As local penguins march through Simon’s Town in the Western Cape, Waterbuck come out to play along the KwaZulu-Natal coastline and prides of lion reclaim the streets of the Kruger National Park, what favourite Mpumalanga destination will you visit first once the National lockdown is lifted?
This month saw the celebration of Earth day and how fitting the timing as many countries across the globe including South Africa are under lockdown or in isolation due to the rampant and deadly spread of Covid-19, and while global citizens are locked indoors the earth has begun to heal seeing an abundance of wildlife return to what used to be their homes. Things are no different here in Mpumalanga as popular tourist destinations including the Panorama route, the Blyde River Canyon, Bourke’s Luck Potholes, God’s Window, Three Rondawels and the Pinnacle have closed to public access.
With so much to look forward to once the National lockdown is lifted let’s remind you of some of Mpumalanga most plentiful wildlife destinations, currently restoring and regenerating during this time of reprieve.
Kruger National Park
With a number of campsites all throughout the park, the Kruger National park is the ranked as one of the best in Africa and a world leader in advanced environmental management techniques and policies. The Kruger National Park was established in 1898 with the primary objective to protect the South African Lowveld. With its 2 million hectares of unrivalled diversity in wildlife, fauna and flora the SANParks Kruger National Park boasts up to 336 tree species, 34 derivatives of amphibians, 114 reptile species, 507 birding species and 147 mammals. Home to the notorious Big 5 including lion, leopard, rhinos, elephant and buffalo, the park spans 380 kilometres from north to south but covers a total area of 20 000 square kilometres.
Main campsites inside the Kruger Nation park include:
- Berg-en-Dal Rest Camp
- Crocodile Bridge Rest Camp
- Letaba Rest Camp
- Lower Sabie Rest Camp
- Mopani Rest Camp
- Olifants Rest Camp
- Orpen Rest Camp
- Pretoriuskop Rest Camp
- Punda Maria Rest Camp
- Satara Rest Camp
- Shingwedzi Rest Camp
- Skukuza Rest Camp
Kaapsehoop Wild Horses
In a quaint mining town just 25 kilometres from Nelspruit roams an abundance of Mpumalanga's legendary wild horses. Where the lines of mystery have been coloured in by various fables and folklore, the Kaapsehoop wild horses have roamed freely throughout the 17 hectares of these beautiful landscapes for more than 100 years.
Surrounded by the babble of naturally formed brooks, fairyaz`tale waterfalls, lush forests and rolling hillsides, Kaapsehoop is also home to the endangered Blue Swallow and endemic to a number of other birding species. From horseback tours along the Drakensberg escarpment and sweeping views of the Barberton valley below, the Kaapsehoop region offers a different take on South Africa’s prolific wildlife and whether you are an equestrian fanatic or not, the area is sure to bring you closer to your outdoor adventure.
Fishing in Dullstroom
An angler’s delight with some of the most abundant supplies of rainbow and brown trout, Dullstroom is said to be the fly-fishing capital of South Africa catering to a number of streams and dams to fish from. From beginners to more avid experienced anglers, Dullstroom offers an idealist fly-fishing experience regulated by the local angling authorities and run by a local community passionate about the trade. While there is no access to fishing and outdoor activities, the dams and rivers of Dullstroom are sure to be well stocked, clean and thriving following the lift of the national lockdown.
Despite local tourism attractions closed for business due to the national lockdown, essential services staff such as Field Rangers and Wildlife Management programmes continue to run and are reporting astounding accounts with rarely spotted wildlife including the endangered African Wild Dog, an abundance of typically shy Leopard, relaxed prides of lion and more.
We can’t wait to welcome you back to these once in a lifetime sightings when the sun will rise again in the magnificent Mpumalanga province!