Strong weekends in 2018 in scenic Mpumalanga


Within fairly easy driving distance of Gauteng, Mpumalanga has so much to offer the visitor that a long weekend break in the region is a must. The many diverse experiences in this relatively small part of the country make it a great place to satisfy different preferences: from wildlife safaris to adventure trails to the beauty of nature to an appreciation of the cultural life of the area. The name Mpumalanga means ‘The place where the sun rises,’ and it is definitely the place to be to watch an amazing sunrise early in the morning.

Not yet as popular with international visitors as it is likely to become, South Africans should aim to travel to the region before it becomes a top destination on these tourists’ bucket lists. So, make use of one of the long weekends coming up in March, April and May this year for a strong weekend break in this wonderful area of the country for some R&R.

The scenic beauty of the place and wonderful natural sites, makes this a destination to completely unwind. Enjoy the incredible tranquillity of nature in the area, hike along a scenic path, or just stand in awe of the natural beauty around you.

The stunning views wherever you visit make for special moments to be shared: God’s Window, the Blyde River Canyon, Three Rondavels, and other spots, offer memories that will last forever. A hike through some of the bushland and forests is likely to bring you to one of the region’s beautiful waterfalls – enjoy splashing about in the water at the Berlin Falls, the Lone Creek Falls or the Lisbon Falls.

If you are a couple or a family with a love of animals, then this is where you need to be says. Most well-known is the Kruger National Park, and there are entrances near the capital of the province, Nelspruit. Enjoy the tranquillity of the Park from the luxury of the Protea Hotel by Marriott Kruger Gate with its view of the water-hole close by. A night drive at the Park allows you to spot animals by just the eyes lighting up red in the night sky. There are numerous other animal experiences to enjoy together: elephant-back safaris in the Hazyview area, or the magical wild horses of Kaapsehoop near Nelspruit.

As for experiences, a long weekend won’t be enough time to do half of what’s available. A big focus for your favoured activities is likely to be the Blyde River Canyon, the 3rd largest canyon on earth and the largest green canyon. If you really want to go all out, take a helicopter ride over the Canyon with its incredible views and breath-taking scenery. You can also appreciate the Canyon from lower levels on a boat cruise.

If you have a passion for unusual drinks, try out the Orange wine tasting at Rottcher Wineries in White River. While the wine may not taste similar to what you are used to, it’s certainly more than pleasant as it rolls over the tongue. Made of fermented Valencia oranges and cane sugar, this is well worth tasting. You can also do tastings of local whiskeys and of craft beers.

With fine drink comes superlative food experiences and many restaurants are set in spectacular locations. Try Walkersons in Dullstroom, known for its fireside dinners on cold nights and its vintage collection of superior wines. Traditional food and game dishes like ostrich, kudu and crocodile can be tried at Sabie’s Wild Fig Tree. Families will find plenty for both kids and adults at Koek ‘n Pan in the wild town of Kaapsehoop. Notable for intimate dinners is the Orange Restaurant in Nelspruit, which offers amazing views of the city and its lights from its location at the top of a hill.

So, head off to this fascinating and gorgeous part of South Africa – yet another of the scenic delights that the country has to offer.

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