The mild climate, incredible wildlife and epic scenery make the Lowveld a top destination for holidaymakers and second-home owners.
Home to the world-renowned Kruger National Park, Mpumalanga’s Lowveld is considered to be one of South Africa’s top inland holiday destinations. This subtropical region with its mild climate, stretched out savannahs, woodlands and rich diversity of wildlife, including the Big Five, is a year-round attraction for holidaymakers and second-home owners from all over the country.
The Lowveld is not just about long laid-back days, late afternoon sundowners and quiet starry nights around a bushfire; it’s also a mecca for outdoor adventures, cultural and historical explorations and a host of exceptional tourism features.
Mbombela (formerly Nelspruit) guide:
Located on the Crocodile River Mpumalanga’s capital, Mbombela, is a beautiful city with subtropical vegetation, leafy hills and valleys and a host of modern amenities. Among its key tourist attractions is the Lowveld National Botanical Garden, which is home to a rare collection of plant species, a man-made rainforest and the Mafunyane Riverside Water Park at the comprehensive Riverside Mall close to the Emnotweni Casino. Mbombela also hosts the popular Innibos music festival, which attracts more than 100,000 visitors annually.
Situated in De Kaap Valley and bordered by the Makhonjwa Mountains, Barberton was established during the 1880s gold rush. It’s best known for having some of the oldest exposed rocks on earth and offers an array of hiking trails, 4x4 routes, birding routes and an abundance of wildlife. Be sure to visit the Stopforth and Belhaven House museums as well as the Barberton Museum, which superbly portrays the history of the area.
White River guide:
White River serves as the region’s farming community and produces timber, flowers, tropical fruit and vegetables. Given its proximity to the Kruger National Park and the Crocodile River Valley, White River is also a popular holiday town. Some of its special offerings include orange wine tasting at Rottcher Wineries, Tilly’s Handmade Candles and Glass, the White River History and Motor Museum, and the Casterbridge Lifestyle Centre known for its charming shops and eateries. The centre also houses the White River Art Gallery.
Besides being located about 10km from the Phabeni Gate of the Kruger National Park, the little town of Hazyview boasts a large number of private game reserves to its northeast. In addition to a thriving banana industry, tourism in and around Hazyview is flourishing. Popular activities include elephant back rides, hot-air balloon trips and helicopter flights offering spectacular views of the region, and the Perry’s Bridge Trading Post offers anything from curios, delis and restaurants, to spa treatments, a reptile park and a boutique hotel.
The forestry town of Sabie is situated on the banks of the Sabie River in the picturesque Drakensberg escarpment. The area is home to a number of breathtaking waterfalls, including the Sabie Falls, which lies under a bridge on the town’s outskirts. The town is also known for its multiple delightful restaurants and coffee shops, as well as arts and crafts establishments. The natural environment accommodates a rich diversity of plant and mammal species including the elusive black leopard.
Living in the Lowveld means being closely connected to nature
-Simon McClachlan, Resident.
Best attractions in the Lowveld:
- Sudwala Caves: formed 240 million years ago
- Jane Goodall Institute South Africa: a game reserve and animal sanctuary for rescued chimpanzees in the Umhloti Nature Reserve
- Shangana Cultural Village near Graskop: to learn about the Shangaan people's way of life
- The town of Kaapschehoop: known for its free-roaming wild horses and unique rock field formations
Things to do in the Lowveld:
- Test your nerve with a 68m free fall at The Big Swing in Graskop, or glide across the gorge on a “foefie slide” 135m above ground.
- Drive the Panorama Route, with scenic points such as God’s Window and Blyde River Canyon.
- Hike the well-known Jock of the Bushveld Trail in Graskop.
- Marvel at the geological wonder of the Bourke's Luck Potholes.
Where to stay in the Lowveld:
- Leaves Lodge and Spa (Mbombela)
- Royal Sheba Guest House (Baberton)
- Ambience Inn (White River)
- Summerfields Rose Retreat and Spa (Hazyview)
- The Woodsman Bed and Breakfast (Sabie)
Why we love Riverside Mall in Mbombela:
- Riverside Mall is the place to be when you're looking for entertainment. With more than 140 different shops to choose from, Riverside Go Kart Park, Mafunyane Riverside Water Park, The Magic Company and Movies at Emnotweni, young and old can be entertained for hours on end. Riverside Rascals is an awesome kids’ club with special offerings for kids between two and 12 years old. Free Wi-Fi is available for your first 30 minutes/50MB at the mall. Riverside Mall also has designated parking bays, conveniently close to entrances, for the disabled, moms with kids, as well as pensioners.
Find out more at: www.riversidecentre.co.za.
View the widest selection of property For Sale in Lowveld and Kruger Park on Private Property.
This article originally appeared in Neighbourhood, Sunday Times.