Mpumalanga Travel Guide, South Africa

Use this Mpumalanga Travel Guide to help plan your trip to this region of South Africa.

Mpumalanga, the 'place of the rising sun', is one of South Africa's most popular tourist destinations, thanks almost entirely to the magnificent Kruger National Park. Despite being completely geared towards tourism - and receiving a staggering one million visitors every year - there are few places in Africa offering such excellent game viewing.

It's a vast area, roughly the same size as Wales and with a bewildering variety of habitats. While it's entirely possible to see the Big Five in one afternoon, a longer stay allows visitors to fully appreciate the wilderness of the park - and to escape to its less-visited corners. Fringing the national park are large private reserves where game wanders unrestricted by fences; also here are some of the world's most luxurious safari lodges.

The rest of the province is understandably eclipsed by Kruger, but the area west of the park is well worth a detour. The forests and waterfalls of the Eastern Drakensberg make a pleasant change from the heat of the Lowveld. This mountainous area is dotted with quiet agricultural towns, clustered along the top of the spectacular Blyde River Canyon, the third largest in the world, and a handful of viewpoints open up stunning vistas to the Lowveld shimmering to the horizon.

Further into the mountains is the historical gold-mining town of Pilgrim's Rest, a string of restored miners' cottages nestling in a quiet valley. The gold-rush story continues in the Victorian town of Barberton, set in the hills close to Swaziland.

This is edited copy from Footprint Handbooks. For comprehensive details (incl address, tel no, directions, opening times and prices) please refer to book or individual chapter PDF
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