Neo Mabubula explores travel experiences that go beyond the typical safari in the Mpumalanga and Limpopo area.

A drive along the Panorama Route

The Panorama Route is one of Mpumalanga’s biggest tourism drawcards. ‘Guarded’ by the town of Graskop, the route is home to mountains, forests and canyons. Some of the most notable geographic formations include the Blyde River Canyon, Bourke’s Luck Potholes and the Three Rondavels.

The route is also home to several waterfalls including the Lisbon, Berlin and Mac Mac Falls, along with scenic landmarks such as Wonder View, the Pinnacle and God’s Window. Consider a visit to the gold-rush town of Pilgrim’s Rest, where the history of the 1873 gold rush is relived. Guests can even try their hand at gold panning.

Some of the route’s less famous but equally fascinating attractions include Ohrigstad Dam Nature Reserve, where guests can fish for yellowtail or carp in the dam.

Golfing in a game reserve

Leopard Creek Golf Course, bordering the Kruger National Park, Malelane, offers guests a chance to combine their love for golf and the wilderness. Architecture and landscaping techniques ensure that the course and surrounds are protected from encroaching wildlife, while lakes and small streams have been diverted throughout the development to create scenic views and interesting golf strategies. Sightings of crocodile, hippo, antelope, buffalo and elephant are common, on the course or in the Kruger Park, bordering the course.

Leopard Creek is primarily reserved for the use of members and guests, but limited booking through selected lodges in the area is permitted.

Exploring Venda art

The Ribolla Art Route was named after the Ribolla Mountain in Limpopo. The route takes guests on a journey to explore the myths and legends that have come to shape the cultures found in the region.

The route stretches from northern Polokwane towards Musina, before joining the R524 and R523 to the Punda Maria Gate at Kruger National Park, where it joins the Hlanganani Route in the eastern part of the province.

Limpopo’s arts, crafts and design have made the province a must-see for travellers. Work by local artists such as Noria Mabaso, the late Jackson Hlunguwe and Phineas Masivhelele can be found along the route, along with opportunities to see traditional dancers, storytellers and local singers.

Activities along the route include the Luvhola cultural village, where guests have the option to participate in a special cultural evening, a storytelling evening, visit the living museum, or have a picnic at the dam.

Summerfields Rose Retreat and Spa

For guests looking for something more relaxing, the Summerfields Spa offers just that. Located in Hazyview, Mpumalanga, Summerfields Rose comprises a retreat, spa, farm and restaurant.

The Rose Spa offers massages and facials for guests. The spa comprises a steam room, Jacuzzi, swimming pool, Vichy shower and a hydro walk along the banks of the Sabie River. After their treatments, guests can enjoy lunch at the River Café.

The spa is open daily, however booking is essential and is subject to availability.

The retreat comprises 12 tented suites with an outdoor shower and bath and a Forest Room with a covered and open patio and reading area.

The farm comprises 500sqm and guests can request a tour of the farm and rose tunnel.

Guided tour through Gelukfontein’s Dairy farm

Geluksfontein dairy goat farm in the Waterberg area, Limpopo, specialises in cheese and milk production. However, the farm also offers guests a guided tour of its dairy goat farm.

The tour combines a demonstration of the cheese-making process with a cheese tasting on the farm.

Bookings are essential for breakfast and lunch at the Goatino Pub & Grill.

Waterberg walking and hiking trail

There are a number of walking and hiking trails for visitors to Limpopo. Some of these include the Diepdrift Sable, Stamvrug, Rhenosterpoort and the Waterberg Kruin hiking trails.

Boat cruise on the Blyde Dam

Taking in the beauty of the Blyde River Canyon can be done on a boat cruise. The one-and-a-half-hour tour will take guests to see the 200m-high Kadishi Tufa waterfall, and the Three Rondavels. Guests can expect to see wildlife such as hippo, crocodile as well as fish eagles. The cruise includes a talk on the history of the Blyde River Canyon.

Journeying though the Echo caves

The Echo Caves in Limpopo are some of the oldest limestone caves in the world and are a national monument and tourist attraction.

The caves were first discovered on the farm Klipfonteinhoek back in 1923 by a local farmer who stumbled upon them while searching for his cattle. The known extent of the caves is about 40km.

There are two tours – a 45-minute and 75-minute tour. The 75-minute tour includes exploring about 2km of the cave network. It also includes a visit to the Crystal Palace and Madonna Room. 

An Eco ranger experience

Tourvest Destination Management offers guests the opportunity to experience life as a ranger in the northern Kruger National Park. During the nine-day experience, guests can participate in basic ranger training, including practical bush cooking and bush survival strategy. With two to eight guests per luxury sedan or minibus and open safari vehicle, the tour begins in Johannesburg, heads to Hoedspruit and on to the Makuleke concession, then departs from Hoedspruit to Eastgate Airport or Johannesburg.