Mpumalanga Travel Map
Ever wanted to see the view from God’s Window? It looks out across the Blyde River Canyon in Mpumalanga (‘The place where the sun rises’), one of South Africa’s most naturally beautiful provinces, rich in history and culture and abundant in flora and fauna, containing approximately half of the Kruger National Park. Portfolio Collection offers superb luxury Mpumalanga accommodation, ideal quality establishments from which to explore this fascinating province. Experience the best in South Africa safari, Big 5 game viewing and luxury Kruger National Park game lodges in this unique part of the country.
Fish for fat, lazy trout in the streams that tumble around and through the village of Dullstroom. Explore the sub-tropical Lowveld region, famous for exotic, juicy fruits such as mangoes and litchis.
Visit the quaint, historic village of Pilgrim’s Rest where the romance of the early pioneers and gold rush can still be felt. Indeed, the mines were active until the 1970s after which the town was converted into a tourist attraction featuring museums, craft stores, cafes and the original restored hotel and lively bar.
Anthropologists will enjoy meeting the local Shangaan and learning more of their history at the Shangaan Cultural Village. The Ndebele houses and beadwork can be appreciated in the museum village of Botshabelo.
Apart from the big game viewing opportunities that lure so many visitors to the Kruger and other safari parks in Mpumalanga, nature lovers can experience the unique sight of wild horses roaming in the misty grasslands near the hamlet of Kaapsehoop. Rare, endangered blue swallows can also be seen en masse during their annual migration through the Nelspruit region.
Mpumalanga is the ideal place for a South African outdoor adventure vacation, and Hazyview is the adventure centre of the region, offering the wild-at-heart every opportunity to get the adrenalin pumping. Scale the rocks at the Restaurant at the End of the Universe or explore the fascinating canyons and potholes at Bourke’s Luck. Enjoy an eagle-eye view of Mpumalanga from a microlight, hot air balloon, or while paragliding or hang gliding off the escarpment. White water rafting is an excellent way to enjoy the more lively sections of the Blyde River.
It’s easy to see why this scenic province with its endless vistas would be the place where, as they say, even God has a window to enjoy the view. Stay at one of Portfolio’s luxury Mpumalanga accommodation establishments and experience this beauty for yourself.
Barberton, Komatipoort and Malalane
Barberton, Komatipoort and Malalane (previously Malelane) are found in the region of Mpumalanga known as the Wild Frontier, where the oldest forms of life, from over three billion years ago, have been traced. The region borders Mozambique, Swaziland and the southernmost tip of the Kruger National Park. During the height of the apartheid era, Mozambique’s then-president Samora Machel died when his plane crashed near Komatipoort, today the site of a memorial in honour of Machel and all who died with him.
On a lighter note the hot springs and hydro spas at Badplaas offer pampering and relaxation, most welcome after all that historical time travel.
Once the scene of a historic gold rush, Barberton today has many tourist attractions and sites dedicated to its mining past. The Barberton Daisy was discovered in Barberton back in 1884 by Robert Jameson, after whom it gets its official name: Gerbera Jamesonii. Several sporting events take place annually in Barberton, including the Daisy Mountain Bike Challenge in January and the Daisy Golf Tournament each December.
Situated right near the Kruger National Park, Malalane (the name either refers to palm trees, or is a derivative of the Swazi word for sleep - 'lala') is certainly a laid-back and relaxed part of Mpumalanga. Malalane boasts numerous guest houses for those wanting to go on safari in the world renowned Kruger Park without staying inside the borders of the reserve itself. It is a farming town where sugarcane and fruit are grown.
Ermelo, Piet Retief and Wakkerstroom
Star gazing, an annual frog-watching festival, a mysterious footprint in the rock (matching one found in Canada) and a battle re-enactment – this wild and wonderful array of activities and sites are all found in this one region. The wetlands here also attract birds and birding enthusiasts in droves, especially at South Africa's largest freshwater lake at Chrissiesmeer.
For many years, Ermelo was a stop-over place for wagon trains travelling between Lydenburg on the Mpumalanga Escarpment and KwaZulu Natal. The town was decimated during the second Anglo-Boer War and later rebuilt into what is now the focal point of the Eastern Highveld.
Today, maize, cattle, wool and sunflower farms are found here among the anthracite, coal and torbanite mines. It is a naturally beautiful area, well known for the numerous action adventure and leisure activities offered – watersports, fishing and bird watching to name a few.
One can also visit the ruins of a settlement dating back to 1400, and view the fascinating San paintings located on the Welgelegen farm. The Leghoya Stone Huts on the Tafelkop Mountains date back to the 14th century.
Piet Retief, named for a Voortrekker leader killed by the Zulus under orders of Dingaan after he tried to settle on their land, is today a popular place for fishermen and birders. Fine examples of Colonial architecture can be seen here.
Once known as one of the least-known places in South Africa, Wakkerstroom (awake/wakeup stream) has certainly woken up and today it’s a popular tourist destination offering numerous museums, shops and restaurants plus excellent birding.
Graskop, Hazyview, Lydenburg, Ohrigstad and Sabie
Graskop, Hazyview, Lydenburg, Ohrigstad and Sabie are all located in the Panorama region of Mpumalanga. With views so unbelievably beautiful that even God has a window here (God's Window, a section of the 250km rampart of cliffs on the Drakensberg escarpment, boasts eternal views), the Panorama route is a paradise for nature enthusiasts. The route incorporates the Blyde River Canyon, the astonishing Bourke's Luck Potholes and the Three Rondawels. Lydenburg and the quaint town of Pilgrim's Rest is a living museum to the gold rush.
There are plenty of fun and fascinating things to do in this section of Mpumalanga, from hot air ballooning to white water rafting and gold panning.
Originally called Nasareth by the Voortrekkers back in 1864, Middleburg was given its current name in 1872 - referring to its position mid-way between Pretoria and Lydenburg. During the course of the second Boer War the British set up a concentration camp here – today one can visit the Memorial Museum which remembers the 1381 women and children who died in the camp. Visitors can enjoy a tour of the Botshabelo mission station museum and colourful Ndebele tourist village, as well as the Dutch Reformed church in the town centre. Hiking and golfing are popular activities here. The Kees Taljaard Park Rugby Stadium is located in the Nelspruit vicinity and many local festivals are hosted in this facility.
Nelspruit and White River
Both Nelspruit and White River are set in a region of Mpumalanga known as the Lowveld Legogote – a place where the past and the present collide. Here you can find the oldest Dolomite caves in the world (Sudwala Caves) and the wild horse town of Kaapsehoop on the one hand, and the vibrant KaNyamazane township, artsy White River and an eight-theatre cinema complex, casino and mall on the other.
Nelspruit, the capital of Mpumalanga, is located in the lush valley of the Crocodile River. It is known as the gateway to Mpumalanga and the Kruger National Park. The beautiful Lowveld Botanical Gardens are a must-visit for those on holiday in Nelspruit.