Getting to the Mpumalanga Lowveld by air is surprisingly simple. Three airports, each with several daily scheduled flights serve the region.
Kruger Mpumalanga International (IATA Code: MQP) is situated just outside the provincial capital of Mbombela / Nelspruit. Opened in 2002, the terminal building was designed with a typical African theme and is the largest airport building under a thatch roof in the world. With full customs and immigration facilities, Kruger Mpumalanga International (or KMIA as it is known) is also Mpumalanga’s only international airport.
The airport is served by several daily flights on Airlink from Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban. For visitors seeking a bush and beach experience without too many flight changes, Airlink also offers three weekly flights to Vilanculos on the Mozambique coast and five weekly flights to Livingstone on the Zambian side of the famous Victoria Falls.
For visitors seeking to visit Mpumalanga’s famous game reserves, shuttle flights and road transfers are on offer from the airport, which also has an extensive selection of car rental options.
Skukuza, home to the Headquarters of South Africa’s Kruger National Park, has its own airport which receives daily flights from Johannesburg and Cape Town. The airport was entirely renovated in safari style and reopened to commercial air traffic in 2014. Airlink’s Lodge Link Cessna Caravans are scheduled to dovetail with the arrivals and departures of the Johannesburg and Cape Town flights and these smaller planes deliver their passengers to their chosen game lodge, seamlessly within an hour. Road transfers and car rental facilities are also available at the airport.
Eastgate Airport outside Hoedspruit is a small civilian terminal tucked into the bush at the foot of the massive Hoedspruit Air Force base. The base’s runway is long enough to have been used as an emergency landing option for the USA’s Space Shuttle program. Daily scheduled flights from Johannesburg and Cape Town all arrive and depart around midday, ensuring that the visitor does not miss a morning or afternoon game drive. It is not unusual for visitors to be collected from the airport in open safari vehicles and to have their first African wildlife experience within a few minutes of leaving the airport.
Some of the private game lodges offer shuttle flights directly from OR Tambo International Airport making it easy for the visitor to simply step off their international flight and, within a few hours, to land on a bush airstrip, only a few minutes away from their luxurious accommodation.
A highlight for the Lowveld’s aviation enthusiast is the annual Lowveld Airshow, scheduled to be held at Nelspruit Aerodrome on 11th May 2019. Aerobatic displays by several of South Africa’s top teams include the South African Air Force’s elite Silver Falcon’s as well as our local heros, Working on Fire aerial teams showing off their fire fighting skills.
Barberton in winter is perfect for Paragliding and the town hosts annual and sometimes international competitions.
For the adventurous, Mpumalanga offers microlight flights up the picturesque Sabi River Valley from Hazyview and helicopter excursions through the Blyde River Canyon with a picnic on the edge of the escarpment. Hot air ballooning is on offer beneath Mariepskop near Hoedspruit.
FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT:
Airlink : www.flyairlink.com
Federal Airlines : www.fedair.com
Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport : www.kmiairport.co.za
Skukuza Airport : www.skukuzaairport.com
Eastgate Airport : www.eastgateairport.co.za
Mpumalanga Helicopter Company : http://www.seasonsinafrica.com/adventure-activities-insouth-africa/lowveld-activities/mpumalanga-helicopter/
Cesszani Aviation : https://www.cesszani.co.za/
Aviation Adventures, Hazyview - +27(0)833105293
Suncatchers Hot Air Balloon : http://www.suncatchers.co.za/http://www.suncatchers.co.za/