Mpumalanga, the siSwati word for “place of the rising sun”, is aptly named. The area is split by a tall escarpment that perfectly separates the temperate Highveld from the Lowveld, which is nothing less than sweltering hot on any given day. The province, which lies just south of Limpopo, is one of the continent’s most sought after safari destinations and receives thousands of visitors each year.
Tourists flock to the Kruger National Park (and surrounding game reserves) to meet Africa’s ever-popular wildlife including rhino, elephant, lion, leopard, buffalo, cheetah, zebra, wild dog, hyena and hundreds of bird species.
National Park and beyond
With the Skukuza airport conveniently located within the Kruger National Park, tourists can fly directly in and have immediate access to a plethora of wildlife as well as rustic and 5-star accommodations.
It’s not just the Kruger National Park that attracts the many tourists arriving at Mpumalanga’s international airports in their throngs each year.
The province also plays host to one of South Africa’s most breathtaking routes; the Panorama Route. For travellers visiting Mpumalanga, the Panorama Route is a must-see. Tourists can enjoy a self-drive or guided tour stopping at a multitude of historic sites and iconic landmarks, including the Blyde River Canyon, Bourkes Luck Pot Holes, the Pinnacle, and God’s Window. A Mpumalanga safari can take you into thick bushy landscape and challenging 4×4 trails, or into quaint surrounding towns such as Graskop and arty Pilgrim’s Rest.
Whether you are looking for history, awe-inspiring geological formations, tall mountains, splashing waterfalls, interesting caves, rippling rivers, or plunging canyons, a Mpumalanga safari undoubtedly has it all to offer.
Which Airports to Fly to When Going on Safari in Mpumalanga
Travelers can enjoy all that Mpumalanga has to offer when they fly into one of the following local airports in the province:
- Skukuza airport
- Kruger International Airport (in Nelspruit)
Domestic flights from the major hubs in Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban are the more popular routes and cheap flights can always be found when you make use a comparative online booking facility such as Domestic Flights South Africa.
Top Safari Lodges & Game Reserves in Mpumalanga
With Mpumalanga being such a popular wildlife and safari destination, the area boasts a variety of top safari lodges and game reserves. All lodges in the area offer safari tours, game drives and sight-seeing opportunities to guests, which is ideal for those who aren’t interested in a self-drive safari holiday.
Below are some of the top safari lodges and game reserves (which have safari lodges within them too) that are easily accessed by the local and international airports in Mpumalanga:
- Sabi Sands Game Reserve
- Lion Sands Game Reserve
- Nottens Bush Camp
- Kaingo Private Game Reserve
- Manyeleti Game Reserve
- Nkomazi Game Reserve
- KwaMadwala Private Game Reserve
- Kruger National Park
- Idube Game Reserve
Safari Companies Operating in Mpumalanga
Of course, there are those who would prefer to book a safari or game drives with professional, registered safari guides and rangers. These services are readily available in Mpumalanga. In fact, you can find various brochures offering safari and game drive services at the local and international airport in Mpumalanga as well as Skukuza airport.
Some of the top safari companies in the area include Africa Spear Safaris, Discover Kruger Safaris, Vula Tours, African Safari Adventures, Safaria, Summit Tours and Safaris, Chasin’Africa, Bubezi Safaris, Kurt Safari, African Flame Safaris, Lagadema Safaris, and Dongeni Safaris.
What to do and See When Going on Safari in Mpumalanga
The beauty of Mpumalanga is most certainly in its vast contrasts. Travelers will travel through a dry and scorching environment in Skukuza and Hazyview, only to find a lush, green and almost oasis type of environment no more than an hour’s drive away in the small town of Sabi. Witnessing these contrasts for yourself will undoubtedly be a rewarding experience.
Regardless of which airport in Mpumalanga you land at or what safari or tour you have booked, there are a few must-see sights and viewpoints in the province. These include:
- Kruger National Park
- Blyde River Canyon Nature Reserve
- 8 popular waterfall sites: Mac Mac Falls, Berlin Falls, Lone Creek Falls, Lisbon Falls, Bridal Veil Falls, Mary Shire Falls, Horseshoe Falls, and Montrose Falls
- Long Tom Pass
- Sudwala Caves & Dinosaur Park
- Chimp Eden
- Bourkes Luck Pot Holes
- Lowveld National Botanical Gardens
- Three Rondavels
- Echo Caves
- Shangana Cultural Village
- Graskop Gorge Lift
- Elephant Sanctuary
Book Flights to Mpumalanga’s International Airport & Enjoy the Safari of a Lifetime
A Mpumalanga safari should feature on both local and foreign traveller’s bucket lists! If you’re yearning to get back to nature and experience Africa’s wildlife in its rawest form, a safari in this diverse, beautiful province will not disappoint. Use our flight search feature to find, book and securely pay for the best priced flights to Mpumalanga when planning your next (or first) African safari.