Mpumalanga Region


Weather in Mpumalanga

Summer (November to March) Hot and humid especially in the Low Veld (Kruger) Temperatures reach a high of 36C and you will experience rain usually with a sharp thunderstorm late afternoon. The High Veld around Pilgrim’s Rest, Dullstroom and Ermelo tends to be a little cooler and less humidity

Autumn (April/ May) Low Veld is similar to summer but less humidity and rain. The High Veld is getting cooler with high temperatures closer to 25C

Spring (September / October) For the Low Veld the temperature highs are around 35C but the overnight lows are closer to 14C. For the High Veld, high temperatures are close to 24C but overnight lows can be close to 6C. This is a dry time of year.

Winter (June – August) For the Low Veld high temperatures are around 30C and overnight lows reach down to 6C. For the High Veld, high temperatures are around 18C but overnight temperatures can go as low as 0C. This is the dry season.

Mpumalanga Area

This Swazi name translates to ‘ The place where the sun rises’. The region stretches almost to Johannesburg and Pretoria in the west and borders Mozambique and Swaziland in the east. The southern part of the Kruger Park is incorporated in this area together with the Blyde River Canyon  and the early gold rush towns of Pilgrim’s Rest and Barberton. In parts, platinum and chromium mining remain important especially around the town of Lydenburg (Mashishing) and coal mining remains important close to the towns of Witbank and Carolina. While the roads are generally very good, close to the mining areas, heavy trucks have caused some deterioration in road conditions. There are great areas for hiking, white water rafting and the rivers near Dullstroom and known for excellent fishing.

Places to go in Mpumalanga

  • Safari This is one of the top spots in South Africa for Safaris as it includes the souther part of the Kruger Park which has a very high concentration of animals. Bear in mind that you do need to take anti malaria precautions
  • Scenery The Panorama Route  from close to Pilgrim’s Rest to the Blyde River Canyon has some of the most breathtaking scenery in South Africa
  • History Early gold rushes around Pigrim’s Rest and Barberton and late Boer War history around Long Tom Pass near Sabie
  • Towns The area is not really noted for its towns but the most important is Nelspruit and other of note include Graskop, Sabie, White River and Hazyview
  • Waterfalls & Caves The area to the south pof Pigrim’s Rest is know for its waterfalls and cave formations

Accommodation in Mpumalanga

There are some excellent places to stay including some of the finest safari lodges in South Africa and wonderful boutique hotels particularly in the White River / Sabie areas.

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Drinkwater Guest Farm

Drinkwater Guest Farm, Southern Mpumalanga

Drinkwater is a  great stopover with wonderfully friendly hosts between The Kruger region and KwaZulu-Natal

Drinkwater is the ideal stopover on a journey from the Kruger Park to KwaZulu Natal. This is approximately four-hours’ drive from the southern Kruger, Johannesburg and Cathedral Peak in the Drakensbergs and the Isandlwana Battlefield. You are assured a very friendly welcome on this working sheep farm. You will enjoy real home cooking with an excellent and inexpensive dinner – if you like good lamb this is clearly the place for you! Accommodation is in 10 comfortably appointed rooms some in the main house and others in separate buildings nearby. Although there is no pool, the grounds are wonderfully relaxing with a shady pool, exquisite plants, ducks and two black swans that are great characters.

About Drinkwater’s Location

The town of Ermelo, to the north and the area to the south is based on coal mining and power production but Drinkwater is a veritable, and welcome, oasis. Ideed, the name dates back to the Boer War when it was named for the clean springs that are found on the farm.

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Jock Safari Lodge

Jock Safari Lodge, Southern Kruger Park

A rare private safari lodge in the Kruger Park, Note that malaria precautions are required for this location

We regard this as one of the best-kept secrets of the Kruger Park. One of the original private concessions in the Kruger Park, this lodge has been extensively refurbished and is now part of the Shamwari Dubai World Group. There is an impressively equipped Wellness Centre offering extensive pampering after a hard day watching game. The main lodge has 12 suites and there is a family lodge. Each suite is beautifully appointed and very private. The bedroom is centred around a four-poster bed complete with mosquito net and a view from the bed and the bathroom of the adjacent riverbed. The outside deck extends to a private viewing deck overlooking the valley and comes complete with its own plunge pool for cooling off in the heat of the day. Each suite has its own outside shower again in complete privacy. The central facilities are excellent with pool, elevated bar and extensive dining area overlooking the valley. Evening meals are often served buffet style in the boma around a log fire to complete the atmosphere.

About the Location

Game drives are included and are guided by experienced rangers who will drive you off road in the lodge’s concession area but also into the surrounding park for a complete game watching experience. The lodge gets its name from the book written by Sir Percy Fitzpatrick chronicling his hunting adventures 120 years ago with his Jack Russell Terrier called Jock and you will see memorials to the plucky little dog all over this part of South Africa. In honour of his memory, during the cooler months, the lodge creates a tented camp complete with outside bucket showers in order to recreate the feel of exploration in the 19th century. We consider this an excellent alternative to the numerous lodges in the private reserves adjoining the Kruger Park. Please note that this is a medium risk malaria area so you should consult your physician to take appropriate anti – malaria medication.

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Jatinga, White River

Jatinga, White River

Colonial charm with 5 star luxury 

Jatinga Country Lodge is renowned for its charm, tranquillity and fine dining. The lodge, which boasts a 5-star grading from the Tourism Grading Council of South Africa, has 13 Superior rooms and four magnificent Luxury suites all of which are decorated in different styles – Victorian, Colonial, Provencal, French Country, African Colonial and English Country. Each room offers a unique experience that ensures guests will take away a special Jatinga memory. Be it the outdoor showers, set in secluded and private gardens planted with flowers and rosemary bushes, that surprise and delight guests when checking into one of the Victorian rooms, or one of the incredible solid rock – style baths that beg to be filled with bubbles found in the Provencal rooms or the quaint hand-made basins in the French Country rooms – – the rooms at Jatinga are an experience in themselves. The original 1920s homestead,  the lodge’s main building, houses the lounge area (with both the original fireplaces still intact) with a covered, colonial-style veranda running along the length of the lounge. Here guests can sit back, relax and take in the beauty and tranquillity of the magnificent gardens. The veranda has become the place to enjoy a coffee and port after dinner while the frogs and crickets compete in their nightly serenade. In the restaurant you can experience fine dining. The lush sub-tropical gardens at Jatinga have been carefully nurtured and beckon guests to wander along the emerald green lawns between masses of flowering azaleas and fragrantly scented lavender bushes. All garden paths at Jatinga eventually lead down to the river (the White River runs through the bottom of the estate) where you can enjoy wonderful views from the deck.

About the Location

Access to the Kruger National Park is 38 km away via Numbi Gate and the Lowveld’s many other historical and scenic attractions are all within easy day trips from the hotel.

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Royal Hotel, Pilgrim’s Rest

Royal Hotel, Pilgrim’s Rest

A living museum with style

This is a step back into the past. The whole of Pilgrims Rest is a living museum dating back to one of the earliest gold rushes in South Africa. The Royal Hotel has 50 bedrooms beautifully decorated in the Victorian style that harks back to its origins as a miners’ hotel. The accommodation is comfortable rather than the height of luxury and where possible some original touches have been maintained – particularly in the miners’ cottages which form part of the hotel. A feature that has changed very little over the years is the hotel bar that is a national institution reputedly with the greatest variety of scotch anywhere in South Africa.

About the Location

The entire street is a national monument and there are a number of interesting buildings in the area dating back to the 1870’s. Pilgrims Rest is close to the Panorama Route and Blyde River Canyon and there is fishing in the innumerable mountain streams nearby. The hotel has a pool and can arrange horse riding and golf. The Kruger Park is an hour’s drive away so this can be incorporated as an interesting stop over from Johannesburg.

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Notten’s Bush Camp

Notten’s Bush Camp, Sabi Sands Private Game Reserve

A firm favourite in one of the best locations for game viewing

Set within the heart of the Sabi Sand Game Reserve, Notten’s Bush Camp is an exclusively intimate retreat. The Lodge has been run by the Notten family for the past 30 years and is alive with the heart and soul of Africa. This is truly one of our and our clients’ favourite game lodges. Each of the 8 private suites is traditionally styled, spacious and cooled by ceiling fans. This very different to most of the private game lodges with the deliberate absence of electricity. Ambient candlelight and lanterns capture an enchanting spirit of romance and the African bush reminiscent of a bygone era. You will warm to the wonderful staff many of whom are from the local Shangaan people and who have been with the lodge for many years. This speaks volumes for the friendly and relaxed atmosphere of the unique lodge which has been voted one of the best game lodges in Africa. The rooms are all en suite, with mosquito netting on the windows and doors, and private viewing decks.

About the Location

The views in this peaceful setting are breathtaking and relaxation is guaranteed. Guests can also explore the regions prolific wildlife on safaris led by experienced rangers in open-top Land Rovers. Daily bush walks are available, and lazy hours at the sparkling infinity pool or a visit to the well equipped spa can fill the gaps. Notten’s prides itself in offering its guests some of the best wildlife experiences on offer in South Africa. The evocative sounds of the African night sets the perfect mood for dinning in the enchanting candlelit boma, beneath a canopy of stars. The massage deck is an ideal, peaceful setting for relaxing therapeutic treatments. Other facilities include the indoor lounge with a large fireplace, bar and wine cellar. The open-plan lounge and dining area leads onto a wooden deck overlooking a vast plain and waterhole. Our clients regard a visit to Notten’s as one of the highlights of their stays in South Africa.

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Selati Lodge, Sabi Sabi

Sabi Sabi Selati Lodge, Sabi Sands

Hark back to a bygone age of colonial exploration in the bush

This contrasts with Earth Lodge with a style that harks back to the early days of exploration in the bush. The name evokes the pioneers who built the Selati Railway line to Mozambique to service the early gold rush. The accommodation is in 8 beautifully and traditionally furnished thatched cottages. You will feel that you are in a luxurious pioneer camp. The honeymoon suite is exceptionally large with a bathroom to match! The suite also has its own private pool opening right out onto the surrounding bush. There is a central pool area with a viewing deck to enjoy a relaxing sundowner after the heat of the day in anticipation of another exiting evening game drive.

About the Location

You are well aware of being right in the bush with the sound of exotic birds breaking the unique silence of the African bush. There are two game drives a day into the surrounding Sabi Sands Reserve that is part of the Kruger Park. The reserve has some of the best game viewing in the Kruger area with frequent sightings of all the predators. When you are not seeing game, you can be pampered in Earth Lodge’s popular Wellness Centre – but be sure to book your treatment well in advance! The food and wine matches the lodge’s reputation and relaxed air as one of the top game lodges in South Africa.

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Earth Lodge, Sabi Sabi

Sabi Sabi Earth Lodge, Sabi Sands

Ecological opulence in the African Bush 

Minimalist opulence probably best describes the accommodation experience at Earth Lodge. This is also reflected in the price for staying here. The entire location has been designed to be almost obscured from the surrounding bush cleverly using a combination of natural materials in the building process. Each of the 13 suites are exceptionally private and large and although air-conditioned they feel naturally cool. The bathroom is a feature with a large bath and equally sizeable shower complimented by an extravagant private outside shower. Each room has a large living area and a tiled patio leading onto a welcome, cooling splash pool and a view of the nearby waterhole. You are well aware of being right in the bush with the sound of exotic birds and hippos grunting breaking the unique silence of the African bush.

About the Location

There are two game drives a day into the surrounding Sabi Sands Reserve that is part of the Kruger Park. The reserve has some of the best game viewing in the Kruger area with frequent sightings of all the predators. When you are not seeing game, you can be pampered in the lodge’s popular Wellness Centre – but be sure to book your treatment well in advance! The food and wine matches the lodge’s reputation as one of the top game lodges in South Africa.

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Londolozi, Sabi Sands

Ultimate luxury in the African Bush

Londolozi has the deserved reputation as being one of the best and most luxurious of all the lodges in South Africa. The property is divided into four separate ‘lodges’, each with their own character. These are Founders Camp, Pioneer Camp, Battleur Camp and Tree Camp. Game drives are into the Sabi Sands section of the Kruger Park and the game viewing is usually excellent. This is an all-inclusive lodge and you will marvel at the high level of the cuisine that can be achieved in the middle of the bush.

About the Location

Sabi Sands, on the edge of the Kruger Park is renowned as one of the best locations for animal viewing. In particular, sightings of lions and leopards as well as elephant and plains game are usually assured.

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Highgrove Country House Lodge, White River / Hazyview, Mpumalanga

A beautiful location especially when the jacaranda trees are blooming

For clients looking from an ‘away from it all’ experience in total luxury, Highgrove is definitely worth a visit. Set in its own parkland the 10 suites are beautifully decorated with the style you would expect from leading hotels. You are ensured a friendly welcome and the cuisine is regularly rated by our clients among the high points of their visit to South Africa. During springtime (October) you will also gaze in wonder at the avenue of jacaranda trees, which, although not native to South Africa, are almost as much of a floral icon as the Proteas of the Cape. The property is very popular as a wedding destination. As well as the luxurious accommodation, Highgrove is known for its fine cuisine.

About the Location

Highgrove is an excellent base from which to explore the Panorama Route including the Blyde River Canyon, Pilgrim’s Rest and it is also just a 40-minute drive to the Paul Kruger Gate for the Kruger Park. The lodge does arrange game drives into the park. The area around White River and Sabie is steeped in history and the little towns are home to many craftsmen and artists. The Lodge also has beautiful walking trails in the stunning surrounding coutryside. For those who wish to be pampered, visit the Orchard Spa.

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