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Formerly known as the eastern Transvaal, Mpumalanga is one of South Africa’s top tourist destinations. People are drawn to Mpumalanga by the magnificent scenery, the fauna and flora, the 1870’s gold rush legacy and the wealth of fascinating tribal legends.
Known as “paradise country”, few places in the world can match the extraordinary beauty of the Mpumalanga Lowveld and escarpment. Mountains, panoramic passes, valleys, rivers, waterfalls and forests characterize the landscape.
This is also Big Game country and the setting for dozens of sanctuaries packed with wildlife and birds. Among them, the Kruger National Park is world famous, as are several of the luxurious private reserves on its western boundary. The entire Mpumalanga area offers exceptional opportunities for bird watching, hiking, horse riding and fishing. Streams once panned for gold have become popular with eager anglers. Steeped in the history of pioneers, hunters and fortune seekers, fascinating gold rush towns abound. Barberton and Pilgrims Rest are among the most famous.
Nelspruit today is the capital of Mpumalanga, the commercial and administrative hub of the Lowveld. The streets of this large, modern town are lined with jacaranda trees and perfectly tended suburban gardens, flaunting flowering subtropical plants and shrubs. From Nelspruit, good roads lead to many of the most beautiful and interesting parts of the Lowveld, including game sanctuaries, mountains and historic towns. Curio shops and pavement stalls offer excellent hand-woven rugs, carvings, leather goods and fresh farm produce.
While Nelspruit is the province's legislative capital, Witbank is the centre of the coal mining industry, Piet Retief is a large production area for tropical fruit and sugar and Standerton is renowned for its large dairy industry. Malelane is also known for it's sugar industry while Ermelo is the highest producing district in South Africa of wool. Barberton is one of the oldest gold mining towns in South Africa.
Sabie is right at the heart of the forestry industry. The 'green gold' of Sabie and Graskop together provides a large part of South Africa's total requirement for forestry products. The forestry plantations cover vast areas and offers ideal eco tourism opportunities. Wonderful hiking trials, breathtaking waterfalls, patches of indigenous forest and a wide variety of nature reserves are all on offer to the tourist.
The Blyde River Canyon Nature Reserve is the biggest of these reserves, from where you can take in breathtaking vistas from the very aptly named God's Window. Badplaas offers mineral Springs, while Chrissiesmeer is the largest natural freshwater lake in South Africa, made famous by a huge variety of aquatic birds and also very well known for it's flamingos. At the Sudwala Caves you will be able to view the oldest dolomite caves in the world.
This beautiful corner of South Africa offers the tourist a destination with enormous potential, where they can partake in activities such as mountain biking, quad biking, microlight flights, paragliding, cultural tours and of course, some of the best game viewing opportunities on offer.
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