With school holidays around the corner, Kruger Lowveld Tourism has put together an exciting seven-day itinerary of the region, with plenty of wonderful places that you and your family can visit to truly explore the region.
Travel a mere 28km from Nelspruit/Mbombela to the picturesque town of Kaapschehoop. This tourist village is famous for its free-roaming feral horses, quaint eateries and inviting atmosphere. Try your hand at horse riding or perhaps enjoy a calming hike.
Head down to the historical town of Barberton, where prospectors once flocked to seek their fortune. Visit the ghost town of Eureka City, established after the discovery of gold. Try your luck at gold panning, go on a guided heritage walk or try paragliding. There are also excellent 4X4 trails through beautiful landscapes.
Alternatively, experience the Barberton Makhonjwa Geotrail which gives an insight into the origins of the Earth over three billion years ago. The self-drive trail runs for 40km, from Barberton to the Bulembu Border of Swaziland. A dozen laybys and viewpoints illustrate how the earth evolved.
The beauty and splendour of the Lowveld National Botanical Garden awaits. This is where the Crocodile and Nels rivers meet and form a breath-taking waterfall. The garden is home to one of the largest collections of South African fig trees. Also in Nelspruit/Mbombela, Jane Goodall has committed herself to the conservation of Africa’s large apes and has created a sanctuary for chimpanzees rescued from captivity. Situated just outside the city on the R40, the sanctuary is open daily for educational tours.
Have a snack or choose from unique retail stores at Casterbridge Lifestyle Centre, which is alive with a contemporary art gallery and unique restaurants. In the same vicinity is the extraordinary Bagdad Centre, which has fast become a firm Lowveld favourite with a vast selection of restaurants to choose from. If you’re lucky, you might catch the Bagdad Farmer’s Market, which is held every second weekend of the month.
Known for its banana plantations, Hazyview features panoramic views of the Kruger Lowveld and has more than its fair share of the region’s accommodation establishments. Activities range from quad biking, river rafting and ziplining to birding and golfing. Something extra… See how brave you are at the Perry’s Bridge Reptile Park or have your future told by a ‘seer’ at the Shangaan Cultural Village.
Kruger National Park
Drive 42km on the R536 from Hazyview to the park’s Paul Kruger Gate, where you will be welcomed by the dominant bust of Paul Kruger, President of the Transvaal Republic until 1900, who proclaimed the park.
Stop at Lake Panic, just off the H11, and you might have an interesting sighting. Visit the Skukuza Nursery, located 4km from Skukuza, which has over 185 plant species ranging from trees and shrubs to aloes and other succulents.
Check in at reception and top off the evening with a braai or make use of the camp’s restaurant facility.
Something extra… Enjoy an exhilarating night drive, offered by the park.
Exit the Kruger National Park through Orpen Gate, but not before stopping at Tshokwane Picnic Spot on the H1-3. From Orpen Gate, Hoedspruit lies a mere 32km away.
Hoedspruit, an Afrikaans word meaning Hat Creek, is a small tourism and agriculturally-orientated town that’s fast becoming a hub of restaurants and niche shopping and has an eclectic mix of residents – from hunters to ‘swallows’. The town has a variety of activities on offer, but is mainly famous for the Hoedspruit Endangered Species Centre, Moholoholo Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre and Kinyonga Reptile Centre.
Surrounded by the largest privately-owned conservation area in the world, Hoedspruit is one of the major agricultural contributors in the country, specialising in mango and citrus production. Community tourism and the promotion of the Shangaan and Pedi lifestyles or the opportunity to support and help impoverished communities is developing enormously and adding a fantastic and well-rounded holiday experience for those visiting or passing through the town.
This is the world’s third largest canyon, but the largest green canyon in the world.
Blyde River Canyon offers a plethora of breath-taking waterfalls and wonderful feats of nature, from the Three Rondawels, Burke’s Luck Potholes, Lowveld View and God’s Window to the Berlin Falls, Lisbon Falls, Wonder View and the Pinnacle.
It is for all of these natural attractions that the Panorama Route, on which the canyon is located, is famous!
The Blyde River Canyon is 25km in length and is, on average, around 750m deep. It has some of the deepest precipitous cliffs of any canyon on the planet and is known as one of nature’s great wonders on the continent.
It provides the perfect hiking landscape and various adventure activities.
A friendly town with a great atmosphere, Graskop is home to excellent restaurants such as the famous Harrie’s Pancakes. It is also home to the unique Berlin and Lisbon Waterfalls. The Graskop Gorge Lift Company, located in the gorge, offers a 51-metre viewing lift which transports visitors to the bottom of the gorge and into a wonderland of unspoilt forest beauty.
Brimming with historical buildings and quaint restaurants, Pilgrim’s Rest is a national monument and plays host to the World Gold Panning Championship. A ghost tour is a must and so is a visit to the cemetery and Robber’s Grave. A gem from the gold rush era, Alanglade House provides a journey back in time.
A mecca for hiking and mountain biking, this town is nestled amongst tranquil forests and is the perfect retreat. Top attractions include Lone Creek Falls, Maria Shires Falls and Mac Mac Falls. The SAFCOL Forestry Museum is dedicated to the timber industry and the gold mining which spawned it.
On the R37, 22km from Sabie on the Long Tom Pass, lies the replica of the Long Tom Cannon which marks the site where, in September 1900, two of the cannons were used for the last time in the South African War.
Further up the road is the Misty Mountain Long Tom Toboggan, the first of its kind in South Africa.
Continue your journey to Lydenburg and visit the Lydenburg Museum, where replicas of the Lydenburg Heads are kept. You can also visit the Voortrekker School and the Voortrekker Church, both are historical buildings.
Dullstroom is renowned for its abundant dams, teeming with trout. It boasts excellent restaurants and interesting pubs. This village plays host to many artists as it is a popular escape for those in the arts.
Something extra… Visit the Dullstroom Bird of Prey and Rehabilitation Centre.
For more information about Kruger Lowveld Tourism, visit www.krugerlowveld.com.