Mpumalanga is often referred to as the ‘adventure capital’ of South Africa, and it is not hard to imagine that this paradise of lowveld, spectacular mountains, valleys, rivers, waterfalls and forests, set on the eastern borders of the country and including a portion of the Kruger National Park, serves as one of the Big 5 experiences of the world and a riveting outdoor activity experience …
Mpumalanga, bordered by Mozambique and Swaziland, is set mainly on high grasslands which appear to roll indefinitely in an easterly direction. Mountain peaks rise in the north east of the province, providing escarpment plunges into the area known as the Lowveld.
With unique formations like God’s Window, the Blyde River Canyon (South Africa’s largest vegetated canyon), Sudwala Caves, the Three Rondavels and Bourkes Luck Potholes, is it any wonder that adventure is part and parcel of any trip to this part of the country. This is the province where ballooning is regarded as ‘sedate’.
Mpumalanga Adventure – Adrenalin Junkie Activities in Mpumalanga
Paraglide off the Blyde River Canyon’s cliffs:
The dramatic escarpment of Mpumalanga, the Blyde River Canyon offers some of the best hangliding and paragliding in the country. Not only is there some pretty awesome scenery – the Three Rondawels are huge rocks that appear to simply spiral from the canyon’s wall, and the lookout point at God’s Window provides some of the most incredible views around – but strong thermals and high cloud-base mean that paragliding or hangliding here is in some of the best conditions. If this isn’t enough for you, try paragliding from Lone Tree Hill, Barberton.
Go caving in the Sudwala caves:
The Sudwala caves are the oldest known caves in the world. They lie in the Drakensberg escarpment that separates the Lowveld from the Highveld and are believed to have been formed some 3 000 million years ago.
If it’s adventure you’re after then the Crystal tour is your thing. Whilst the route is not particularly difficult, there are only a few stretches involving crawling through tunnels, which may contain water, it takes you into the very bowels of the earth and 2 000 metres into the cave.
Contact: Sudwala Caves on +27 (0)13 733-4152.
Go on a rhino walking safari:
This is a great way to see the Kruger National Park with a difference. Surprisingly, sauntering through Kruger is not as dangerous as it sounds. What it is, is a totally novel experience. The bush on the back of a 4×4 vehicle is sedate by comparison with the intimidation and surprise of the amazing bush on foot.
At all times you are accompanied by experienced, armed guides, who lead you for hours through the bush, examining not only the animals you might see, but every tree, leaf, insect and flower too. Sleeping out under the stars is simply an added bonus.
Contact: Rhino Walking Safaris on +27 (0)11 467-1881 (or see Rhino Walking Safari)
Abseil or rock climb Elands River gorge at Waterval Boven:
The cliffs and crags at Waterval Boven are voted the best destination in the country, and abseiling is one of the biggest attractions of those seeking an adrenaline high. This region is also one of the top rock climbing destinations in South Africa and where you’ll find the Restaurant at the End of the Universe. No, it isn’t somewhere you can grab a really good pancake after a really sweaty climb (although there are camping facilities here), rather the Restaurant is one of the best sport climbing areas, bolted with 349 and 100 trad or semi-bolted routes.
Contact: Roc ‘n Rope Adventures on +27 (0)13 257-0363
River rafting on the Sabie River:
This is exhilirating stuff. Negotiating white water rapids on one of the most scenic rivers near Hazyview definitely tops the list of activities. The journey takes you past indigenous forests, over various small rapids and includes numerous dosings with water. Not much chance that you’ll still be dry by the end of the trip.
Contact: Sabie River Adventures on +27 (0)13 737-8266
Find a Place to Stay
If you need to book a place to stay see accommodation in Mpumalanga – Deal Direct with the hotels and lodges, you’ll save on service fees.
More Things to Do
If none of these activities floats your boat check out our section on Things to Do in Mpumalanga. You will find lots to do including wildlife encounters, horse riding, hiking trails … and lots more to keep you busy for days on end.