Secrets of Mpumalanga

Any visitor’s perfect weekend away

For thrill-seekers looking for some adrenaline-infused activity

We veer away from the maddening crowd and hop off the beaten track to introduce you to some well kept insider-hot-spots that remain out of the tourist spotlight.

Exploring the Geotrail

Uncover the Hidden Secrets of Life on Earth

While Mpumalanga Province is best known for its incredibly scenic Panorama Route, the lesser known Genesis Route is a 220-kilometre hidden gem in the heart of Mpumalanga’s Makhonjwa Mountain Range. It provides a figure-eight loop of the most diverse landscapes, heritage sites and spectacular scenery! But there is far more to the Genesis Route than just that, it’s a geological wonderland where you can literally uncover the secrets of life on earth.

Surrounded by ancient rock dating back some 3.5 billion years, the newly developed and most fascinating Geotrail invites visitors to explore and view the first life forms and touch their fossilised remains. To help you along, attractive and informative roadside panels and signposts have been newly erected, illustrating how the earth evolved from a lifeless, hot steaming planet, to an environment that supports life. Examine a 3.2 billion year old beach deposit, so well defined you can see tidal intervals; trace fossilized biomats in sandstone, the first signs of life on earth; see piles of volcanic pillows formed by lava extruding on an ocean floor, or volcanic hailstones preserved in dove-grey chert sediments. 

We veer away from the maddening crowd and hop off the beaten track to introduce you to some well kept insider-hot-spots that remain out of the tourist spotlight.

If you’re looking for a mellow drive through wonderful mountain scenery, this route is perfectly suited as a laid back alternative to the over utilized N4. It’s also your chance to journey into the unknown, embrace nature and delve into history from the dawn of time. There are no toilets along the way (but lots of perfectly hidden spots for when nature calls) and cell phone reception is intermittent. So, take your time and a camera, pack a picnic and be ready for an incredibly memorable experience.

Did You Know?

The rich cultural heritage of this region, with its wonderful wildlife and unique geology, has resulted in the whole area being given tentative World Heritage Status.

Chasing Waterfalls

Forget the Big Five and that magnificent canyon for a while and let’s focus on the very often overlooked, but most magnificent set of waterfalls our country has to offer. A roundtrip of about 100 kilometres along the Drakensberg escarpment boasts some breathtaking falls, one after the other! For a thrilling experience of nature, do yourself a favour and set aside two days to really appreciate this majestic cluster of cascading water!


Start in Sabie and head north on the R532 towards the clearly signposted Horseshoe, Lone Creek and Bridal Veil Falls. The unusual Horseshoe Falls, although not very high, creates an almost perfect horseshoe as it cascades down the mountainside. Take a short walk through a campsite for the most superb view.

Just a short drive away is the Lone Creek Falls, which tumble down almost 70 metres into lush ferns and forest. And just a little further you'll find the Bridal Veil Falls, where you will soon realize when faced with the delicate tracery of water and spray that wafts like a veil from the high cliffs how they got their name.

Go further north on the R532 and head for the gorgeous Mac Mac Falls, named for the Scottish miners who sought their fortune here during the 1870s gold rush. And then on to South Africa's highest waterfall – The Lisbon Falls, which crashes down 90 metres into the gorge below. Finally, it's on to the Berlin Falls, shaped like a huge white candle, which flows through a natural sluice before dropping 80 metres into a deep pool below. What a great overall experience of natural beauty.

Did You Know?

Mpumalanga is home to more waterfalls than anywhere else in southern Africa!

Ever heard of Chrissiesmeer?

Located in the central grasslands district, not many have heard of it, or are even aware of its existence! But, this small, historic village is surrounded by the largest natural body of fresh water in South Africa. It boasts over 270 freshwater lakes and pans. The shimmering waters lure 20 000 flamingo each year and is brimming with birdlife, butterflies and frogs, offering visitors one magical photo opportunity after the next! It’s certainly a special haven of tranquillity, but the enormous wetland area also lends itself to a host of other activities to experience including fishing, swimming, watersports, horse trekking, mountain biking, hiking and picnicking. 

Did You Know?

Chrissiesmeer hosts a popular annual ‘Frog Hunt’ event where thousands of visitors and residents take on the wet, soggy wetland area at night with torches and gumboots and buckets and scramble in the mud after frogs!

Small Towns, Big Adventures!

Mpumpalanga is dotted with a host of wonderful small towns; each offering its own unique blend of individual attractions. Here are three must sees!

Dullstroom - Fishing Heaven

If fishing, fresh air, cosy fires and frosty mornings appeal to you, then Dullstroom is where you want to be. South Africa’s premier fly-fishing destination, Dullstroom is an angler’s dream getaway. With still water and river fishing in abundance, rainbow and brown trout galore, anglers of all ages will be in fishing heaven! The fresh country air offers nature lovers’ the perfect excuse to explore its beauty with great hikes and mountain bike trails, picnic spots and outdoor adventures.

Sabie – Nature’s Playground

For thrill-seekers looking for some adrenaline-infused activity, Sabie – located on the river’s edge, is crammed full of outdoor adventures. From white-water rafting, caving, tubing, abseiling, kloof-jumping and quad-biking to trail running, white-water tubing and mountain biking! It also offers travellers the perfect overnight spot, packed full of great restaurants, coffee shops and guesthouses.

Kaapsehoop – A Storybook Town

Home to artists and creative souls from across the country, it’s easy to understand why they were drawn to the storybook town of Kaapsehoop. With its wild horses, ancient stone circles, bohemian café’s, artisan studios and show stopping views, it offers romance, fantasy and adventure - any visitor’s perfect weekend away.

For more on what to do, where to stay and how to get there contact Mpumalanga Tourism and Parks Agency: www.mtpa.co.za