Mpumalanga

 

Mpumalanga means ‘place where the sun rises’. It is bordered by Mozambique and Swaziland in the east, and Gauteng in the west. It is situated mainly on the high plateau grasslands of the Middleveld, which roll eastwards for hundreds of kilometres. In the northeast, it rises towards mountain peaks and then terminates in an immense Escarpment. In some places, this Escarpment plunges hundreds of metres down to the low-lying area known as the Lowveld.

The area has a network of excellent roads and railway connections, making it highly accessible. Because of its popularity as a tourist destination, Mpumalanga is also served by a number of small airports.

Nelspruit is the capital of the province and the administrative and business centre of the Lowveld. Witbank is the centre of the local coal-mining industry; Standerton, in the south, is renowned for its large dairy industry; Piet Retief in the southeast is a production area for tropical fruit and sugar, while a large sugar industry is also found at Malelane in the east; Ermelo is the district in South Africa that produces the most wool; Barberton is one of the oldest gold-mining towns in South Africa, and Sabie is situated in the forestry heartland of the country.

The province falls mainly within the grassland biome. The Escarpment and the Lowveld form a transitional zone between this grassland area and the savanna biome. Long sweeps of undulating grasslands abruptly change to the thickly forested ravines and thundering waterfalls of the Escarpment, only to change again to present the subtropical wildlife splendour of the Lowveld.

Sabie and Graskop provide a large part of the country’s total requirement for forestry products. These forestry plantations are an ideal backdrop for ecotourism opportunities, with a variety of popular hiking trails, a myriad of waterfalls, patches of indigenous forest, and a variety of nature reserves.

Lake Chrissie is the largest natural freshwater lake in South Africa, and is famous for its variety of aquatic birds, especially flamingos.

PRINCIPAL MPUMALANGA TOURIST ATTRACTIONS

Abel Erasmus Pass -North eastern scenic route to the lowveld Barberton -Historic mining town, mountain passes, southern lowveld

Berlin Falls -Panorama route, near Graskop

Blyde River Canyon -Spectacular green canyon with excellent viewsites, panorama route, north of Graskop

Botshabelo Mission and Traditional Village -

Middelburg Bourke’s luck Potholes -Panorama route, north of Graskop Bulembu Pass -Scenic route to Swaziland from Barberton Chrissiesmeer lake District -Central Mpumalanga Dullstroom -Trout fishing and falconry centre

Elands River Falls -On the N4 to Nelspruit at Waterval-Boven God’s Window -Panorama route, north of Graskop Kruger National Park -Eastern Mpumalanga

Lisbon Falls -Panorama route, north of Graskop lone Creek Falls -Sabie River valley, forest walks, biking trails long Tom Pass -Highland route to Sabie from Lydenburg Loopspruit Winery -North east of Pretoria, KwaNdebele region Loskop Dam Nature Reserve -East of Middelburg Lydenburg Museum -Central Mpumalanga

Mac Mac Falls -Between Sabie and Graskop

Matsulu Village -Off the N4, east of Nelspruit (check opening times) Ndebele Traditional Village -loopspruit, north east of Pretoria Nelspruit Botanic Gardens -Nelspruit suburbs Nelspruit Enviro Park -Nelspruit suburbs

Nyabela Monument -At the Mapoch Caves, near Roossenekal Pilgrim’s Rest -Historic mining village, gold panning and museum, between Lydenburg and Graskop via the R36 and R533 Private Game Reserves -Are mostly located in the lowveld, adjoining Kruger National Park off the R536 from Hazyview Sabie Forestry Museum -Sabie

Songimvelo Nature Reserve -West of Barberton

Sudwala Caves -Off the N4, west of Nelspruit on the R539 The Pinnacle -Panorama route, north of Graskop

Wakkerstroom -Southern grass and wetlands, world renowned birding and historical sites, hiking trails and hang gliding

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