(Zulu for “the place where the sun rises”)
Mpumalanga neighbours Gauteng and Limpopo Provinces, as well as being on the coast bordering the Indian Ocean, Swaziland and Mozambique. The Mpumalanga province is divided by the Drakensburg Mountains which give a highveld to the west and bushveld to the east.
The geological features of Mpumalanga province are particularly outstanding, with some of the oldest rocks in the world found here. Made of rocks that were created in the crust of the Earth by extreme pressures and temperatures, they make up the Crocodile River Mountains, and have a rough beauty to them.
Mpumalanga – Zulu for “the place where the sun rises”
There are seven main areas that guests to the province should explore:
- Cosmos Country is to the south-west, and in this area the Big Five can be found; it also has goal and gold mines which are commercially used, and can provide a real eye-opener on where some of the things we take for granted actually come from. For beauty, the land can be compared to Namaqualand, with flowers taking over in the spring and painting the sights an amazing array of bright colours. If this sounds like your kind of thing, definitely have a look at Namaqualand!
- For historical importance, the Wild Frontier is known for discoveries of some of the oldest examples of lifeforms in the world, as well as some significantly old geology. The Mkonjwa Mountains are said to be the oldest in the world, and they tower above the land giving the horizon a dominating feel, and adding some rugged beauty to the country. With 4×4 and walking trails through the mountains to tire you out, hot springs and luxury spas can relax and refresh in the most relaxing way possible.
- The third largest canyon on Earth, God’s Window, and the largest green canyon, Blyde River Canyon, are found in the Panorama. With potholes, huge cliffs and stunning vegetation, this is one of the most beautiful provinces in the country, and it is perfect for those who love nature, and also people who have a more adventurous side. With beautiful trails and waterfalls that are stunning both in sight and for abseiling down, hot air balloons, bungee jumping, gold panning and white water rafting, there is something for everyone here. Adventurers can also look at the extreme sports in the North West Province – anything and everything from sky diving and paragliding to climbing and mountain biking.
- The Lowveld has the Sudwala Caves, which in keeping with the geology of the province are the oldest dolomite caves in the world, which are unbelievably beautiful as you explore them, whilst above ground there is a good variety of animals for game-viewing. Other attractions include botanical and butterfly gardens, as well as adrenaline fuelled activities such as 4×4 trails, microlighting and paragliding, there is plenty to see and do here.
- The Highlands are the place for nature lovers to go to, with fly-fishing, rock-climbing and wild flower displays. The only wild group of black leopard in the world are found here, and their wild canyons and ravines contrast with some quaint villages that bear the remains of the Anglo-Boer war in the shape of ruined forts and abandoned weapons.
- A more cultural side of the Mpumalanga province is seen in the west, where the Ndebele culture is strong, and villages that are brightly painted and decorated can be explored. Game viewing here is offered from boats, and watersports are popular on the lakes. For botanists, the indigenous cycad is found here, and the countryside is transformed by flowers on a regular basis.
- Finally, the grass and wetlands of Mpumalanga is the place to be for birders, as well as another historian’s paradise, with 1,000 year old San paintings, and Anglo-Boer war re-enactments. Other attractions are a frog watching festival and a star gazing festival that take place annually and are a good way to celebrate some of the natural assets of the country.
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