Mpumalanga – Greater Kruger Area

Description:
The Mpumalanga Province is located in the north-east of South Africa and is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the country. Mpumalanga is a Swazi word, meaning “there where the sun rises”. This province is home to The Kruger National Park (big five country), exquisite panoramic views, mountains, rivers, caves, trout fishing and birding opportunities, eco-tourism, adventure holidays and the rich offerings of the local Ndebele and Swazi cultures.

Reasons for Visiting Mpumalanga:

  • Blyde River Canyon – The Blyde River Canyon is the third deepest canyon in the world. It ranks as one of the most spectacular sights in Africa. This great Escarpment is the kind of place where brochures and guide books run out of original adjectives to describe the fresh mountain scenery and magnificent panoramic views over cliffs rising 600m-800m from the river bed. The entire canyon extends over twenty kilometres in length.
  • Echo Caves – Situated just outside Ohrigstad are the spectacular Echo Caves. These mysterious caves were discovered in the 1920’s by the owner of the farm. After his cattle mysteriously disappeared on the farm he started looking for answers. That is when he discovered the Echo Caves.
  • God’s Window – With magnificent views, canyons, rock formations and waterfalls, God’s Window is an area of breathtaking scenic splendour. Gods Window is so called for the panoramic view of the Lowveld more than 900 m down into lush indigenous forest.
  • Kruger National Park – The largest game reserve in South Africa. Nearly 2 million hectares of land that stretch for 352 kilometres (20 000 square kilometres) from north to south along the Mozambique border, is given over to an indescribable wildlife experience.
  • Sabi Sands Game Reserve – The Sabi Sands Game Reserve is undoubtedly the most exclusive private game reserve in South Africa. The 65,000-hectare Sabi Sands Game Reserve is located on the south-western corner of the Kruger National Park.

Population in Mpumalanga:
3, 500, 000

Climate:
Mpumalanga is a province divided into two halves, the Highveld escarpment and the Lowveld plains. The west side of Mpumalanga, on the Highveld, is the extreme temperatures, hotter, drier and colder than the rest of the province. The Lowveld experiences a rainy summer season, with hot days and warm nights. Winters are dry, with warm days and chilly nights. Please remember that the lowlands of Mpumalanga are a malaria area and prophylaxis should be taken as a precaution before visiting this area.

Nelspruit Climate Chart

 J

F

M

A

M

J

J

A

S

O

N

D

127

29
19

108

29
19

90

28
18

51

27
14

15

25
10

9

23
6

10

23
6

10

25
9

26

27
12

75

27
14

115

27
17

131

28
18

Average max. and min. temperatures in °C
precipitation totals in mm

Best Time to Visit:
The northern parts of South Africa (Kruger, Gauteng, Limpopo) are best during the winter months (June to September) with wildlife and game viewing at its best. The temperatures are mild (maximum 20-23ºC), with bouts of cold conditions and, very rarely, snow. There is very little winter rainfall in the north.

Languages:
29.4% Swati
24.1% Zulu
11.6% Tsonga
10.3% Ndebele
10.2% Northern Sotho

Religion:
Christianity is the most dominant religion

Currency:
South African Rand (ZAR)

Tipping:
Tipping indicates appreciation for good service
Tipping is widely practiced in South Africa. Here is some information on South African tipping.

  • In restaurants and bars, 10% is the accepted tipping standard.
  • Parking attendants and security guards are common in parking lots and at roadside bays. They generally ask if they can watch your car while you are going about your business – if you agree, a tip of R2 and up should be offered, depending on the length of your stay.
  • In South Africa we still have the luxury of petrol attendants at gas stations to fill up our vehicle tanks, check oil, water and tyre pressure, and clean the windscreens, a tip of R2 and up should be offered.
  • The going rate for porters at airports is around R7 per piece of luggage.
  • Some of the other service providers you may want to tip are taxi drivers, tour guides and assistants in hairdressers and beauty salons. Should you need assistance in taking your purchases from supermarket to your vehicle, you may want to show your gratitude to your helper with a small monetary reward.

Social Customs:
South Africa is a very multicultural society and therefore has many different customs. Some examples:

  • Our English customs are the same as Britain because South Africa was once a British colony and was influenced greatly by them.
  • The Afrikaans customs, these were influenced by the Dutch immigrants during the late 1820’s.

The Zulu culture has many unusual customs that are different from today’s western cultures. These are some traditional Zulu customs which are still practiced in parts of Kwa-Zulu Natal.