Road-tripping through Mpumalanga

November 22, 2018

Mpumalanga, which means “place where the sun rises” in Swazi, Xhosa, Ndebele and Zulu,  is a diverse province that is perfect for a road trip.

Not quite sure where to start? We have you covered.

Mpumalanga lies in the east of South Africa, and borders neighbouring countries Mozambique and Swaziland to the west, and the provinces of KwaZulu-Natal, Free State, Gauteng and Limpopo to the south, east and north. This accessibility makes it a great road-trip destination.

Drive to the beautiful beaches of Mozambique after a trip through the Kruger National Park. Maybe an escape from Johannesburg to grandiose nature at the Blyde River Canyon? You can see it all on a trip through Mpumalanga!

Geographically speaking, the Drakensberg mountain range divides the province into a high-altitude grassland and a low-altitude subtropical region. Although in the same province, these two regions experience a different climate because of their altitudes, with the Lowveld being warm and Highveld being cooler.

Not only is this a tip to pack your suitcase accordingly, but also a teaser of the rich and diverse landscapes you’ll find in the province.

Here are a few stops to add to your road trip:

Explore the Blyde River Canyon

Renowned World Heritage Site and natural wonder the Blyde River Canyon (also known as the Motlatse Canyon), is located in the Blyde River Canyon Nature Reserve in Mpumalanga.

Regarded as one of the largest canyons in the world, the Motlatse Canyon is a wonder to behold. The highest point of the canyon sits at 1 944m, with its lowest point where the river and cliffs meet at about 561m, depending on water levels. What makes the canyon such an incredible sight is the lush subtropical greenery and monstrous cliffs delving deep into the snaking river below.

Visit the Blyde River Canyon Nature Reserve to enjoy the sights of the canyon, enjoy a picnic surrounded by incredible views, or embark on a one-day hike of the area.

See the Big Five at the Kruger National Park

The iconic Kruger National Park is one of the largest game reserves in Africa, and  is home to a diverse range of plant and animal species, including the popular Big Five.

The Kruger, as it’s popularly known, is 360km in length and 65km in width, providing a really large area for game-viewing enthusiasts.

There are tarred and dirt roads suitable for any car. The best way to experience this mammoth park is to stay overnight, either in chalets or at a camping site. The park also hosts a number of luxury private accommodation options.

From here simply start your day as early as possible while the animals are out and about, and explore! If you’re eager to see animals without needing to keep your eyes on the road, you can book a game drive or even a guided safari walk.

During a day of exploring, look out for picnic sites and restaurants – be sure to have a look at the park map and plan your journey.

Visit the South Africa’s only lake district at Lake Chrissie

Lake Chrissie is South Africa’s largest natural freshwater lake, reaching 9km in length and 3km in width. The giant lake also forms part of a wetlands system, and is located at the heart of almost 300 other lakes, all within a small area of 20km.

The area is famed for its birdlife, many of which are rare or endangered. It’s best to visit during summer or spring, when the rains fill up the pans, lush green grasslands spring up, and birdlife is abundant.

The Lake Chrissie region is also known as Matotoland, derived from the Swazi word for frog. Thirteen frog species have been recorded in the area. Every year, the village of Chrissiesmeer hosts a frog night to encourage frog conservation and to see if more species can be added to the tally.

Stay a few nights in one of the multiple guest houses and explore the romantic and beautiful lake district of South Africa.

Getting around

Mpumalanga is a short drive from Johannesburg or Lanseria. Mango has partnered with a number of car-hire services to make travelling easier and more affordable for guests. If you’re flying in to a destination with Mango and need a set of wheels to get around, be sure to update your booking online and add this service.

Learn more about our partners here

Get our newsletter