Hotels in and around the Mpumalanga province
Mpumalanga is situated on the eastern side of South Africa, and surrounded by KwaZulu-Natal, Limpopo, Gauteng, the Free State, Mozambique and Swaziland. Mpumalanga is home to sections of the Drakensberg Mountain Range and the Kruger National Park. It is divided (almost in equal portions) into Lowveld and Highveld, giving it a rich and varied fauna and flora unique to this area. This also allows for the optimal cultivation of an array of products, including sorghum, sugarcane, tea, coffee, tobacco, sunflowers, nuts and tropical fruits.
This fertile area is a top tourist destination in South Africa, and entices visitors from all over the country and world every year. Its primary appeal lies in its stunning beauty and unmatched natural value. Being so mountainous, many fossilised remains of an ancient man and his implements have been found in various areas of this province, implying its rich historical value in addition to its natural allure.
As with much of Africa, Mpumalanga was once occupied by the ancient tribes that lived as hunter-gatherers throughout the continent. This is testified to by the many rock paintings on cliff faces and in caves, as well as by the fossilised remains of these age-old cultures. However, when Europeans discovered South Africa, its arable land and convenient locale (in terms of trading routes), they soon occupied much of the area that rightfully belonged to the indigenous tribes. They drove these ones out of their homelands or slaughtered them en masse.
When gold was discovered in the Johannesburg area in 1886, Mpumalanga also experienced this gold rush. Foreigners streamed in from all corners of the earth in an effort to reap their rewards in the form of this precious metal. Industries formed around the areas in which gold could be found, giving rise to many of today’s bustling metropolises.
The name of Mpumalanga was changed from the old Eastern Transvaal late in the 20th Century, and means “place where the sun rises”.
The capital of Mpumalanga, Nelspruit, is about 360km from Johannesburg; South Africa’s commercial and cultural centre, and home to the OR Tambo International Airport. It is less than 1800km from Cape Town in the Western Cape, which has earned its reputation as being the tourist Mecca of South Africa, and about 1375 km from Port Elizabeth’s beautiful beaches.
The roads in and around Mpumalanga are well developed and directions indicated efficiently.
Professional cabs and taxis are available, and tourists are urged to contact reputable services to organise these. Do not make use of the minibus taxis as they are frequently unroadworthy and are inconvenient if you are not familiar with the local customs and languages.
Mpumalanga is probably best known for its portion of the Drakensberg Mountain Range and the Kruger National Park. These are both hotspots that are recognised all over the world for their tourist appeal. These attractions are both rich in their fauna and flora, and ensure a once-in-a-lifetime experience of wildest Africa.
The Sudwala Caves are believed to date back to a period when the continents had not yet split from one another, and one super-continent was all that existed. This was called Gondwana. The caves are dated at about 240 million years old and are set in Precambrian dolomite. Interestingly, these caves have always been used for some purpose. Initially, they were used as shelter by the local African tribes, and then as a refuge by the fleeing son of the King of Swaziland. During the 20th Century Boer War II, the Dutch farmers (known as Boere) stored their ammunition in these caves. The caves were opened as a tourist attraction in the 1960’s and have proved popular amongst young and old, locals and visitors over the decades.
Hazyview is a fantastic destination that offers one-on-one interaction with the 12 beautiful African Elephants on the farm. Visitors are encouraged to feed, touch, walk with and ride on the backs of these majestic beasts as they learn about their anatomy, behaviour and life cycle.
Mpumalanga is a great site for the adventurous and energetic traveller. Helicopter flights, bungee jumping, abseiling, mountain climbing, hiking and off-roading are all on offer in this vibrant tourist hotspot.
Because Mpumalanga is made up of both Highveld and Lowveld, it receives distinctly different weather patterns. The Lowveld is subtropical; warm and humid. The Highveld is considerably cooler. Rain is mostly in summer, in the form of afternoon thundershowers. This is true of both areas. The high-latitude areas are often struck by frost, while those on the Lowveld hardly, if ever, experience such precipitation. Summer is between December and March and winter from June to August. The average summer high on the Lowveld is about 29 degrees Celsius and 23 degrees on the Highveld. Winter temperatures average in at about 23 degrees and 15 degrees respectively.
Mpumalanga is one of South Africa’s few malaria areas, although the rate of incidence is very low. Visitors should consult with a travel doctor about a course of anti-malarial prophylaxes before and during their stay in this province. In addition, treat clothes, bedding and skin with a repellent specific to these mosquitoes, sleep under a net and wear clothing that covers exposed areas, especially at night.
HIV/AIDS is prevalent in South Africa. Tourists should be aware of the dangers and take the necessary precautions. Do not engage in unprotected sex and do not assist any person that is bleeding unless you are equipped with rubber gloves and a mouth piece (if resuscitation is necessary).
It is important that visitors protect themselves and their family against the damage caused by sun exposure. In addition to a high-factor sunscreen, hat and sunglasses, light cotton clothing should cover exposed areas of the skin like the neck, arms and legs.
Do not touch or even approach any wild animal in the formal parks or the bushveld of Mpumalanga, and be aware of the possibility of snakes when you are walking, even if it is around your campsite or hotel.
When visiting the local towns and tourist attractions, do not carry large amounts of money or photographic / video equipment and do not accept help from strangers (particularly at ATM’s). If you are travelling in a group, do not stray from the main body of people. Never pick up hitchhikers.