Mpumalanga - which means 'place where the sun rises’- is one of South Africa’s tourism hotspots, loved by both local and international visitors for its beauty and diversity.

This province is home to The Kruger National Park (‘big five’ country), exquisite panoramic views, mountains, rivers, trout fishing and birding opportunities, eco-tourism, adventure holidays and the rich offerings of the local Ndebele and Swazi cultures.

Mpumalanga is bordered by Mozambique and Swaziland in the east, and Gauteng in the west. It is situated mainly on the high plateau grasslands of the Middleveld, which roll eastwards for hundreds of kilometres.

In the northeast, the land rises towards mountain peaks and then terminates in an immense escarpment. In some places, this escarpment plunges hundreds of metres down to the low-lying area known as the Lowveld.

Even though it is one of the smaller provinces (79 490 km2 in surface area), Mpumalanga is home to some three million people.

Mpumalanga is a summer rainfall area with hot summers, especially in the Lowveld regions. The weather is relatively mild in winter, although it can become very cold in the Highveld areas.

  The Kruger National Park (Southern)

One of the major tourist attractions of the country, the Kruger National Park is among South Africa’s finest assets. Well-equipped to offer big five safaris, the park includes a large number of accommodation options, ranging from five star lodges to affordable rest camps.

This famous park boasts over 140 species of mammals and over 500 species of birds, not to mention a wide variety of amphibians, reptiles,flora and fauna.

Kruger’s historic Southern Region is bordered by the Crocodile River in the south and the Sabie River in the north. Much of the area is characterised by open savannah dotted with red bushwillow, jackal-berry and acacia trees.

A number of private camps and lodges are on offer in the areas surrounding the Kruger National Park. The Sabi Sands area is renowned for being home to some of the best African game lodges in the world, bar none. These lodges are known worldwide for their exclusivity and top-of-the-range accommodation.

  Pilgrim's Rest

The little town of Pilgrim’s Rest offers a step backwards into South Africa’s history, complete with themed-museums, restored buildings… and the notorious Victorian-inspired Royal Hotel. The area is a favourite for overseas and local visitors and is well-equipped to handle all of the attention with a good offering of restaurants, bars and reasonably priced accommodation available.

Pilgrim's Rest is situated on the magnificent Panorama Route of Mpumalanga. The whole village was declared a National Monument in 1986, and today is a living monument to the feverish gold rush days of the late 1800’s.

The attractions of Pilgrim’s Rest are not limited to gold. You can explore the surrounding area in a 4x4; or try a variety of outdoor activities including fly fishing, golfing, horse riding, overnight hiking and hot air ballooning.

But only the bravest will head out to Graskop and experience the adrenaline rush of the world's highest cable gorge swing with a 68 metre (18 storey building) freefall. That’s 0-160km/h in 2,3 seconds. Or fly across the 80 metre high gorge on the High Wire slide. Both are located at Panorama Gorge in Graskop, about 15kms from Pilgrim’s.

Photographs and information © South African Tourism