Lying in the east of South Africa, Mpumalanga is known for its stunning natural beauty, great mountain peaks and deep valleys, and game reserves stocked with Africa’s Big Five – elephant, lion, rhino, leopard and buffalo.
A female lion shows her teeth at the upmarket Nkomazi Game Reserve, a 150 000-hectare game farm on the banks of the Komati River. (Ryan Kilpatrick, CC BY-ND 2.0, via Flickr)
Compiled by Mary Alexander
It’s September. It’s spring in South Africa – and Tourism Month, celebrated this year with the theme “Tourism for All”. To inspire your next road trip we bring you nine galleries, one for each province, showcasing our country’s remarkable beauty and diversity.
A thriving tourism industry means South Africa is closer to achieving its National Development Plan goals of skills development and creating decent employment through inclusive economic growth.
Mpumalanga means “the place where the sun rises” in Nguni languages. It’s a landlocked province far from the sea, but ribbed with some of South Africa’s great rivers, such as the Sabie, Blyde and Olifants. Over millions of years these have carved out a dramatic landscape that includes the world’s largest green canyon. The lush subtropical Blyde River Canyon runs for 25 kilometres and plunges to depths of over a kilometre.
It’s the place to spot wildlife, get the adrenaline going on treetop tours and white water rapids, and explore the past in quaint old mining towns such as Pilgrim’s Rest.
The Blyde River Canyon in Mpumalanga is one of the great natural wonders of Africa. It is the third-largest canyon on earth, after the Grand Canyon in the US and the Fish River Canyon in Namibia. But its subtropical vegetation, teeming with abundant birdlife and wildlife, makes it the largest green canyon on the planet. (Image: South African Tourism, CC BY 2.0, via Flickr)
A Ndebele woman in traditional dress stands in a homestead decorated with the vibrant geometric designs of the Ndebele people, in a cultural village tourism development in Mpumalanga. (Image: South African Tourism, CC BY 2.0, via Flickr)
Formed by thousands of years of turbulent water flowing into the confluence of the Treur and Blyde rivers, Bourke’s Luck Potholes are gorgeous sandstone formations – also known as “giant’s kettles” – that seem more art than nature. (Image: Rudi von Staden, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Flickr)
God’s Window, one of the most spectacular viewpoints on earth, where the escarpment of the Mpumalanga highveld meets the lowveld. (Image: Aquila, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Flickr)
A herd of white rhino crowd the road in the southern Kruger National Park. South Africa’s flagship reserve runs across two of the country’s provinces: Mpumlanaga in the south and Limpopo in the north. (Image: Michael Janse, CC BY-ND 2.0, via Flickr)
The sun rises over the bushveld in the Kruger National Park. (Image: South African Tourism, CC BY 2.0, via Flickr)
Craftwork jewellery for sale at a Ndebele cultural village – a showcase of Ndebele culture for tourists – in Mpumalanga. (Image: South African Tourism, CC BY 2.0, via Flickr)
Tubing on the Blyde River. Adventure tourism is one of Mpumalanga’s most popular attractions. (Image: South African Tourism, CC BY 2.0, via Flickr)
A bull elephant near Satara rest camp in the Kruger National Park. (Image: Eric Gropp, CC BY 2.0, via Flickr)
The old post office in Pilgrim’s Rest, a historic mining village established during the gold rush of the 1800s. Today the entire village is a national monument, and a major tourist attraction alone Mpumalanga’s Panorama Route. (Image: South African Tourism, CC BY 2.0, via Flickr)
The Mbombela Stadium outside Nelspruit – Mpumalanga’s capital city – was built to host games for the 2010 Fifa World Cup. Its support struts were designed to evoke giraffes silhouetted against the sky. (Image: South African Tourism, CC BY 2.0, via Flickr)
On the road to the Kruger National Park, the sun breaks through the clouds to illuminate a dramatic Mpumalanga bushveld landscape. (Image: André van Rooyen, CC BY-NC-SA, via Flickr)
Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport outside Nelspruit allows global travellers to fly directly to the Kruger National Park. (Image: South African Tourism, CC BY 2.0, via Flickr)
A leopard climbs a tree to escape an angry herd of buffalo, in the Kruger National Park. Wildlife Tourists can spot The Big Five species in the park, including leopard, buffalo, elephant, lion and rhino. (Image: Chris Eason, CC BY 2.0, via Flickr)
The 70-metre Lone Creek Falls are another breathtaking natural attraction on Mpumalanga’s Panorama Route. Set in pristine indigenous forest, the falls have been declared a national monument. (Image: Pedro Alberquerque, CC BY 2.0, via Flickr)
A woman sells crafts to tourists in the town of Graskop, a stop-off point on Mpumalanga’s Panorama Route near God’s Window and the Pinnacle Rock. (Image: South African Tourism, CC BY 2.0, via Flickr)
A view above the clouds at God’s Window. (Image: South African Tourism, CC BY 2.0, via Flickr)