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The Top 15 Things to Do in Mpumalanga for Every Traveler

The Top 15 Things to Do in Mpumalanga for Every Traveler

Mpumalanga is tiny but packed with wildlife, stunning scenery, and cool stuff to do! Despite being South Africa’s second smallest province, it contains the Big Five, ancient caves, the world’s biggest green canyon, and a gold rush history.

With so much to explore, we’ve narrowed down the best things to do in Mpumalanga on this list.

Spot the Big Five at Kruger National Park


Address: Kruger National Park, Mpumalanga and Limpopo provinces, South Africa

Kruger National Park is like the big shot of game reserves in South Africa. No kidding; it’s even bigger than Israel! 

This massive wildlife haven, stretching over 352 kilometers from north to south, is the real deal for a wild African safari.

The park features self-drive options, guided tours, and excellent infrastructure like picnic spots and hides. Whether you’re up for game drives, bush walks, or even a laid-back eco trail, Kruger serves up a slice of African wilderness that’s hard to beat.

Pro Tip:
The best time to visit is during the dry winter season (June to September), when the animals are easier to spot and the weather is pleasant.

Marvel at the scenic views of Blyde River Canyon

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Address: Blyde River Canyon, Panorama Route, Mpumalanga, South Africa

Blyde River Canyon is a must-visit spot in Mpumalanga, having the title of the world’s third-largest canyon and the world’s largest green canyon. 

Formed over 200 million years ago, its 26-kilometer valley features breathtaking cliffs adorned with lush greenery.

This Nature Reserve isn’t just a pretty face; it’s a venue for adventure junkies with hiking, horse riding, white water rafting, and more. But hey, if all you want is chill time surrounded by nature, you should snag a spot in one of the private lodges.

Pro Tip:
There are many hiking trails in the canyon, ranging from easy to challenging. One of them is the Tufa, Guinea Fowl, and Leopard Trail, a 6.9-kilometer loop that offers stunning views of the canyon, swimming holes, and a dark jungle.

Explore the rock formations Bourke’s Luck Potholes

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Address: Bourke’s Luck Potholes, Ohrigstad, Graskop, Panorama Route, Mpumalanga, South Africa

A rock formation that’s been through a lot in millions of years, Bourke’s Luck Potholes is an iconic attraction in Mpumalanga. Water and pebbles did their thing, creating cool waterfalls and holes in the Black Reef quartzite.

You’ll see white water, black boulders, and falls that are over 20 meters deep! You can walk around on dark rocks, dip your toes in the water, check out the view from the bridges, and maybe grab some local crafts.

Pro Tip:
To enjoy Bourke’s Luck in peace, you should try to arrive early before the bus tours. You can walk on the metal bridges that cross over the potholes and capture amazing photos from above.

Discover the ancient fossils of Sudwala Caves

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Address: R539, Nelspruit, 1201, South Africa

Phone: 083 446 0228 / 072 497 8268 / 013 302 0995

Sudwala Caves is known as the oldest caves in the world. There’s a cluster of caves stretching an impressive 30 kilometres; however, you’re only able to explore a small portion of them.

These caves started forming about 3 billion years ago when the mountains cracked open. Now, you can take an hour-long tour to see cool stuff in it like hanging rocks and crystals, or go even deeper for a look at shiny crystals in a dark chamber.

Pro Tip:
You might also want to try the crystal tour at Sudwala Caves for a thrilling adventure 2,000 metres below ground. It’s a rare and unforgettable experience, but be prepared to crawl through some wet and narrow tunnels along the way.

Experience the thrill with Graskop Gorge Lift


Address: R533 Graskop Gorge, Graskop, 1270, South Africa

Phone: +27 66 305 1572

Graskop Gorge Lift is a thrilling viewing lift that goes 51 meters down into a forest in Mpumalanga. Once you’re down, you’ll find wooden pathways, a stunning waterfall known as Motitsi, and informative displays about the surrounding flora.

Less than an hour away from Kruger National Park, Graskop offers fun adventures like the Big Swing, where you can swing from high up with a harness. You can also try ziplining and walk on a cool bridge nearby.

Pro Tip:
Take a lift to the bottom and explore the beautiful Graskop Gorge on a circular trail. You’ll find walkways, platforms, posters, and exhibits, and you can take cool selfies at special spots with awesome views.

Drive along the Panorama Route

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Panorama Route is a must-try for anyone exploring South Africa! This scenic drive near White River in Mpumalanga offers great views of mountains and valleys, including top spots like the Three Rondawels and Blyde River Canyon.

Lots of folks love it because it’s close to Kruger National Park, and it’s often added to organized trips.

Pro Tip:
The most scenic part of the Panorama Route is the R532. It takes you from Sabie (where you can admire stunning waterfalls) to God’s Window, the Blyde River Canyon, Bourke’s Luck Potholes, and finally, the three Rondawels.

See the wild horses at Kaapsehoop

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Kaapsehoop is a small village up on the Highveld Escarpment, around 1,468 meters above the sea. Back in the late 1800s, it was named for the prospectors’ hope for gold and the cape-shaped ridge jutting from the Drakensberg escarpment.

Now, there’s no more gold, but it has wild horses wandering around the vicinity. You can easily spot them grazing while you check out the shops, hike, or grab a bite in one of the local joints.

Pro Tip:
Kaapsehoop offers a once-in-a-lifetime experience, with opportunities for birdwatching and access to the mysterious Adam’s Calendar, one of the world’s oldest man-made structures, as well as the scenic De Kaap Valley.

Admire the majestic peaks of Three Rondavels

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Three Rondavels are three round mountain peaks resembling traditional African homesteads in Mpumalanga. They used to call them “the chief and his three wives;” the peak on the right is the chief, and the three rondavels are his troublesome wives.

Standing on the cliff, you’ll have a majestic view of the canyon and the Three Rondavels on the other side of the Drakensberg mountains.

The Three Rondavels formations are just plain breathtaking and a must-see along the third-largest canyon in the world, the Blyde River Canyon.

Pro Tip:
There’s no railing to prevent you from falling over the edge, so you need to wear sensible shoes that have good grip and support. Avoid wearing sandals, flip-flops, heels, or any other shoes that might slip or get stuck on the rocks.

Witness the panoramic beauty of God’s Window

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Address: R543, Ehlanzeni, South Africa

God’s Window in Mpumalanga, situated on the Drakensberg escarpment, earns its name because it provides a stunning view of the Lowveld from over 900 meters up. It’s been a muse for painters and photographers.

The place boasts cliffs, canyons, and waterfalls, making Mpumalanga rightly known as Paradise Country. Couples who enjoy hikes, walks, or simply soaking in breathtaking views should make sure to stop at God’s Window.

Pro Tip:
For a breathtaking view of God’s Window and rare forest plants, you can hike up the Rain Forest Trail. It’s a tough and humid climb, so bring some snacks and drinks.

Swim and picnic at the Mac Mac Pools

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Perfect for swimming, chilling, and having a braai, Mac Mac Pools is a cool spot with natural rock pools between Sabie and Graskop. If you’re feeling adventurous, there’s a 3-kilometer loop trail called Secretary Bird Walk.

Nearby, you can also check out the impressive 65-meter Mac Mac Falls, just a 5-minute drive away. It gets busy, especially in summer, so come early and don’t forget your swimsuit!

Pro Tip:
The best time to visit Mac Mac Pools is during summer to enjoy the vibrant beauty of the pool as well as the falls. You’ll love the green scenery and the refreshing water.

Uncover the story of the gold rush in Pilgrim’s Rest

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Pilgrim’s Rest is a cool old gold rush town that takes you back to the 1870s. Back then, people hunted for big chunks of gold, but they mostly found smaller bits.

The town’s largest gold nugget weighed 214 ounces, with unverified tales of even bigger ones. The town is protected now so folks can check out this piece of South African history.

Pro Tip:
Pilgrim’s Rest is more than a historical town. There are more exciting things to do there!
You can also hike, bird watch, go mountain biking or horse riding, and golf in the Mount Sheba Nature Reserve.

Stroll through Lowveld National Botanical Garden

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Address: Off White River Road, Nelspruit (Mbombela), Lowveld Legogote, Mpumalanga, South Africa

Phone: +27 13 752 8880

Operating Hours:

  • Open daily – 8 AM to 6 PM

Lowveld National Botanical Garden is a massive 159-hectare green space with 600 local and 2,000 non-local plant types. You’ll find interesting stuff like a rainforest, collections of cycads and fig trees, plus killer views of the Crocodile River.

You can also check out cool spots like the Cascades Viewpoint or the Nels River Viewpoint for awesome river views. Even if plants aren’t your thing, it’s a chill spot to stroll, have a picnic, and soak up some nature vibes in Mpumalanga.

Pro Tip:
For a memorable visit, you can follow the educational tour that covers the main attractions, such as the African Rain Forest, the Crocodile River, the Cascade Falls, and the rare cycads. 

Shop, dine and relax at the Casterbridge Lifestyle Centre


Address: R40, White River, 1240, South Africa

Phone: +27 13 751 1540

Operating Hours:

  • Monday to Friday – 9 AM to 4:30 PM
  • Saturday – 9 AM to 4 PM
  • Sunday – 9:30 AM to 3 PM

Casterbridge Lifestyle Centre is a cool spot just 40 minutes from Kruger National Park. It showcases serene gardens, quirky shops, a lively market on Saturdays, and some good entertainment options.

Casterbridge’s shopping experience is known for its varied products, top-notch quality, and a touch of surprise. You can shop around 35+ stores surrounded by mango trees and nice gardens.

Pro Tip:
If shopping isn’t your thing, there’s the Vintage Car Museum or the White River Art Gallery, plus there are restaurants open from breakfast to dinner for good bites.

Meet the rescued chimpanzees at Jane Goodall Chimp Eden


Address: Turn Off 47, R40, Barberton Road, Nelspruit, Mpumalanga, South Africa

Phone: +27 (0) 79 777 1514

JGI Chimpanzee Eden is a chill 1,000-hectare spot on a game reserve that houses chimpanzees who needed a new pad. Run by the Jane Goodall Institute, it’s like a safe haven in South Africa for chimps in a tight spot.

It’s the sole chimp sanctuary in South Africa. Just 15 kilometers from Nelspruit, it’s a laid-back place with bush vibes and natural game strolling around.

Pro Tip:
If you love chimpanzees and want to support Jane Goodall’s Chimp Eden, you can volunteer for a week or more. You’ll help with daily tasks and learn about the chimps and their stories.

Learn about geology and mining history at Barberton Museum

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Address: 36 Pilgrim St, Barberton, 1300, South Africa

Phone: +27 (0)13 712 4208

Barberton Museum is where you can catch up on the geology, mining, and overall history of the Barberton area. Back in 1884, it was all about gold, drawing in hopefuls trying their luck, but things quieted down after the Witwatersrand gold discovery.

In 1998, a donation of mining specimens and historical items set the stage for the Carnegie Library’s display at the museum. Now, the Main Museum, along with others like Belhaven and Stopforth House, gives you the lowdown on the region’s history.

Pro Tip:
After visiting the museum, enjoy a delicious meal at one of the nearby restaurants. You can choose from traditional chicken dishes at Belgrade Gardens, authentic Italian cuisine at Casa Di Pizza, or fresh seafood at White House Chicken.

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