Mpumalanga beckons

ADVERTORIAL Where will you be going on your annual holiday this year? Thousands of South Africans end up at the same place year in, year out. If you’re one of them, you may be feeling a little jaded right now, and ready for some fresh vistas. Instead of taking the obligatory pilgrimage to the beach for the umpteenth time, why not look in another direction? If you’ve never stood at God’s Window and seen the awe-inspiring Lowveld opening up below you, if you’ve never walked the Blyde River Canyon – the deepest forested canyon in the world, if you’ve never pit your wits against a wily trout in one Mpumalanga’s many scenic dams, if you’ve never run the rapids on the Sabie or Komatie rivers, you just don’t know what you’re missing. Adventure beckons The history of Mpumalanga is riddled with its fair share of adventurers and fortune seekers. But for modern-day adventurers there’s even more to get the adrenalin pumping. Hundreds of kilometres of hiking trails allow you to get up close and personal with nature and see the region much as it was seen by the early explorers. If you're up for something a bit more on the wild side, there's always the heart-stopping leap into the Graskop Gorge, with the highest cable gorge swing on the planet. A 68-metre freefall (equivalent to an 18-storey building) will accelerate you to 160km/h in just 2.3 seconds! Then, in mere moments, you can traverse the entire width of the gorge on a super fast zip line. If you prefer a longer-lasting adrenalin rush, there are several locations for white water thrills of varying degrees of terror in Mpumalanga. Mpumalanga also boasts a wide array of 4x4 and quad bike trails for everyone from rank beginner to seasoned pro. Alternatively, climb aboard a microlight aircraft for a different point of view of the world, or experience the unique joy of floating in a hot air balloon. Paragliding, caving, and rock climbing are some of the other adventure activities that adrenalin junkies can look forward to in this magnificent part of South Africa. History and culture beckon No other area of South Africa can lay claim to the rich cultural and historical diversity of Mpumalanga. Almost every town, river and kranz is alive with history. The names that populate the history and places of Mpumalanga tell of a land of myth, legend and folklore. Barberton – scene of South Africa’s first, frenzied gold rush. It’s here where Cockney Liz plied her trade and Percy Fitzpatrick walked the dusty streets accompanied by his faithful dog, immortalised in his famous book, Jock of the Bushveld. At the Royal Hotel bar in Pilgrim’s Rest, it’s easy to imagine yourself conversing with vagabonds, financiers, diggers and prospectors from far-flung corners of the earth, and to dream of your next big gold discovery. Trek further to the south and explore the Highveld Heritage Route, which harbours secrets and mysteries of yesteryear. The Stone Age archaeological site in Bryten, the 75 000 years old Stone Circles in Waterval Boven, or the re-enactment of the Onverwacht battle all make for an adventure into history, while the colourful patterns and beadwork of the Ndebele people are a more modern artful inspiration. Scenic splendour beckons Wherever you go in Mpumalanga, you’ll be surrounded by breathtaking beauty. Rolling grass plains, deep river gorges and canyons, magnificent mountains, verdant forests and wondrous waterfalls all vie for your attention. Numerous scenic drives on good roads take you through mountain passes where every bend reveals a new vista. Long Tom Pass, so named after the famous cannon placed on its heights by the Boers during the Anglo-Boer War, Skurweberg Pass, Robber’s Pass, Nelshoogte Pass, Saddleback Pass, Schoemanskloof Pass, and many others, each offer up their own unique splendour. The wild beckons Mpumalanga is, of course, home to one of the largest game reserves in the world, the internationally renowned Kruger National Park.  You don’t have to view the excitement from the windows of your car. Adventurous souls may want to take advantage of one of the many guided walks that will get you up close and personal with some of our most impressive inhabitants. This year do something different This article features just a small sampling of the many attractions available to visitors. Mpumalanga offers accommodation to suit all budgets and tastes, ranging from rustic campsites to luxury lodges. So what do you want to do this year? Lie on the beach for a week or two, or give your family a holiday that will last a lifetime in their memories? LIVE AGAIN –  VISIT MPUMALANGA, MPUMALANGA! YOUR WORLD-CLASS TOURISM DESTINATION.  FOR MORE INFO VISIT MPUMALANGA.COM