A bucket list of favourite destinations for holidaying in South Africa will no doubt include a trip to the Kruger National Park – the bush and its unique ‘something’ coupled with the anticipation of seeing the Big Five is lure enough. But if White River, Mpumalanga, is the entry point, then visitors would be remiss not to include a few other experiences in the area in their travel agenda.
White River is a mix of scenic waterfalls, mountains, valleys and diverse wildlife that call the area home. It is a great place to explore, and offers plenty of adventure. Mike Jameson, General Manager at Destiny Lodge White River by BON, shares his top things to do in White River: “There is something for everyone and this makes for a great family destination.”
More than the Big Five
The self-drive Reptile Route is a short day trip that winds through the Mpumalanga Lowveld, with stops at Perry’s Reptile Park, Dinosaur Park, and Chimpanzee Eden, which is set on a 1 000-hectare game reserve, and is home to chimpanzees that have been misplaced from their natural habitat, bringing these extraordinary primates closer to people through education, tourism and modern technology.
At Sudwala Caves, which formed around 240m years ago, visitors can take hour-long tours of the caves throughout the day. A monthly five-hour-long Crystal Tour takes visitors 2 000m into the cave, which sometimes includes a concert or play in the main hall of the Amphitheatre whose sheer size and natural air-conditioning make it an ideal performing arts venue.
For motoring enthusiasts
Motoring enthusiasts can stop at the Antique Car Museum, an impressive three-level complex with over 2 000 sqm of floor space showcasing over 60 automobiles from as early as 1911.
Orange is the new grape
On the return trip, an out-of-the-ordinary stop is orange-wine tasting at Rottcher Orange Winery on Casterbridge Farm. Using an age-old tradition of fermentation, the viticulturists have created a range of unique drinks.
An appetite for travel
A variety of restaurants offers a range of local foods for travellers to experience. “Do stop by Zamani, the in-house restaurant at Destiny Lodge White River by BON. They have just launched a delicious new menu,” says Jameson. Other culinary destinations include Daloose Mongoose, Magnolia, Gumtreez and 64 Coolmore.
Please note: this article has been updated.