Mpumalanga

Mpumalanga is the safari capital of South Africa. With much of the Kruger National Park in the province, and many private reserves, there is something for everyone. Divided into the Lowveld and the Highveld, this province is a little schizophrenic.

The Lowveld is hot and humid, with long grass and broad-leaved trees. And, of course, spectacular game. Accommodation in Kruger ranges from clean campsites to very comfortable lodges. The private reserves on its borders are, almost without exception, very luxurious.

The Highveld is higher, obviously, and also much cooler. On the opposite side of the Drakensberg to KwaZulu-Natal, it consists of rolling grassland with many wild flowers and pretty streams.

Much of the area has been cultivated as pine plantations, but there are still some pockets of indigenous forest. Trout have been introduced into some dams and streams in the Dullstroom and Lydenberg areas.

The town of Sabie is a popular tourist destination in its own right and also as a stop-over to and from the Kruger National Park.

This whole area has a fantastic history, particularly its gold rush era, when lawlessness was the order of the day and brave pioneers wandered through lion-infested bush to reach their claims.

The pretty museum town of Pilgrim’s Rest gives an indication of the way of life in those hard days. You can picture yourself a fortune-hunting gold prospector, if you stop off for a drink in the pub of the Royal Hotel. (With a bit of imagination.)

Many people visit this lovely province just to sightsee, as it is scenically spectacular. Do a long drive taking in God’s Window, Bourke’s Luck Potholes in the Blyde River, the cute town of Graskop, the Three Rondawels (three almost circular mountains), the Swadini Dam and the Sudwala Caves.

The main city is Nelspruit, which, along with the many small towns, serves the tourist industry and the many farmers who grow delicious sub-tropical products, such as bananas, citrus fruit, litchis, mangoes, avocados, macadamia nuts, pecan nuts and tea and coffee.

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