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© SA Tourism© SA TourismWith much of the Kruger National Park in this province and many private reserves, Mpumalanga is the safari capital of South Africa, but there is much more to this very popular destination than baobabs and big game. In fact, it’s a bit schizophrenic, divided as it is into the hot, dry, game-filled Lowveld and the cooler Drakensberg Mountains.

There is so much to do. Keen climbers can climb a different bolted route every day for almost a year at the iconic Restaurant at the End of the Universe, there are gorge swings, kloofing trips, fantastic hikes, mountain bike trails and great paddling on the Sabie and Blyde Rivers.

The Lowveld is hot and humid with long grass and broad-leaved trees. And, of course, it has spectacular game. Accommodation in Kruger Park ranges from clean campsites to fabulous lodges on private concession within the park. The private reserves on its borders are, almost without exception, very, very luxurious.

The Drakensberg is higher, obviously, and also much cooler. On the opposite side of the Drakensberg to KwaZulu-Natal, it consists of rolling grassland with many wild flowers and pretty streams. Much of the area has been cultivated as pine plantations, but there are still some pockets of indigenous forest. Trout has been introduced into some dams and streams in the Dullstroom and Lydenberg areas, but some streams still harbour the more interesting indigenous yellow fish.

The town of Sabie is a popular tourist destination in its own right and also as a stop-over to and from the Kruger National Park. This whole area has a colourful history, particularly its gold rush era, when lawlessness was the order of the day and brave pioneers wandered through lion-infested bush to reach their claims. The pretty museum town of Pilgrim's Rest gives an indication of the way of life in those hard old days.

Many people visit this lovely province just to tour around and look at the magnificent scenery. A long drive taking in God's Window, Bourke's Luck Potholes in the Blyde River Canyon, the cute town of Graskop, the Three Rondawels (three almost circular mountains), the Swadini Dam and the Sudwala Caves can be done comfortably in a day. The main city is Nelspruit, which, along with the many small towns, serves the tourist industry and the many farmers who grow delicious sub-tropical products, such as bananas, citrus fruit, litchis, mangoes, avocados, macadamia nuts, pecan nuts and tea and coffee.

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