Places of Interest
Not only are the Sudwala caves regarded as the oldest known caves in the world but the caves rest in Pre-cambrian dolomite rocks that are also amongst the second oldest known sedimentary rocks on Earth.
You don’t need to be an expert caver, athlete or expert at anything when you go caving at Sudwala. All you need are your legs and a sense of wonder. As you begin the one-hour Cave Tour, your guide will tell you that in these awesome caves are fossils of collenia, the first oxygen-producing plants on Earth.You’ll venture 600m into the caves and travel 150m underground. You won’t feel claustrophobic because the central chamber of the cavern complex – 70m in diameter and 37m high – is as big as a 500-seater concert hall! To this day, no-one has discovered the source of the steady stream of fresh air which keeps the chamber’s temperature at a constant 17º Celsius.
No special skills are needed for caving at the Sudwala Caves. Take the hour-long guided tour on foot into its biggest cavern and marvel at the amazing rock formations in the oldest caves in the world, or be more adventurous and occasionally take to hands and knees on the 5-hour Crystal Tour.
Blyde River Canyon
Incorporating the third largest canyon in the world and impressive lush scenery, Blyde River Canyon Reserve offers visitors a remarkable experience. This Mpumalanga Nature Reserve, South Africa is near Kruger National Park and covers 29 000 hectares stretching from the misty highlands down to the hotter and drier lowveld at the Blyde Dam.
Blyde River Canyon Reserve is situated against the Greater Drakensberg escarpment and includes natural wonders such as the Bourke’s Luck Potholes, the Three Rondavels, Pinnacle Rock and God’s Window. Many visitors to this region enjoy the visual splendour of combining the Panorama Route with exceptional game viewing in the Kruger National Park to create a spectacular itinerary in Mpumalanga.
These unique geological features are all easily accessible on tarred roads from the picturesque village of Graskop. There is ample accommodation throughout the area. Several hiking trails meander through the reserve and cater for all ages and levels of fitness. This Mpumalanga Nature Reserve in South Africa also offers a variety of adventure sports such as white water rafting and abseiling as well as quieter activities like fly-fishing.
Kruger Park is South Africa’s most exciting African safari destination. Steeped in legend and history, the iconic Kruger National Park in South Africa is waiting for you to explore its vast landscapes and spectacular African wildlife.
The largest game reserve in South Africa, the Kruger National Park is larger than Israel. Nearly 2 million hectares of land that stretch for 352 kilometres (20 000 square kilometres) from north to south along the Mozambique border, is given over to an almost indescribable wildlife experience. Certainly it ranks with the best in Africa and is the flagship of the country’s national parks – rated as the ultimate safari experience.
The Kruger National Park lies across the provinces of Mpumalanga and Limpopo in the north of South Africa, just south of Zimbabwe and west of Mozambique. It now forms part of the Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park – a peace park that links Kruger National Park with game parks in Zimbabwe and Mozambique, and fences are already coming down to allow game to freely roam in much the way it would have in the time before man’s intervention.
The Kruger Park is a self-drive destination, but presents an even more exciting experience with guided tour operators like Jackson Shuttles, with an excellent infrastructure that includes picnic sites, rest camps, waterholes and hides. The Kruger Park is a remarkable reserve offering an incredible experience of Africa at its most wild.
Exactly as they sound, the Three Rondavels are three round mountain tops with slightly pointed tops, very similar to the traditional round or oval African homesteads made with local materials called rondavels. They are sometimes also called the Three Sisters (although this confuses them with a similar threesome visible from the N1 in the Free State lower down in the country).
Once known as The chief and his three wives – the flat-topped peak represented Mapjaneng, famous for opposing invading Swazis in a memorable battle is on the right, whilst the rondavels are three of his more troublesome wives – Magabolle, Mogoladikwe and Maseroto.
The view point is spectacular. From here one looks over the canyon to the Three Rondavels on the other side of the northern edges of the Drakensberg range of mountains. An outlook that is overwhelmingly beautiful and deserves more than a moment’s respite.
The beautiful to look at formations are explained geographically as the slow erosion of underlying soft stone, leaving the exposed quartzite and shale rondavels at which we marvel. Whatever their origin, they are undoubtedly breathtaking. Together with God’s Window and Bourkes Luck Potholes, the Three Rondavels are a highlight of any trip along the third largest canyon in the world.
Bourkes Luck Potholes
Bourke’s Luck Potholes in Mpumalanga province are a series of natural geological formations that seem nearer to art than nature. Formed by centuries of water flowing through the landscape, this natural attraction is made up of inter-connected pools, interlaced with sandstone outcrops.
The potholes occur where the Treur River joins the Blyde River at the start of the Blyde River Canyon. In a continuing and centuries-old spectacle, the force of the water in these two rivers, combined with the particles of sand and rock that the rivers’ transport, wears cylindrical potholes into the sandstone bedrock.
Over time, some of these potholes merge and new ones form, creating an intricate landscape of deep depressions and outcrops of resistant rock.
Visitors can view the potholes from a number of vantage points and bridges that criss-cross some of the most beautiful formations. Not only are the shapes of the formations spectacular, but the sandstone is layered and coloured in shades of amber, taupe, ochre and brown, so depending on the soil content of the water, the river levels and the time of day, the landscape constantly changes.
These natural sculptures are named after a prospector, Tom Bourke, who hoped to find gold at this site. He was unsuccessful, but other prospectors had more luck in the area.
Mpumalanga International Airport
Nelspruit’s Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport, also known as KMIA. Kruger Airport / Nelspruit Airport, is the best looking airport in South Africa – with a thatched roof, dark stone floors and most of all the intimate feeling of a smaller airport. The international and domestic departures are right next to each other, and the airlines each have a check-in desk right next to each other. The airport is privately owned and operated by Primkop Airport Management (Pty) Ltd.
The terminal building, constructed as an African theme, is under thatch and has a total floor space of 7350 square meters. The unique aesthetics and decor of the building blend in with the surrounding bushveld, which has become a favourite landmark among passengers and visitors.
Get up close and personal with six magnificent elephants on the banks of the Sabie River.
The Elephant Whispers experience allows you to touch, exchange trunk greetings and offer tasty treats to tame and trained elephants varying in ages from nine to twenty six years. Visitors can also enjoy a thrilling elephant ride meandering down shady paths and enjoying the view.
Elephant Whispers are dedicated to securing the future of the African Elephant, and welcome people of all ages to share in the excitement of close encounters with these magnificent creatures. Experience the privilege of little Lindiwe’s compassionate nature, witness Medwa’s remarkable memory and enjoy the thrill of interacting with Tembo. The interaction with the elephant offers you the opportunity to touch the elephant, exchange trunk greetings and offer tasty treats. Experienced Elephant Handlers share their in-depth knowledge of fascinating elephant behaviour.
Your visit to Elephant Whispers ensures these six incredible mammals continue in their important role as wildlife ambassadors for their own kind.
God’s Window, situated on the Drakensberg Escarpment is one of the more popular attractions of Mpumalanga province’s Panorama Route. Known to many as Paradise country, the lush region is home to a number of magnificent natural features such as striking rock formations, beautiful waterfalls like Lone Creek, Horse Shoe and Bridal Veil, the Blyde River Canyon, spectacular endemic flora and fauna and awe inspiring views. At an altitude of almost 2,000 m above sea level, God’s Window provides visitors with excellent panoramic views over the Blyde River Canyon and the Lowveld, the distant Lebombo Mountains, and the Kruger Park. It is said that on a clear day one can see parts of the Mozambique coastline, and even the boats in Maputo Harbour.
Situated along the edge of the Blyde River Canyon Nature Reserve, attractions at God’s Window include a rain forest and interesting Aloe gardens scattered with massive weathered sandstone outcrops. A number of scenic viewing sites along the Blyde River canyon are available to visitors, and there are also a series of well laid out hiking, horse and mountain biking trails which lead through the region. From the parking area at God’s Window visitors can follow a steep footpath which leads along the edge of the escarpment to the view points at the site. It is said however, that for the best views one should hike further along a sign posted trail which meanders its way through evergreen tropical rain forest.