The Kruger National Park – one of the largest national parks in the world – is a globally recognised and beloved wildlife haven. Lying in the north-east of South Africa, this special national park falls between the eastern parts of the Limpopo and Mpumalanga provinces and covers some 2 million hectares of natural beauty and pristine nature.
The Kruger National Park is undoubtedly the perfect place to go for family holiday, memorable travel experience(s) for locals and foreigners alike – and of course, the chance to escape to the wild in sunny South Africa.
Here, we look at the best things to do near the Kruger National Park – particularly if you are travelling in and around Mpumalanga province:
#1 Go on a Wilderness Trail in the Kruger National Park
What better way to explore the beautiful Kruger National Park than through one of its KNP wilderness trails?
Conducted in Big Five areas, these incredible trails will ensure you enjoy a special wilderness experience, while also possibly seeing some of Africa’s famous Big Five.
The different wilderness trails are: Bushmans, Mathikithi, Napi, Nyalaland, Olifants, Sweni and Wolhuter respectively. Trails start either on a Wednesday to a Saturday morning or Sunday afternoon to a Wednesday morning. Trails last for three nights, two days (in between walking time).
You will depart from the designated parking lot (of the relevant rest camp), where your trail ranger will meet you.
For information on what you need to bring, how to book and more, please contact SANParks directly.
Contact: +27 (012) 428 9111, firstname.lastname@example.org
Address: (various starting points) Kruger National Park, South Africa.
#2 Go for a Hike in Sabie
Sabie (a small forestry town on the banks of the Sabie River) and its surrounds offer plenty of wonderful hiking trails. Hikers can choose from short day hikes to more gruelling, multiple-day routes.
One of the most popular hikes is the Loerie Trail. This 10-km, circular route can start off at either Ceylon Forest Station or Castle Rock Municipal Caravan Park.
It is considered an easy, level trail that takes you along the beautiful Sabie River, as well as through plantations, indigenous forests and grasslands.
Pass stunning waterfalls (like Glynis and Elna Falls), rare wildflowers and perhaps even the green Knysna Loerie, while you enjoy sweeping views of the valley and countryside.
Pack in a swimming costume, comfortable clothes and shoes and a packed lunch and you’re all set for a memorable day’s hike!
Please note: You will need a permit for this hike and may also need to pay an entrance fee. Permits and maps can be purchased from Merry Pebbles, the Lowveld Tourism Information Center, Komatiland Eco-Tourism, Mac Mac Forest Retreat or Valley View Backpackers.
Contact: +27 (013) 764 3399, email@example.com
Address: Start at either Ceylon Forest Station or from the Castle Rock Municipal Caravan Park, Sabie, Mpumalanga, South Africa.
#3 Embark on Guided Game Drive in the Kruger National Park
Another great, safer way to experience the Kruger National Park is through a guided game drive. This will allow you to enjoy seeing the Big Five, as you safely explore the park with qualified guides.
Choose from a variety of drive options, such as sunset-, morning- or night-drives. Each offers a unique perspective of the KNP.
Please note: Regrettably, for safety reasons, children under 6 are not allowed to join.
Reservations for guided game drives should be made two months in advance and can be booked via email or by contacting the park directly.
For pricing and other details, please see: www.sanparks.org/parks/kruger/tourism/activities/drives.php.
Contact: +27 (013) 735 4998, (013) 735 4030, firstname.lastname@example.org
Address: Kruger National Park, South Africa.
#4 Explore Blyde River Canyon
One of the most incredible places in South Africa is the famous Blyde River Canyon. Although it is roughly an hour-and-a-half’s drive from the Kruger National Park, it is well-worth the visit.
As the third largest canyon in the world, Blyde River Canyon is understandably one of South Africa’s most visited attractions. This beautiful green canyon offers breathtaking views and scenery and covers some 26 km in length and is around 800 metres deep.
Extending along the Blyde River Canyon, the Blyde River Canyon Reserve ensures a memorable experience, complete with natural wonders such Bourke’s Luck Potholes, the Three Rondavels, Pinnacle Rock and God’s Window.
Check the weather before visiting (and pack in sunscreen if it’s hot) but expect to enjoy a wonderful day in this spectacular place.
Contact: +27 (013) 759 5373, (013) 759 5432
Address: Blyde River Canyon, Mpumalanga, South Africa.
#5 Enjoy a Spa Treatment at AM Spa Kruger
Of course, with all this adventuring, you need to factor in some pamper time as well… Luckily, AM Spa Kruger has you covered.
This world-class spa is found in the heart of the Kruger National Park and is perfect for families, couples or individual travellers who wish to unwind in KNP.
With world-class experiences to soothe your body and mind, AM Spa Kruger offers a tranquil escape in the midst of the African bush.
The spa has four luxurious treatment rooms and can host either couples or singles.
Please note: To find a wellness package tailored to your needs, please speak to one of their therapists. You must arrive 15 minutes before your scheduled appointment; advance reservations are recommended to secure a spot.
For rates and treatment offerings, please speak to AM Spa Kruger directly.
Contact: +27 (013) 744 1069, (079) 285 7769, email@example.com
Address: AM Spa, 036 Steenbuck Street, Skukuza Rest Camp, Kruger National Park, Skukuza, Mpumalanga, South Africa.
#6 Encounter Giants at Elephant Whispers
Another wonderful attraction to visit while in and around Mpumalanga is Elephant Whispers.
Here, you can enjoy life-changing experiences, walking and interacting with African elephants – and observe first-hand how the team treats their five resident elephants with love and kindness, offering a safe haven for these mighty beasts.
This is a memorable experience for both adults and children and will help educate everyone on the importance of animal conservation and preservation.
Choose from a range of activities, as you enjoy an unforgettable time walking among giants.
Contact: +27 (013) 737 7876, (082) 498 4683, firstname.lastname@example.org
Address: Elephant Whispers, R40, Hazyview, Mpumalanga, South Africa.
#7 Visit Perry’s Bridge Reptile Park
Situated en route to the Kruger National Park, one finds the exciting Perry’s Bridge Reptile Park. With one of the country’s largest reptile collections on display, this is surely a must-visit.
With some 80 species on display, visitors can enjoy seeing a wide range of reptiles, while also enjoying shows and feeding times.
If you don’t mind paying a bit extra, you can even get a snap with a snake, tortoise or bearded dragon.
Perry’s Bridge Reptile Park is open daily – except Fridays – throughout the year from 10 am to 5 pm.
Please note: For entry fees, activity information and other rates, please contact Perry’s Bridge Reptile Park directly.
Contact: +27 (013) 737 7680
Address: Perry’s Bridge Reptile Park, Perry’s Bridge Centre, Corner R40 (Main Road) and R536 (to Sabie), Hazyview, Mpumalanga, South Africa.
#8 Enjoy a Helicopter Flight with Mpumalanga Helicopter Co.
For those who prefer to take to the skies and enjoy a bird’s eye view of things, Mpumalanga Helicopter Co. has some amazing helicopter flights just for you.
Fly over deep gorges, winding rivers, lush valleys and cascading waterfalls, as you soak up the beauty of this region in a most unique fashion.
There are a variety of different flights to choose from, each as exciting and rewarding as the next. It’s quite a pricey outing but definitely something worth saving for as a bucket list activity or special occasion, like for a proposal, birthday or wedding anniversary.
Book your flight with them to enjoy an outstanding travel experience to last a lifetime.
Please note: For pricing and flight options, please contact Mpumalanga Helicopter Co. directly.
Contact: +27 (084) 505 2052, email@example.com
Address: Mpumalanga Helicopter Company, Hippo Hollow Country Estate, R40, Hazyview, Mpumalanga, South Africa.
#9 Have Fun at Skyway Trails
Skyway Trails is another excellent, family-friendly attraction to enjoy in Mpumalanga.
Here, you can choose from two different adventures: the Aerial Cable Trail or Tree Top Challenge. Each promises plenty of fun for the whole family.
For the Tree Top Challenge, there are two courses, with 35 exciting obstacles, including balancing beams, rope bridges, a 50-metre zipline and much more to enjoy.
While the Aerial Cable Trail offers visitors the thrill of gliding over one of the last remaining forested valleys along the Sabie River, adjacent to the Kruger National Park. There are a total of 8 zip lines with 10 platforms and two qualified guides joining each participating group to ensure safety and fun.
So book your adventure with Skyway Trails and enjoy making great memories with your loved ones.
Please note: For activity rates, age and weight restrictions and other information, please contact Skyway Trails directly.
Contact: +27 (082) 825 0209 (bookings), +27 (013) 737 6747, firstname.lastname@example.org
Address: Skyway Trails, Perry’s Bridge, Main Road, Hazyview, Mpumalanga, South Africa.
#10 Visit Shangana Cultural Village
Last but by no means least is a trip to Shangana Cultural Village for an insightful daytime tour.
Located midway between Blyde River Canyon and the southern part of the Kruger National Park, this bustling African village invites visitors to learn more about the Shangaan people’s way of life.
Immerse yourself in village culture, as you enjoy an educational, fascinating visit with the the residents of the traditional villages of Shangana.
Contact: +27 (013) 737 5804, (013) 737 5805
Address: Shangana Cultural Village, near Hazyview, Mpumalanga, South Africa.
These are just ten of the amazing things to do near the Kruger National Park while you’re in and around Mpumalanga province… Which is top of your list?