Parks & Wilderness Areas of Mpumalanga
Parks & Wilderness Areas of South Africa
The nature of South Africa's conserved areas varies enormously. Many are rugged wilderness areas that are the preserve of hardy mountaineers. Others, particularly those around the dams and populated areas, are easily accessible to all.
There are wonderful botanical gardens and green corridors in the big cities. Some are playgrounds or places to sit with binoculars and watch the birds and the world go by. Most boast captivating landscapes and geological formations or host unique flora or fauna. Many are devoted to preserving rock art and other examples of the country’s rich cultural heritage.
It’s the big game parks that attract the most visitors. The Kruger National Park and KwaZulu-Natal reserves are perhaps the best known of this type, but there are numerous other reserves in Mpumalanga, Limpopo, North West and Eastern Cape where you can see the Big 5.
Although game viewing is also popular in the Northern and Western Cape, the reserves in these provinces are as much about the spectacular scenery, open spaces, starry skies and extraordinary spring flower displays.
Many of the reserves are steeped in history. Historic battlefields are a feature of many of the reserves in KwaZulu-Natal. The province’s Drakensberg Mountains are a veritable outdoor gallery, home to the largest collection of bushman rock art in the world. There is also a high concentration of magnificent paintings in caves throughout the Cederberg Wilderness area. Sites like Mapungubwe National Park are as famous for their archaeological treasures as for their natural heritage. So, whaterver your interests, there is bound to be something to suite your taste.
Articles & Blogs
Place of Banditry and Hope5:09pm 26 Jun
Words and pics Leon Marshall
In the Barberton area, the Makhonjwa Mountains that straddle the border between Swaziland and South Africa give cause for deep reflection about the meaning of life. This comes to me as I walk among the ghosts of Eureka City, on a hilltop with wide views of a surrounding landscape that has also come to be called the Genesis of Life.
The mountains hold valuable clues to how life started on Earth more than three billion years ago. The fossils left by those first micro-organisms are etched into rocks where they can be seen with the naked eye. Scientists...
5 Star Luxury6:47pm 4 Jun
By Wild editor Romi Boom
It was mid-afternoon and hot as a furnace. The elephant herd was slowly moving toward us, grazing amongst the reeds of the Sabie River. There were babies everywhere, unafraid of tumbling down the river bank. We couldn't hear them, way down below us, but we had a prime lookout. We could see perfectly how the little ones would get distracted, lag behind, then run on wobbly legs to catch up with their older siblings, moms and aunts.
A wildlife spectacle, from the cool bliss of our private plunge pool. The best tickets in the house! We were at Narina Lodge...
Makhonjwa Magic7:13pm 7 Apr
Words & pics Bridget Hilton-Barber
Just south of Barberton in Mpumalanga, lies a mountain range whose ancient green rocks preserve a unique scientific record of the pre-history of the earth. Bridget Hilton-Barber headed out of town to discover the ancient magic of Makhonjwa.
When my ancestors Fred, Henry and Graham Barber discovered gold in the De Kaap Valley in 1884, they broke a bottle of gin over the reef and named the place Barber’s Camp. It later became Barberton; and while there are still those in our family who grumble about the terrible waste...
Other Interests in Kruger6:45am 9 Jan
Other interests in Kruger
Hello again. Apart from game viewing, birding or photography, there are other things which I can suggest to do and see in the Kruger Park. I personally feel that the only way to experience nature in its truest form, is by doing it on foot. Yes, by that I mean walking. It is much safer than it sounds and you will be in the capable hands of experienced and well trained field guides.
There are 7 wilderness trails throughout the park, which are three days and two nights long. The focus of these trails are to gain a holistic nature...
Luvuvhu: birding mecca re-opened2:48pm 17 Nov
Words by Mike Hawkins, Pics by Lyneve Cook and Mike Hawkins.
More than one third of the Kruger Park’s 520 plus bird species are seasonal migrants and most of these are summer visitors. So birders were thrilled that the Park managed to repair the havoc resulting from the January 2013 floods and re-open the Luvuvhu River Drive in the Pafuri area by mid-October.
The fever trees on the repaired S63 add an eerie magical dimension to the Luvuvhu...
Night Safari in the Kruger National Park11:55am 7 Sep
Travelling to the Kruger Park is something you need to plan a little in advance as the roads can get quite bad, either affected by potholes or flooding. It’s always advisable to phone the gate of the area that you are planning to visit and find out about the conditions of the roads.
Arriving at the Numbi Gate I was welcomed by some game rangers and proceeded to sign all the indemnities before entering the reserve. I watched two eagles perched in a nearby tree and right then I realised that I was in animal paradise. The sun was slowly setting on the park, and seeing its rays...
Mphongolo Wilderness Trail2:40pm 11 Dec
The Mphongolo Wilderness Trail
There are many ways to experience the Kruger National Park either on your own or with a guide. If you truly want to immerse yourself in the park’s wildest areas though, the best way is on foot. The Mphongolo Wilderness Trail is 1 of 3 multiple-day backpack trails through the park.
Accompanied by your guides, carrying your own supplies and even digging for your own water, you’ll engage all of your senses during this special wilderness experience. Increasingly immersed in your environment, you will reconnect...
A WALK IN THE LONELY WILD10:07pm 25 Jul
Kruger has a new backpack trail in the area between the Letaba low water bridge and Mingerhout dam. Kate Collins leapt at the chance to be one of the first participants on the Lonely Bull Backpack Trail. Pictures by Russel MacLaughlin.
Walking single file, my body froze as we rounded a corner and encountered a large elephant bull, mere metres away from us. The bull got as much of a fright and thundered off into the dense mopaneveld. This...