Blyde River Canyon, Mpumalanga © Claudirene
Mpumalanga, meaning 'land of the rising sun', is a province rich in wildlife, culture, pioneer history, and natural beauty. Situated in the east of the country, north of KwaZulu-Natal, it borders Swaziland and Mozambique and encompasses the southern section of the world-renowned Kruger National Park.

Mpumalanga is 'Big Game Country', and the Lowveld is the setting for dozens of private game reserves and luxury lodges that abound in bird and animal life. Nelspruit is the capital and gateway to the province, situated two hundred miles (325km) east of Johannesburg, and is South Africa's fastest growing city with a vibrant CBD.

Although not much of a tourist attraction in itself, Nelspruit is situated in the heart of a region rich in natural attractions, which makes it a favourite jumping off point for exploring the Lowveld area. The city's train station and airport welcome travellers several times a day, most of whom are en route to the Kruger National Park, whose southern Malelane Gate is about 40 miles (63km) from Nelspruit.

It is not only those interested in safaris that come to Mpumalanga, however. Besides wonderful opportunities for bird watching and game viewing, the area is also scenically beautiful, with its mountains, valleys, waterfalls, canyons, and panoramic passes spread across the region.

Mpumalanga's lack of development means more space for its natural finery, which is particularly evident along the scenic meander known as the Panorama Route that takes in spectacular sights along the eastern slopes of the escarpment.


Blyde River Canyon, South Africa © Paul Tosio

Blyde River Canyon

The spectacular vista of the Blyde River Canyon, with its sheer cliffs dropping into a bush-covered valley, is part of the scenically breath-taking Panorama Route, worth doing as a self-drive trip from Nelspruit, or on a bus tour. Other sights on the route include...  see full details

Lowveld National Botanical Garden, Nelspruit © Wernermeiringvdm

Lowveld National Botanical Garden

Covering 393 acres (159 hectares) on the banks of the Crocodile River at Nelspruit, the Lowveld National Botanical Garden has the largest collection of cycads in the world and the biggest assortment of indigenous trees in South Africa, totalling 650 of the 1,000 known...  see full details

Pilgrim's Rest, South Africa © Olivier.karin

Pilgrim's Rest

Had it not been for its picturesque setting, Pilgrim's Rest would probably be a ghost town. It is, however, a popular tourist destination, existing today for little other purpose than to entertain and inform visitors about its colourful heyday. It all began in 1873,...  see full details