Literally meaning “the place where the sun rises”, Mpumalanga deserves its nickname of “Paradise Country”. Mpumalanga is situated in the eastern region of South Africa, north of KwaZulu-Natal. The province is divided into the mountainous Highveld (with its cooler climate and many forests) and the Lowveld (subtropical and bushveld climate).
Mpumalanga is a province with magnificent scenery and diverse fauna and flora. It is home to a large number of nature reserves, including the Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park (comprising the Kruger National Park, the Limpopo National Park and the Gonarezhou National Park), the Blyderivierspoort Nature Reserve and the Sabi-Sand Game Reserve (which includes a number of smaller private reserves).
The Blyde River Canyon is the third largest canyon in the world and it is here where you can find the Three Rondavels (three giant rock formations shaped like rondavels). This area of Mpumalanga also boasts the Bourke’s Luck Potholes and God’s Window, where you can gaze at the Lowveld more than 900 m below. The Echo Caves are among the oldest caves in the world, and owe their name to the local inhabitants, who used to thump the stalactites to warn the surrounding tribes of approaching Swazi warriors.
Mpumalanga had its own gold rush in years gone by, and the tiny village of Pilgrim’s Rest with its quaint buildings of corrugate iron has been preserved to give you a good idea of life in the 19th century. Barberton, near the border with Swaziland, is another town where you can still see relics from the gold rush era.
The south eastern region of Mpumalanga is a bird-watcher’s paradise. The Abel Erasmus Pass gives you the opportunity to see one of the rarest birds in the world – the Taita Falcon. Until 1990 it wasn’t known that these birds could be found in South Africa!