With the intent of providing for the management and promotion of responsible tourism while taking into account the importance of nature conservation, the Mpumalanga Tourism & Parks Agency aims to ensure the sustainable utilisation of natural resources for the benefit of local entrepreneurs. With its vast and contrasting landscapes, abundant wildlife and biodiversity, the Mpumalanga Tourism and Parks Agency (MTPA) understands the vital importance of building awareness to protect local biodiversity, this plays a key role in ensuring decisions relating to the sustainable development and conservation in the province are made in the best interest of all stakeholders.
Faced with the responsibility of providing protection for the 85 threatened and 57 endangered species within the Mpumalanga Province, the MTPA is also accountable for addressing habitat loss, environmental degradation and fragmentation of landscapes.
As a custodian of fifteen protected areas that reach across three district municipalities that include Ehlanzeni District, the Gert Sibande District and Nkangala District, these include;
- Andover Nature Reserve
- Barberton Nature Reserve
- Blyde River Canyon
- Mahushe Shongwe Nature Reserve
- Manyeleti Nature Reserve
- Mthethomusha Nature Reserve
Gert Sibande District
- Nooitgedacth Dam Nature Reserve
- Songimvelo Nature Reserve
- Loskop Dam Nature Reserve
- Mabusa Nature Reserve
- Mkhombo Nature Reserve
- Ohrigstad Dam Nature Reserve
- S.S Skosana Nature Reserve
Within these regions, the MTPA parks include:
An unspoiled Nature Reserve, situated between the Kruger National Park, Sabi Sands and Timbavati Game Reserve Triangle. Andover is the epitome of an authentic bushveld experience ideal for visitors looking for a private recluse away from commercial safari experiences.
Barberton Nature Reserve
Reaching across a 27 541 ha’s of biodiversity, the Barberton Nature Reserve boasts vast and expansive landscapes and a variety of wildlife and birding species. With the Noord Kaap River cutting through the centre of the reserve sculpting steep escarpments on the northern side and lower hills on the southern side of the valley, views are met with much drama and awe echoing the importance of conservation of the area.
Blyde River Canyon Nature Reserve
The third largest canyon in the world, the Blyde River Canyon shows off lush subtropical landscapes, dramatic cliffs and rocky outcrops. 26 kilometres in length and on average, around 800m deep the Blyde River Canyon is situated against the Greater Drakensberg escarpment and is home to the dam and river which makes for spectacular views and even more pristine hiking. Combined with the Panorama Route the Blyde River Canyon is one of the most-visited attractions in South Africa.
Loskop Dam Nature Reserve
Having created a natural floodplain the Loskop Dam Nature Reserve is one of Mpumalanga’s most attractive reserves, home to a variety of wildlife including Eland and other species of Antelope, Giraffe, Zebra, Wildebeest and White Rhino. Approximately 30km long, supplying water to a vast irrigation scheme in the areas of Loskop, Groblersdal and Marble Hall, the Loskop Dam is the longest dam in the Southern Hemisphere just 55km's north of Middelburg.
Manyeleti Nature Reserve
Known as the place of the stars, the Manyeleti Nature Reserve offers visitors a pristine big 5 bushveld experience. Extending over 23 750 hectares of exclusive wildlife game viewing encounters, the reserve shares fenceless borders with the Kruger National Park, Sabi Sands and the Timbavati Game Reserve offering the outdoor enthusiast an uninterrupted game viewing experience, all year round.
Mkhombo Nature Reserve
Conserving an easterly Kalahari thornveld environment along the banks of its local dam, the Mkhombo Nature Reserve provides a wonderful variety of natural habitats across a condensed area.
Nooitgedacht Dam Nature Reserve
Centrally located in the Highveld, the Nooitgedacht Dam Nature Reserve is home to an abundance of game species including the Blesbok, Springbok, Black Wildebeest, Reds Hartebeest, Zebra, Reedbuck, Oribi and Buffalo. Surrounding the Nooitgedacht Dam where the Komati River originates, the Nature Reserve is 3 000 hectares in size and can be found just 10km northwest of the town of Carolina.
Ohrigstad Dam Nature Reserve
With the magnificent Drakensberg escarpment as its backdrop, the Ohrigstad Dam Nature Reserve can be found just west of Pilgrim’s Rest in the transition zone between the highlands and the lowveld around the Ohrigstad Dam. Home to over 200 species of birds including the rare crowned eagle the reserve offers an excellent angling, birding and hiking destination.
Songimvelo Nature Reserve
The largest provincial nature game reserve in Mpumalanga spanning over 48000 hectares of some of the most aesthetically attractive areas in the province, the Songimvelo Nature Reserve is home to the highest known plant diversity in the province as well as four of the big five wildlife species.
Verloren ValleiAn internationally recognised wetland reserve, the Verloren Vallei is home to prolific birdlife and many rare and special plant species best visited during the warmer summer months when an array of orchid species are in bloom.