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Need To Get Out Of Johannesburg? Welcome To Mpumalanga.


Modified: December 28, 2023

by Tybie Oviedo



Welcome to Mpumalanga, a breathtaking province in South Africa that offers a perfect escape from the hustle and bustle of Johannesburg. Nestled in the eastern part of the country, Mpumalanga is a hidden gem that boasts a diverse range of attractions and natural wonders.


Johannesburg, often referred to as the “City of Gold,” is a vibrant and bustling metropolis. While it has its own allure with its vibrant city life and cultural diversity, many people often find themselves seeking a tranquil and rejuvenating getaway.


Whether you’re a nature enthusiast, an adventure seeker, or a history buff, Mpumalanga has something to offer for everyone. This province is known for its stunning landscapes, abundant wildlife, and rich cultural heritage.


So, if you’re longing to explore the natural beauty of South Africa and immerse yourself in its rich history, it’s time to pack your bags and head to Mpumalanga!


In this article, we will take you on a virtual journey through Mpumalanga, providing you with an overview of this enchanting province and highlighting its top attractions. From wildlife safari experiences to scenic landscapes and historical sites, we will help you plan a memorable trip to Mpumalanga.


Overview of Johannesburg

Johannesburg, commonly known as Joburg or Jozi, is the largest city in South Africa and serves as the economic and cultural hub of the country. It is a dynamic city that reflects the diversity of the nation, with a rich history and vibrant urban lifestyle.


With its towering skyscrapers, bustling markets, and world-class shopping malls, Johannesburg offers a unique blend of modernity and tradition. The city is a melting pot of different cultures, with a thriving arts and music scene that showcases the creativity and talent of its residents.


While Johannesburg is known for its urban appeal, it is also surrounded by natural beauty, making it a popular gateway to explore the stunning landscapes and wildlife of South Africa. However, the fast-paced city life can sometimes become overwhelming, leading many locals and tourists to seek a reprieve in the nearby provinces.


Located just a few hours away from Johannesburg, Mpumalanga presents a serene and picturesque escape from the city’s hustle and bustle. With its tranquil surroundings and breathtaking vistas, Mpumalanga offers a stark contrast to the busy streets of Johannesburg.


So, whether you’re a resident of Johannesburg looking for a quick weekend getaway or a tourist exploring South Africa, a trip to Mpumalanga should be on your itinerary.


In the next section, we will delve into the reasons why people often seek to get out of Johannesburg and why Mpumalanga is the perfect destination for a retreat.


Why People Want to Get Out of Johannesburg

While Johannesburg has its own charm and attractions, there are several reasons why people often feel the need to escape the city and seek solace elsewhere.


First and foremost, Johannesburg is a bustling city with a fast-paced lifestyle. The constant noise, traffic congestion, and crowded streets can be overwhelming, leaving residents and visitors alike craving a quieter and more peaceful environment.


Additionally, the high level of pollution in Johannesburg can take a toll on one’s well-being. The city’s rapid urbanization has resulted in increased air pollution, which can have negative effects on both physical health and mental well-being. Many people seek cleaner air and a more natural environment to rejuvenate and recharge.


Furthermore, the city’s high crime rate is a concern for many. While Johannesburg has made significant strides in improving safety and security, certain areas still experience a higher level of crime. This can leave residents feeling on edge and searching for a safer haven.


Lastly, the lack of green spaces in the city can be a source of frustration for nature lovers. While Johannesburg has beautiful parks and botanical gardens, the limited access to vast expanses of nature can leave outdoor enthusiasts wanting more.


These factors combined contribute to the desire to get out of Johannesburg and explore nearby regions that offer a reprieve from the city’s challenges.


Fortunately, Mpumalanga provides the perfect escape for those seeking solace and tranquility. With its abundance of natural beauty, fresh air, and serene landscapes, Mpumalanga offers a stark contrast to the urban intensity of Johannesburg.


In the next section, we will delve into what makes Mpumalanga such an appealing destination for those looking to escape the city.


Welcome to Mpumalanga

Step into Mpumalanga, a province that promises to take your breath away with its stunning natural beauty and rich cultural heritage. Located in the eastern part of South Africa, Mpumalanga is often touted as the “place where the sun rises,” and for good reason.


As you enter Mpumalanga, you are greeted by a tapestry of lush green landscapes, towering mountains, cascading waterfalls, and pristine river valleys. The province is renowned for its breathtaking panoramic views and diverse ecosystems, making it a haven for nature enthusiasts.


But Mpumalanga is not just about its awe-inspiring natural wonders. The province is also steeped in history and boasts a vibrant cultural heritage. From ancient rock art sites to traditional villages, Mpumalanga offers a glimpse into the rich tapestry of South Africa’s past and present.


As you explore this captivating province, you will have the opportunity to embark on unforgettable wildlife safari experiences, witness breathtaking scenic landscapes, visit historical landmarks, and immerse yourself in the warm hospitality of the local communities.


Whether you are an adventure seeker, a wildlife enthusiast, a history buff, or simply someone looking to unwind amidst the beauty of nature, Mpumalanga has something special to offer you.


So, get ready to experience the magic of Mpumalanga as we guide you through its top attractions, accommodation options, and travel tips to make your visit truly memorable.


Location of Mpumalanga

Mpumalanga, meaning “the place where the sun rises” in the Siswati language, is a province located in the eastern part of South Africa. It is bordered by the provinces of Gauteng to the west, Limpopo to the north, and KwaZulu-Natal to the south. To the east, Mpumalanga shares its border with the Kingdom of Eswatini and Mozambique.


The province covers an area of approximately 76,495 square kilometers (29,534 square miles), making it the second-smallest province in South Africa. However, what it may lack in size, it more than compensates with its astounding natural beauty and diverse landscapes.


Within Mpumalanga, you will find an array of distinct regions that offer unique experiences. The Lowveld region, located in the eastern part of the province, is characterized by its vast savannah plains, dense forests, and abundant wildlife. The Highveld region, situated in the western part of Mpumalanga, features rolling hills, picturesque farmland, and stunning mountain ranges.


One of the most iconic landmarks in Mpumalanga is the Blyde River Canyon, which is the third-largest canyon in the world and offers breathtaking views of towering cliffs, deep valleys, and meandering rivers. The Panorama Route, a popular tourist route in the province, takes you through the heart of Mpumalanga’s natural wonders, including the stunning viewpoints of God’s Window, Bourke’s Luck Potholes, and the Three Rondavels.


Located just a few hours’ drive away from Johannesburg and Pretoria, Mpumalanga is easily accessible for both local and international travelers. The OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg serves as a major entry point, with various transportation options available to reach Mpumalanga, including car rentals, buses, and organized tours.


With its prime location and diverse landscapes, Mpumalanga is the ideal destination for those looking to escape the city and immerse themselves in the beauty of nature. In the next section, we will explore the climate of Mpumalanga and the best time to visit this awe-inspiring province.


Climate in Mpumalanga

The climate of Mpumalanga is characterized by its pleasant temperatures, making it an alluring destination throughout the year. The province experiences a subtropical highland climate, with varying weather patterns depending on the region and the elevation.


In the Lowveld region, which is situated at a lower altitude, the climate is generally hot and humid. Summers (from November to February) are characterized by high temperatures ranging from 25°C to 35°C (77°F to 95°F), with occasional afternoon thunderstorms providing relief from the heat. Winters (from June to August) are mild and dry, with temperatures ranging from 10°C to 25°C (50°F to 77°F). It’s important to note that temperatures can drop significantly during the night, so it’s advisable to pack some warm clothing, even in the summer.


In the Highveld region, which is located at a higher altitude, the climate is generally cooler with less humidity. Summers in the Highveld are warm and pleasant, with temperatures ranging from 20°C to 30°C (68°F to 86°F). Winters tend to be chilly, with temperatures ranging from 5°C to 20°C (41°F to 68°F), and occasional frosts are not uncommon. It’s advisable to pack some warm clothing when visiting during the winter months.


Regardless of the season, Mpumalanga receives a fair amount of rainfall throughout the year. The summer months (November to February) are the wettest, with frequent afternoon thunderstorms. The rainfall contributes to the lush greenery that blankets the province and enhances its natural beauty. The winter months (June to August) are drier, but occasional showers may occur.


When planning a trip to Mpumalanga, it’s important to consider the weather and pack accordingly. Comfortable clothing, sun protection, and sturdy footwear are essential for exploring the province’s outdoor attractions. It’s also a good idea to bring a raincoat or umbrella, especially during the summer months when rain showers can be unpredictable.


In the next section, we will take a closer look at the array of attractions that make Mpumalanga a must-visit destination for nature lovers and adventure enthusiasts.


Attractions in Mpumalanga

Mpumalanga is a treasure trove of attractions that appeal to all kinds of travelers. From wildlife safaris to awe-inspiring natural wonders, the province offers a plethora of experiences that will leave you awe-struck and wanting more.

Wildlife Safari Experiences

One of the main draws of Mpumalanga is its abundance of wildlife. The province is home to several world-renowned game reserves and national parks, offering incredible opportunities for wildlife sightings. The Kruger National Park, one of Africa’s largest game reserves, spans across Mpumalanga and offers an unmatched safari experience. Here, you can spot the Big Five (lion, leopard, elephant, rhino, and buffalo) along with a variety of other fascinating animals and bird species.

Scenic Landscapes and Natural Wonders

Mpumalanga is renowned for its breathtaking landscapes and natural wonders. The Panorama Route, a scenic drive that winds through Mpumalanga’s highlands, showcases some of the most awe-inspiring vistas in South Africa. From the panoramic views at God’s Window to the unique geological formations of Bourke’s Luck Potholes, the route is a feast for the eyes.


In addition, the Blyde River Canyon, the third-largest canyon in the world, offers mesmerizing views of steep cliffs, deep valleys, and sparkling waterfalls. The array of hiking trails and viewpoints allow you to fully appreciate the grandeur of this natural wonder.

Historical and Cultural Sites

Mpumalanga also has a rich history and cultural heritage that is worth exploring. The Songimvelo Game Reserve is home to the ancient rock art of the San people, providing a glimpse into the region’s past. The Sudwala Caves, with their stunning formations and archaeological discoveries, offer an intriguing journey into the depths of the Earth’s ancient history.


Add to that the traditional villages and cultural experiences that showcase the Zulu, Swazi, and Ndebele cultures, and you have a well-rounded immersion into the diverse heritage of South Africa.


From thrilling wildlife encounters to breathtaking scenery and immersive cultural experiences, Mpumalanga has it all. The province is a testament to South Africa’s natural beauty and cultural richness, making it a must-visit destination for any traveler.


Next, we will explore the accommodation options available in Mpumalanga, ensuring that you have the perfect place to rest and rejuvenate after a day of exploration.


Wildlife Safari Experiences

One of the highlights of visiting Mpumalanga is the incredible wildlife safari experiences it offers. The province is home to world-renowned game reserves and national parks, providing ample opportunities to witness the iconic Big Five and a wide array of other fascinating animals and bird species.


The crown jewel of wildlife encounters in Mpumalanga is undoubtedly the Kruger National Park. Covering an immense area, this world-famous game reserve offers a truly authentic safari experience. Embark on thrilling game drives or guided walking safaris and let expert rangers lead you through the bushveld, ensuring you have the best chance to spot lions, leopards, elephants, rhinos, and buffalos – the Big Five that every wildlife enthusiast dreams of seeing.


Aside from the Big Five, Kruger National Park is home to over 145 mammal species, including giraffes, zebras, hyenas, cheetahs, and hippopotamuses. The park is also a birdwatcher’s paradise, with more than 500 bird species, including the mighty African fish eagle and the striking lilac-breasted roller.


For a more exclusive and intimate safari experience, there are private game reserves and concessions within Mpumalanga. These reserves offer luxury accommodations and exclusive game viewing opportunities, often with specialized guides who provide in-depth knowledge about the wildlife and ecosystems.


Some of the popular private reserves include Sabi Sands, Timbavati, and Manyeleti Game Reserves. These reserves have their own traversing areas within the Greater Kruger National Park, ensuring a pristine and secluded wilderness experience.


Whether you opt for a self-drive adventure in Kruger National Park or choose a guided safari in a private reserve, the wildlife encounters in Mpumalanga are truly awe-inspiring. Be prepared to be mesmerized by the sights and sounds of the African bush as you witness wildlife in their natural habitat, creating unforgettable memories.


It’s important to remember that wildlife safaris should always be conducted in an ethical and responsible manner. Respect the animals and their surroundings, adhere to the instructions of your guides, and observe the wildlife from a safe and respectful distance. By doing so, you can ensure a sustainable and enjoyable safari experience for everyone.


Next, we will delve into the scenic landscapes and natural wonders that await you in Mpumalanga.


Scenic Landscapes and Natural Wonders

Mpumalanga is renowned for its jaw-dropping beauty, featuring a variety of scenic landscapes and natural wonders that will leave you in awe. From towering mountains to cascading waterfalls, the province is a dreamscape for nature enthusiasts and photography aficionados alike.


One of the most iconic natural wonders in Mpumalanga is the Blyde River Canyon. As the third-largest canyon in the world, it offers breathtaking views of steep cliffs, deep valleys, and the winding Blyde River. The vantage points such as God’s Window, Wonder View, and the Three Rondavels provide panoramic vistas that stretch as far as the eye can see, creating a truly awe-inspiring experience.


Continuing along the Panorama Route, you’ll encounter the impressive geological formations known as Bourke’s Luck Potholes. These cylindrical rock sculptures, formed by centuries of swirling whirlpools, create a unique and captivating sight. The contrasting colors of the rocks, the flowing water, and the lush vegetation make it a photographer’s paradise.


If you’re in search of waterfalls, Mpumalanga boasts some of the most picturesque ones in South Africa. Mac-Mac Falls, Lone Creek Falls, and Lisbon Falls showcase the natural beauty of cascading water against a backdrop of verdant greenery.


For those seeking outdoor adventures, Mpumalanga offers an array of hiking trails and nature reserves to explore. The Marloth Nature Reserve is a popular choice, featuring scenic forest trails that lead to breathtaking viewpoints. The Mount Sheba Nature Reserve is another hidden gem, where you can embark on self-guided trails through indigenous forests towards hidden waterfalls and serene picnic spots.


To truly appreciate the natural wonders of Mpumalanga, a visit to the Kruger National Park is a must. Immersive yourself in this vast, untamed wilderness and witness the remarkable diversity of wildlife against the backdrop of the rugged African landscapes. The park’s expansive savannahs, mighty rivers, and dense woodlands provide the ideal habitat for countless species, adding to the allure of this incredible destination.


Whether it’s the grandeur of the Blyde River Canyon, the enchantment of the waterfalls, or the serenity of the nature reserves, Mpumalanga’s scenic landscapes and natural wonders are sure to leave you captivated and longing for more.


Next, we will explore the historical and cultural sites that add yet another layer of intrigue to this remarkable province.


Historical and Cultural Sites

Mpumalanga is not only a province of stunning landscapes but also steeped in history and rich cultural heritage. From ancient rock art sites to traditional villages, the province offers a glimpse into the diverse tapestry of South Africa’s past and present.


One of the notable historical sites in Mpumalanga is the Songimvelo Game Reserve. Here, you can discover the ancient rock art created by the San people, also known as Bushmen, who inhabited the region thousands of years ago. These captivating rock paintings provide insight into their spiritual beliefs, lifestyle, and the wildlife that once thrived in the area.


For a deeper exploration of the region’s history, a visit to the town of Barberton is a must. Known for its gold mining heritage, Barberton offers a glimpse into the early days of the gold rush in South Africa. Explore the fascinating museums and heritage sites that recount the stories of those who flocked to Barberton in search of fortune.


Another cultural gem in Mpumalanga is the Shangana Cultural Village. Here, you can immerse yourself in the traditions and customs of the local Tsonga culture. Take part in a guided tour, witness traditional dancing and music performances, and visit the village’s craft market to acquire authentic handmade souvenirs.


The province is also home to the Botshabelo Historical Village, a living museum that showcases the history and heritage of the Ndebele people. Experience the vibrant Ndebele culture, marvel at the intricately painted houses, and learn about their artistic traditions and way of life.


To further expand your cultural exploration, a visit to the Matsamo Cultural Village is highly recommended. This interactive village invites visitors to experience Swazi traditions and customs through guided tours, traditional song and dance performances, and the opportunity to try your hand at traditional activities such as grinding maize or throwing a spear.


By exploring these historical and cultural sites, you’ll gain a deeper understanding of the diverse heritage that makes up the fabric of Mpumalanga and South Africa. The province’s rich tapestry of history and culture adds another layer of intrigue and makes it a truly remarkable destination to explore.


With its diverse range of attractions, from wildlife safaris to stunning landscapes and cultural experiences, Mpumalanga has something for every traveler. In the next section, we will explore the various accommodation options available in the province to ensure a comfortable and memorable stay.


Accommodation Options in Mpumalanga

Mpumalanga offers a wide range of accommodation options to suit every traveler’s needs and preferences. Whether you’re seeking luxury lodges, cozy guesthouses, or camping under the stars, you’ll find the perfect place to stay and make your Mpumalanga experience unforgettable.

Safari Lodges and Game Reserves

For an immersive safari experience, Mpumalanga is home to a variety of safari lodges and private game reserves. These lodges offer luxury accommodations that blend seamlessly with the surrounding wilderness, allowing you to fully immerse yourself in the African bush. Enjoy thrilling game drives, delightful bush walks, and expert-guided safari experiences while indulging in top-notch amenities and services.

Guesthouses and Bed and Breakfasts

If you’re looking for a more intimate and personalized experience, the guesthouses and bed and breakfasts in Mpumalanga provide a comfortable and cozy stay. You’ll discover charming establishments run by friendly hosts who are eager to provide local insights and hospitality. Many of these accommodations offer well-appointed rooms, delicious breakfasts, and a warm and welcoming atmosphere.

Hotels and Resorts

If you prefer the convenience and amenities of larger establishments, Mpumalanga has a variety of hotels and resorts to choose from. These accommodations range from boutique hotels to larger resorts, offering facilities such as swimming pools, restaurants, and spa services. Whether you’re traveling for business or leisure, you’ll find comfortable and stylish options to suit your needs.

Campsites and Caravan Parks

For nature lovers and adventure enthusiasts, Mpumalanga’s campsites and caravan parks provide the opportunity to connect with the outdoors. Set up your tent or park your caravan in scenic locations, surrounded by the beauty of nature. Many of these sites offer basic amenities and facilities, allowing you to enjoy a back-to-nature experience while still having essential comforts.

Luxury Private Villas

If you’re seeking privacy, exclusivity, and a home-away-from-home experience, Mpumalanga boasts a selection of luxury private villas. These opulent properties offer spacious accommodation, private pools, personalized services, and stunning views. Ideal for families, groups, or those desiring utmost privacy, these villas provide an intimate and luxurious escape.


When planning your accommodation in Mpumalanga, it’s advisable to book in advance, especially during peak travel seasons. Consider your budget, preferred location, and desired amenities to find the perfect accommodation that will enhance your exploration of Mpumalanga’s attractions.


Now that you have an understanding of the accommodation options available, let’s move on to exploring how to get to Mpumalanga and discover the best ways to reach this enchanting province.


How to Get to Mpumalanga

Getting to Mpumalanga is relatively easy, thanks to its proximity to major transportation hubs and well-connected road networks. Whether you’re traveling domestically or internationally, there are several options to consider when planning your journey to this enchanting province.

By Air:

The most convenient way to reach Mpumalanga is by flying into one of the nearby airports. The Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport (KMIA), located just outside Nelspruit, is the main airport serving the region. It offers domestic flights from major cities in South Africa, such as Johannesburg and Cape Town.


Alternatively, you can also fly into the O.R. Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg, which is the busiest airport in South Africa. From there, you can catch a connecting domestic flight to Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport or proceed with a road transfer to Mpumalanga.

By Road:

If you prefer to embark on a road trip, Mpumalanga is easily accessible by car. From Johannesburg, the most popular route is to take the N4 highway, which will lead you directly to Mpumalanga’s main gateway, Nelspruit. The drive typically takes approximately three to four hours, depending on traffic and road conditions.


If you’re traveling from other parts of South Africa, the road network provides easy access to Mpumalanga. Consider using GPS navigation systems or reliable maps to guide you, and be sure to have an updated road map to navigate the various routes and attractions within the province.

By Bus:

If you prefer not to drive, bus services are available to transport you to Mpumalanga from major cities in South Africa. Several reputable bus companies operate regular services to and from popular destinations within the province. These buses provide a comfortable and affordable option for travelers, with various departure points and schedules to choose from.


It’s worth noting that organized tours are also a popular choice for visiting Mpumalanga, especially for international travelers. These tours often include transport, accommodation, and guided activities, providing a hassle-free way to explore the province and its attractions.


Regardless of how you choose to get to Mpumalanga, it is advisable to plan your transportation in advance, especially during peak travel seasons. Ensure your preferred method aligns with your travel needs and budget, allowing you to embark on your Mpumalanga adventure with ease.


With your transportation sorted, you’re now ready to immerse yourself in the natural beauty, wildlife, and cultural heritage that Mpumalanga has to offer. In the concluding section, we will summarize the highlights of the province and inspire you to embark on a memorable journey to Mpumalanga.



Mpumalanga, with its stunning landscapes, diverse wildlife, rich cultural heritage, and warm hospitality, offers a captivating escape from the bustling city life of Johannesburg. This enchanting province in South Africa is a haven for nature lovers, adventure enthusiasts, and history buffs alike.


From the iconic Kruger National Park and its incredible wildlife safari experiences to the breathtaking natural wonders along the Panorama Route, Mpumalanga never fails to mesmerize its visitors. The province’s historical and cultural sites, such as ancient rock art sites and vibrant cultural villages, provide a deeper understanding of South Africa’s diverse heritage.


Accommodation options in Mpumalanga cater to all preferences, whether you’re looking for luxurious safari lodges, cozy guesthouses, or the rugged charm of camping under the stars. The accessibility of Mpumalanga, with its well-connected road networks and nearby airports, makes it a convenient destination for both domestic and international travelers.


As you embark on your journey to Mpumalanga, be prepared to be enchanted by its breathtaking landscapes, encounter majestic wildlife, and immerse yourself in the rich tapestry of history and culture. Take your time to explore the hidden gems of Mpumalanga, soak up the tranquility of nature, and create everlasting memories.


Whether you’re seeking adventure, relaxation, or a cultural experience, Mpumalanga has something to offer everyone. So, pack your bags, follow the road less traveled, and discover the wonders that await you in this extraordinary province.


Welcome to Mpumalanga – a place where the sun rises, beauty abounds, and unforgettable experiences await!