Skip Navigation

Mpumalanga

Photo © Demian

Travel Guide Africa South Africa Mpumalanga

edit

Introduction

A rare pack of wild dogs in Kruger National Park

A rare pack of wild dogs in Kruger National Park

© All Rights Reserved Ofelia

Mpumalanga is a province in South Africa, located in the central east of the country. Although most of the province is looked over by travellers, the east of the province is home to two major attractions: The Blyde River Canyon and the (southern portion of) Kruger National Park, attracting visitors from all over the world to see the Big 5.

Top

edit

Geography

The Drakensberg Escarpment divides Mpumalanga into a westerly half consisting mainly of high-altitude grassland called the Highveld and an eastern half situated in low altitude subtropical Lowveld/Bushveld, mostly savanna habitat. The southern half of the Kruger National Park is in the latter region. The Drakensberg exceeds heights of 2000 metres in most places with this central region of Mpumalanga being very mountainous. These regions have alpine grasslands and small pockets of Afromontane Forest. The Lowveld is relatively flat with interspersed rocky outcrops. The Lebombo Mountains form a low range in the far east forming the border with Mozambique.

Some of the oldest rocks on earth are to be found in the Barberton area and these ancient greenstones and metamorphosed granites form the Crocodile River Mountains in the southeast of the province. The Lowveld is underlaid by African Cratonic Basement rocks of ages in excess of 2 billion years. The Highveld is mostly Karoo Sequence sedimentary rocks of a younger, Carboniferous to Permian age.

Top

edit

Cities

  • Belfast - One of the coldest towns in South Africa.
  • Nelspruit - the capital
  • Dullstroom
  • Hazyview - 44 kilometres from the Skukuza gate to the Kruger National Park.
  • Malalane - Halfway between Nelspruit and Komatipoort at the Malalane Gate Entrance to the Kruger National Park
  • Witbank - Industrial city you will encounter on route.

Top

edit

Sights and Activities

Blyde River Canyon

Bourkes Potholes

Bourkes Potholes

© All Rights Reserved Taffski

The Blyde River Canyon is a significant natural feature of South Africa and forming the northern part of the Drakensberg escarpment. It is 25 kilometres in length and is, on average, around 750 metres deep. The Blyderivierpoort Dam, when full, is at an altitude of 665 metres. The canyon consists mostly of red sandstone. The highest point of the canyon, Mariepskop, is 1,944 metres above sea level, whilst its lowest point where the river leaves the canyon is slightly less than 561 metres above sea level. This means that by some measure the Canyon is 1,383 metres deep. Blyde River Canyon is one of the largest canyons on Earth, and it may be the largest 'green canyon' due to its lush subtropical foliage.

Kruger National Park

Ellie

Ellie

© All Rights Reserved soupatrvlr

This park is the largest of all of South Africa's game parks with around 19,000 square kilometers to explore. The park is located in the northeast of the country in both the provinces of Mpumalanga and Limpopo, at the borders with Mozambique and Zimbabwe. Recently the park has become part of the Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park, a peace-park consisting of Kruger National Park, Gonarezhou National Park (Zimbabwe) and Limpopo National Park (Mozambique). It is the most visited of all national parks in South Africa and can become very busy during the South African holiday periods. Also, some of the roads are tarred, which makes this park one of the best to visit when you just have a small 2wd vehicle. More about Kruger NP or visit the official Kruger Park website.

Top

edit

Weather

The Lowveld is subtropical, due to its proximity to the warm Indian Ocean and latitude. The Highveld is comparatively much cooler, due to its altitude of 1,700 to 2,300 metres above sea level. The Drakensberg Escarpment receives the most precipitation, with all other areas being moderately well-watered by mostly summer thunderstorms. The Highveld often experiences severe frost, whilst the Lowveld is mostly frost-free. Winter rainfall is rare, except for some drizzle on the escarpment.

Top

edit

Getting There

By Plane

The Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport is situated just northeast of the town of Nelspruit. Destinations include Durban, Cape Town, Johannesburg and Vilanculos (Mozambique).

By Train

Shosholoza Meyl has the following train:

  • Johannesburg/Pretoria - Komatipoort via Nelspruit, 13 hours, economy class daily except Saturday, connecting with the onward train to Maputo, Mozambique.

By Car

For most tourist destinations in Mpumalanga, follow the N4 toll road from Pretoria. The road is in very good condition. Alternatively, follow the N12 from southern Johannesburg, it will join the N4 at Witbank.
If you are heading to the southern parts of Mpumalanga, follow the N17 from Johannesburg.

Top

edit

Getting Around

By Car

If you would like to travel around by car, there are numerous car rental companies available from the airports and downtown locations. Just make sure that you have sufficient insurance to cover you if the need arises. Some of them offer the possibility to reduce excess (the amount you pay when involved in an accident) for a daily fee. Car hire companies include Avis, Imperial, CABS, First Car Rental as well as many other international and local ones. Usually, the local ones are cheaper but don't have the same standard as the international ones, which have more branches throughout the country and therefore are able to help you more quickly if needed.

If travelling by car, be sure to plan your routes carefully to insure that there are sufficient places to fill the tank with petrol as some towns are located quite a distance apart with no filling stations in between. It's a good idea to fill up with fuel when you have about half a tank left if possible.

Top

edit

Sleep

PropertyAddressTypePopularity
Havana Nights10 RICHARDSON ST GraskopGuesthouse-
Kwa Madwala Private Game ReservePO Box 192 HectorspruitGuesthouse-

Top

Quick Facts

[edit]

Coordinates
  • Latitude: -29.812150
  • Longitude: 30.636939

Accommodation in Mpumalanga

We have a comprehensive list of accommodation in Mpumalanga searchable right here on Travellerspoint. You can use our map to quickly compare budget, mid-range or top of the range accommodation in Mpumalanga and areas nearby.

Contributors

as well as Peter (5%), Hien (3%)

Mpumalanga Travel Helpers

We don't currently have any Travel Helpers for Mpumalanga

This is version 15. Last edited at 11:41 on May 11, 16 by Utrecht. 18 articles link to this page.

Creative Commons License
Except where otherwise noted, content of this article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License