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Only 20km from the Mpumalanga Province capital city and close to the Kruger National Park and many of the province’s other major attractions, White River is an excellent base from which to enjoy a holiday in this attractive part of South Africa. This serene little town lies within the fertile Crocodile River Valley in the Lowveld region where tropical fruit and vegetables are grown on a large scale and where timber plantations and natural forests dominate the horizon.
The original settlement was named after the White River that ran to its east but today, the river meanders through the suburbs.
The climate in White River lends itself to outdoor activities, with warm to hot days and clear evening skies. White River has become somewhat of an escape for city dwellers seeking a more relaxed lifestyle out in nature and modern enclosed bushveld estates are rapidly springing up around the town.
Top 8 reasons to visit White River
1. Plan a trip to the Kruger National Park and enter at the Numbi gate, 48km from White River. The park authorities offer game safaris to view the 63 animal species located in this vast reserve. An arts and crafts centre is stationed at the gate to purchase souvenirs and meet the local crafters.
2. Definitely not your average shopping centre, the stores at Casterbridge Lifestyle Centre are surrounded by greenery which makes for a super relaxing shopping excursion. For serious shoppers, the Riverside Mall in Mbombela (Nelspruit) has many more stores.
3. Spend a lazy afternoon visiting the Casterbridge Motor Museum showcasing a large private collection of vintage cars and motorcycles, all perfectly restored to their original state.
4. Get revitalised with a skincare and body wrap treatment at Pine Lake Inn’s Spa Bella Reho. The spa is open Monday to Saturday.
5. The Bagdad Farmer’s Market in the town is popular with both locals and tourists. Homemade products, artisanal breads, spreads, jams and other home bakes are quickly snapped up. Several crafters sell creative works worth taking back home.
6. Enjoy an orange wine tasting at nearby Rottcher Wineries. A German immigrant arrived here in 1916 and, unable to source grapes, bottled his unique orange wine variety! The products are shipped throughout the world.
7. An underground adventure awaits visitors to the ancient Sudwala Caves. The Crystal Tour takes 4 hours and visitors travel deep into the caves, crossing muddy underground lakes, over massive boulders and through tiny cracks. Wear old clothes.
8. Probably one of the most scenic courses in the country, the 18-hole course at the White River Country Club attracts all level of golfer. Various other sporting activities are available at the club.
The Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport in Mbombela (Nelspruit) is 10km from White River. International flights arrive via Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban. Car rental agencies are located at the airport and Mbombela, otherwise order a vehicle online. Shuttle operators and metered taxis offer transport between White River and other towns.
Did you know?
There is a small malaria risk in the Lowveld regions and it’s always best to take the necessary precautions before visiting.
Van Rooyen Orchids is a nursery in White River owned by a retired surgeon. He and his wife are international judges and their lab has produced thousands of orchid varieties that grace homes and gardens around the world.
White River was at the centre of a great deal of wartime activity during the South African War 1899-1902. For history buffs, we suggest finding out more from the town info centre or at the library.