Gondwana.
The caves themselves formed about 240 million years ago making them the oldest known caves in the world. The Sudwala Caves are open from 8:30am – 4:30pm every day including weekends and public holidays. The tours R95 for Adults, R80 for pensioners, R50 for kids and free for kids under 4.
The Sudwala Caves is the oldest known caves in the world and lie in the Drakensberg escarpment. Regular guided tours take you 600 meters in and 150 meters underground. The caves have some amazing formations including stalactites, stalagmites, flow stones and pre cambrian fossils. The most famous formation is the Screaming Monster. This is actually a stalactite that has joined with a stalagmite and has formed a column that is 200 million years old.
The cave is easy to navigate, well lit and maintained at a constant 17 degrees celcius. The knowledgable guides conduct tours every 15min which take approximately 45min. There is a well stocked curio shop and other attractions include a Fish Spa, Butterfly Park and Unity Labyrinth. There are no braai areas but picnic facilities are available for those that want to relax and enjoy nature.’
We didn’t get time to explore every single thing in Mpumalanga but the above experiences is what we wanted to share with you. All of these experiences are best done with a group of friends or family which we enjoyed and would recommend to anyone going to Mpumalanga soon.
Comment below and let us know if you know any of the places mentioned about and tell us your experience or better yet tell us where to go next.