The Kruger Lowveld region is as well known for its spectacular beauty and adventure activities as it is for the Kruger National Park and its game viewing potential. Boasting the Panorama Route and Blyde River Canyon, the Lowveld National Botanical Gardens, the Shangana Cultural Village, Chimp Eden, Hoedspruit Research and Breeding Centre, Moholoholo Rehabilitation Centre and the Geo Trail, the area abounds with things to do and you can spend days exploring this magical part of the world on a once in a life time adventure holiday.
Historical sites and villages, old wagon routes and monuments aplenty mark the lives of the characters that came to Mpumalanga seeking their fortune. Explore the home of Jock of the Bushveld, the mining towns of Pilgrim's Rest and Barberton - with Africa's first stock exchange – and learn about some of these picturesque and colourful chunks of history.
In Mpumalanga, you will find something to appeal to everyone in your party - regardless of age and fitness levels. We are happy to book all activities on your behalf but recommend that you use your own vehicle to explore the area. Private tours can be arranged on request. Please ask us to provide a quotation. Please book as far in advance as possible to avoid disappointment.
All of the places of interest listed below are within easy driving distance of umSisi House.
But don't forget that umSisi House has 10 kilometres of walking trails in the Jock of the Bushveld Conservancy to explore.
There are many scenic routes that can be enjoyed by the more adventurous seeking places 'off the beaten track' or alternatively River Wild run exciting day courses for the absolute novice or the seasoned 4x4 enthusiast. You can either take your own vehicle or use one of theirs. The course includes 4x4 instruction in the morning, lunch and practical application in the afternoon.
Contact: River Wild on 013 733 3366 / 6099 or visit www.riverwild.co.za
Abseiling adventurers are exposed to scenically beautiful areas and challenging rock faces. There are many sites in Hazyview, Blyde River Canyon, Nelspruit and Berlin Falls to choose from.
Contact: 082 463 2334 or visit www.indunaadventures.co.za
Barberton Makhonjwa Geotrail
Enjoy a journey to the beginning of time. This area of rugged mountains is perhaps the most complete portrait of the Earth approximately 3.2 - 3.5 billion years ago. A dozen attractively landscaped geological lay-bys and viewpoints have been built, illustrating spectacularly how the earth evolved from a lifeless, hot steaming planet, to having an environment that supports life. When complete this Geotrail will provide visitors of all ages with a really enjoyable and educational out-door experience, guaranteed to provide new and fascinating insights into how life on earth began.
Contact: 013 712 2880
Conquer your fear at an altitude of 1493 meters above sea level and freefall at a speed of 80 kilometres per hour on one of the world's highest gorge swings. Solo or tandem swings can be arranged. Alternatively the high-wire ('foefie slide') option offers a gentler horizontal glide 135 meters above the ground. You can also enjoy a 60 meter abseil at your own vertical pace. Drinks with a view are served chilled at the multi-tiered Edge Bar to quench your first after you've climbed up 442 steps!
Contact: Trips SA 013 7671886 / 013 767 1886
Set on a 1000 hectare game reserve, Chimpanzee Eden is a home to chimpanzees that have been misplaced from their natural habitat. The world renowned Jane Goodall Institute has made this tranquil venue their South African sanctuary and has committed itself to the rescue and care of chimpanzees in need of refuge. Being the first, and only, chimpanzee sanctuary in South Africa, this venue will be able to bring the world of chimpanzees closer to humanity through education, tourism and modern technology. Entering the reserve, a mere 15 km from the bustling city of Nelspruit, visitors can expect to be captivated by the beautiful bush surroundings with most of the natural game species roaming the reserve.
The guided Chimpanzee Tour is approximately 1 ½ hours in duration. Tours are held daily 10am, 12pm and 2pm while feeding times are at 10am and 2pm. We only recommend this tour for children over the age of 10.
Contact: 087 806 4909 or visit www.chimpeden.com
The Elephant Sanctuary provides a safe haven for elephants and offers a unique platform for guest education and interaction. All programs are guest and elephant driven, which means the most important part of the operation is to ensure happy elephants and satisfied guests. They focus on education through interaction, so you will not only learn a lot about elephants, but also get to touch, feel, feed and walk trunk-in-hand with these magnificent animals. Elephants are highly intelligent and delightful – when meeting them you will discover that each one has a different character, personality and temperament.
Contact: 013 737 6609 / 079 624 9436 or visit www.elephantsanctuary.co.za
Elephant Whispers is an Elephant Interaction and Safari Venue located on the banks of the Sabie River in Hazyview. Lindiwe, the youngest, is Elephant Whispers' much loved female. Medwa, Andile, Shamwari and Ziziphus are the 'teenagers', and Tembo, the six ton behemoth heads up the Elephant Whispers' herd.
All of our elephants were rescued from planned culling operations in local game reserves, but given a second chance, now work together with their handlers in total harmony.
Contact: 013 737 7876 or visit www.elephantwhispers.co.za
The Sabie Trout Angling Club stock 7 km of the Sabie River as well as parts of the Blyde River with rainbow and brown trout to supplement the natural breeding population of trout in these rivers. The Sabie River is arguably the best river fly-fishing venue for trout on public waters in the Mpumalanga and Limpopo provinces. Strictly fly-fishing tackle and artificial flies only.
Contact: Andrew Kanaris on 083 966 5089 or visit www.bigskyoutdoor.co.za
The first pioneers feverishly panned for alluvial gold in the rivers and streams of the region - some made fortunes, others lost their boots. Re-live the gold fever at the Diggings in Pilgrim's Rest. Purchase a ticket at the Museum in Pilgrim's for a conducted tour and then try your hand at this popular pastime that has been polished to a fine art by some or contact Sherry Godwin for a private experience.
Contact: Sherry Goodwin on 082 522 1958
A holiday in the Kruger Lowveld region isn't just about game viewing in the Kruger National Park. The Kruger Lowveld region boasts some of the finest golf courses in the southern hemisphere and many of the best golf courses in South Africa are found locally in the Kruger Lowveld region and they're not without their wildlife either. So be sure to pack your golf clubs and binoculars!
For further information on any of the courses mentioned below, please visit the comprehensive site of www.wheretogolf.co.za
White River Golf Course, White River
The White River golf course offers a great challenge to the amateur and professional golfer in a beautiful setting. It is reputed to have one of the finest opening holes in the country. The course is one not to be missed on any South African golfing holiday; it was designed by two of South Africa's greatest golfers, Gary Player and Reg Taylor. The 18 hole, 6061 meter, par 71 golf course provides you with ample opportunity to test your skills on the interesting water features that come into play at 9 of the holes.
Contact: 013 751 3781
Skukuza Golf Course, Kruger National Park
The Skukuza golf course was built in 1972 and offers a unique opportunity for golfers to play in one of the world's greatest conservation areas. The magnificent 9-hole (18 tee) course is designed for all levels of golfers and provides the visitor with a harmonious close-to-nature golfing experience.
This course is a Par 72, 5950 meters for men and 5059 meters for women. Since the course is not fenced in, 'uninvited' spectators are a common sight and include hippo, impala, warthog and baboons, giraffe and more.
Contact: 013 735 5543
Sabie River Golf Course, Hazyview
The Sabie River golf course is rated among the top 10 golf courses in South Africa. Water is a big factor here and is present in the form of 'hazards' on all but 4 of the 18-holes. The course was redesigned in 1992 by Peter Matkovitch and Dale Hayes and is considered to be a 'user friendly' 18-hole golf course. Hippos and crocodiles are permanent residents in the course's main dam. The course is Par 74, 5990 meters for men and 5059 meters for women, and is fairly hilly but very scenic.
Contact: 013 737 7311
Nelspruit Golf Course, Nelspruit
The Nelspruit golf course is the busiest in the region. There are no fairway bunkers here but this is compensated for by the strategic positioning of trees. The course is Par 71, 6074 meters for men and 5234 meters for women.
Contact: 013 744 0958
Helicopter Flight over the Blyde River Canyon
This is an exhilarating one-hour flight that swoops over deep and mysterious gorges, through lush valleys bursting with vegetation and colour. The Jetranger will linger above roaring rivers and cascading waterfalls giving you time for spectacular photographic opportunities. A two-hour flight with a gourmet picnic is another wonderful option. At umSisi House, we have our own bush helipad, so there is no need to transfer to Hazyview.
Contact: umSisi House for information
Opening hours: This is a one or two hour flight by appointment only
Hoedspruit Endangered Species Centre
The centre conducts unique research on endangered species such as cheetah (including the king cheetah), African wild dogs and lion. Tours of the Centre start with an informative video presentation where interesting background information on the animals, the research being conducted and the progress of the project is presented. An experienced guide will then accompany you on a tour of the centre where the highlights will include the viewing of more than 60 hand-reared cheetahs, the vulture restaurant, wild dogs and the rare Barbary lion. A walk with Jabulani the elephant is also an optional extra. After the tour you can enjoy a light meal and refreshments in the tea garden or visit the curio shop.
Contact: 015 793 1633 or visit www.hesc.co.za
Horse Back Trails
Kaapsehoop Horse Trails wind through the Berlin Forest above the quaint gold mining village of Kaapsehoop. Overnight rides are also available. Kaapsche Hoop (as more correctly spelt in High Dutch) is set out between large natural clearings in the rock fields near the top of the escarpment overlooking the lush De Kaap Valley situated some 800 meters below with distant views towards Barberton and Nelspruit. A pub lunch afterwards is highly recommended.
Contact: 013 734 4995 / 082 774 5826 or visit www.horsebacktrails.co.za
Situated just outside of Hazyview, and considerably closer to umSisi House than Kaapsehoop, is the Sandford Conservancy where outrides of between 1 and 2 hours are on offer to both beginners and the more adventurous horse rider. The outrides traverse scenic valleys and woodland forests throughout the conservancy. Moonlight rides, sundowner rides and picnic rides are also on offer. Enjoy the thrill of riding well-trained, home-bred polo ponies.
Contact: 013 737 7876 or visit www.horsewhispers.co.za
Lowveld Botanical Gardens
Located in Nelspruit this beautiful 159 hectare garden dominated by rugged, rocky river scenery is home to over 600 naturally occurring plant species and a further 2000 that have been introduced to the garden. There is also a charming tea garden.
Contact: 013 752 5531
Moholoholo Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre
The Moholoholo Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre is a haven for the rehabilitation and care of sick and injured animals and birds. Wildlife is brought to the centre from all corners of South Africa, and once healthy enough are re-introduced into their natural environment. There are, however, some species which have been rehabilitated but due to the long-term effect of their injuries stand no chance of survival in the wild. These animals and birds are kept on the premises and used in educational tours. The centre is open to the public twice daily Monday to Saturday. Sunday tours are only held at 15h00, over long weekends or during the school holidays. The tours start at 09h30 and 15h00 and last approximately 2 hours. There is also a tea garden at the centre.
Contact: 015 795 5236 or visit www.moholoholo.co.za
Enjoy a tandem flight over the beautiful Schagen valley from Mount Carmel with the Lowveld Slope Soaring Club (LSSC).
Contact: Anton on 083 462 1616
Perry's Bridge Reptile Park
Perry's Bridge Reptile Park is dedicated to the conservation of reptiles. The enclosures are designed to mimic the animal’s natural environment, providing a more enjoyable lifestyle for the animals and a providing greater viewing pleasure for our visitors. Children will also love to meet the three potbellied pigs (PumPum, Peaches and Pumpkin), their goat friends (Daisy and Gandalf), the peacocks (Letitia and Lancelot), as well as a variety of ducks and geese. The gardens are a bird haven attracting many of the local species. Daily demonstrations are held at 11am and 3pm while crocodile feeding happens Sundays at 2pm. Open from 10am until 5pm all week.
Contact: 013 737 7680 or visit www.snakes-uncovered.com
Participate in a guided eco-safari and enjoy the challenge and fun of riding 300cc or 400cc quads on guided bush, farm and forest trails. Most of the trails are situated on the eastern escarpment of Mpumalanga.
Contact: 082 463 2334 or visit www.indunaadventures.co.za
Silk Farm and Weavery
South Africa's only working silk farm is situated between Hazyview and Graskop. Guided tours are offered Monday to Saturday. Visitors are invited to see the whole process from the silk worm eggs, worms, spinning of cocoons to the actual processing of the silk. A visit will prove to be a memorable experience.
Contact: 013 767 1665 or visit www.africasilks.com
Experience the freedom of gliding over one of the last remaining natural forested valleys along the Sabie River adjacent to the Kruger National Park. The aerial cable trail takes you down into the valley basin, stopping along the way on a number of elevated platforms to admire the natural vegetation, birdlife and the views of the forest floor below. Each section of the trail varies in length from 70 to 230 meters linking a total of 10 platforms, making this the longest cable trail in Africa (1,2km). The trail has been designed and built to South African civil engineering standards and all the equipment has been designed specifically for this activity and tried and tested worldwide. All groups are escorted by qualified guides.
Contact: 013 737 8374 or visit www.skywaytrails.com
The Sudwala Caves lie in the heart of the Mankele Mountains and are considered to be some of the oldest dolomite caves in the world. You can either take a guided tour through the main caves, or book to do the Crystal Tour.
Sudwala Caves on 013 733 4152 or visit www.sudwalacaves.co.za
The Crystal Tour
This is a specialised event for the more adventurously-minded. The tour involves an organised excursion under the guidance of specialist caving guides into the bowels of the earth - approximately 2000 metres are covered. The tour culminates on the outskirts of the crystal chamber with its impressive aragonite crystals. It is a once in a lifetime experience and the route is moderately difficult - meaning that it involves stretches of crawling through tunnels and watery patches. The tour lasts for approximately 5 hours and operates on the first Saturday of each month.
Contact: Sudwala Caves on 013 733 4152 or visit www.sudwalacaves.co.za
White Water Rafting
In the Lowveld you can raft on the Sabie, Blyde or Olifants Rivers. The experience is fun and exciting, and is designed not only for pure adrenaline, but also for exposure to the riverine ecology. The awesome beauty and proliferation of bird life make this an unforgettable experience. There are several operators in the area who run either day or overnight trips. Different levels of experience are required for the different options.
Contact: 082 463 2334 or visit www.indunaadventures.co.za