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Mpumalanga Trip PDF Print E-mail
Written by Basil Cambanis   
Friday, 07 August 2009 21:26

Another quick trip to escape the cold of Winter in Gauteng, especially since there's been very little wind this Winter which is usually our windy season.
It's school holidays for our boys, so we decided on short notice to go to the Lowveld to get warmer temperatures, and it's been 20-26 degrees most of the time, and the night times temperatures are much warmer too.

We spent a few days at Sudwala Lodge which is just below the Sudwala caves.
The caves are named after the bravest and strongest Swazi warrior at the time, who was called "Sidwaba".

Column formation
Column formation

These caves were inhabited by a faction of the Swazi tribe in the 1970's when there was a disagreement between the King's two sons as to who would take over the thrown. 500 head of cattle were kept in these caves, and they used the caves as a natural fort. Attempts to smoke them out the caves failed as there are natural air vents.
Two miners dug out a lot of ground from the caves in the 1980's in search of the Kruger millions; they did find the gold, but they became rich by selling 250 tons of bat droppings to the local farmers.
There were a few concerts held inside the caves up until 2001, as the dolomite rock absorbs sound. Concerts are no longer permitted here as some formations were broken during the last concert. 

Broken formations

Broken formations from last concert

Weeping Madona
Weeping Madona formation - natural spring of water

They also have wonderful mountain biking trails nearby, horse riding, trout fishing, etc.

Mac Mac falls, named after the Scotish miners that were here

Lone Creek
Lone Creek waterfall

Lone Creek Swim
Swim under the falls - very cold water indeed

We decided to extend our stay by a few days as we're loving it, so today we drove through Nelspruit on the way to White River, and we stopped off at the Halls Market, this has a wonderful array of farm produce and interesting goodies on display.
Tomorrow we're going to Hazyview for zip-lining, to see a coffee planation, silk factory, water falls, and whatever else we can fit in.

Other activities in the area include :
- Abseiling (including down a waterfall)
- Archery
- Caving by candlelight
- Wall climbing
- Coffee tours
- Gold panning
- Horse and game trails
- Kloofing (rock hopping, slides, pools, traversing rivers)
- Moutain boarding
- Moutain biking
- Motorbike outrides
- Paintball
- Rafting, Kayaking, and tubing
- Quad biking
- Hot air ballooning
- Helicopter flights
- Microlights
- Bridge swing
- Aerial cable trail
- Elephant safari (rides on their back and interaction with them)
- Boat cruises
- Panorama tours (God's Window, Pinnacle, etc.)
- Kruger Park tours

The amazing thing is that all of the above is within a 70 km radius !

8 August 2009

It was an action packed day which included a visit to a silk factory, a hair raising ride on a zip-line over a gorge by Graskop, horse riding in the bushveld near Hazyview, a visit to a coffee planation near Sabie, and dinner at the Ant and Elephant restuarant (trout and ostrich).
It's difficult to explain the smell at "Sabie Valley Coffee", but it was enough to make take a few deep breaths, and what a friendly owner. I bought a baby coffee tree while there to remind me of the place. I recommend their Bushveld blend, which is in between a medium and dark roast.

Zip-line and giant swing across the gorge at Graskop - scary stuff

9 August 2009

We drove back to Johannesburg today after a wonderful impromtu trip to the Lowveld, which we'll definitely repeat next Winter.
On the way back we stopped off at Dullstroom which is famous for it's trout fishing and interesting stores.
I recommend at visit to "Harry's Pancakes" (end of road on left), try their bitter choclate pancake.
Since we are not well versed in fly fishing, we could only watch and marvel at all around us.

Stunning drive through the forest to a 5-star lodge  



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