Mpumalanga translates as “land of the rising sun” or “east” in siSwati and isiZulu, a nod to its position on South Africa’s east coast. The name is as apt as it is beautiful. Mpumalanga borders eSwatini (previously Swaziland) and Mozambique, as well as Gauteng, Free State, Limpopo and KwaZulu-Natal.
Mpumalanga may be small, but it packs a big punch. It’s a land of contrasts, where Big Five wildlife roam the dry bushveld and mist rolls over Jurassic-Park style canyons and winding rivers.
The capital, Mbombela (previously Nelspruit) guards the southern entrance of the famous Kruger National Park and the Sabi Sands Game Reserve in the southwest of the Greater Kruger National Park. The trio of towns, Sabie, White River and Hazyview, are playgrounds for adventure.
The culture is just as vibrant and diverse as our Rainbow Nation. From colourful Ndebele villages to gold rush mining villages, travellers can immerse themselves in the diverse history of Mpumalanga.
Competing with the more well-known Western Cape and Garden Route tourist hotspots, or a convenient stop-over point for visitors making their way to the Kruger National Park from Johannesburg, Mpumalanga is worth exploring on its own. Set aside a few days (at least) and take a road trip with enough time to uncover and appreciate those many hidden gems.
The iconic Panorama Route offers unbelievable views across the Lowveld. Although many routes in South Africa could compete for the title, this might just be one of South Africa’s most beautiful self-drives.
From the world’s highest gorge swing to all manner of adventures in Sabie, Hazyview, and White River, fly fishing and whisky tasting in Dullstroom, experiences are certainly not dull here. Learn about the province’s gold rush history and why female Ndebele family members paint brightly-coloured geometric shapes onto their traditional homes.
What to do in Mpumalanga
The diverse topography of Mpumalanga is perfect for adventure. But the province is also steeped in history and culture, giving the curious traveller a wide range of fun, unique and meaningful experiences to choose from.
Where to stay in Mpumalanga
Where to eat in Mpumalanga