Things to Do & Must-See Attractions in Kruger National Park
The Blyde River Canyon Nature Reserve holds the third-largest canyon in the world, which boasts cliffs that rise nearly 2625 feet (800 meters) from the river bed below. Adventurous travelers can explore the canyon’s lush green scenery, waterfalls, and wildlife on hikes, boat excursions, and rock climbing adventures.
Located within Blyde River Canyon Nature Reserve, Bourke’s Luck Potholes were formed by centuries of swirling whirlpools at the confluence of the Treur and Blyde Rivers, eroding away the sandstone bedrock. Named after Tom Bourke, an unsuccessful gold prospector working in the area, this natural attraction comprises a series of interconnected cylindrical pools divided by sandstone outcrops.
Viewing platforms and bridges cross above some of the best formations, and depending on the time of day, river levels and mineral content in the water, the view of the holes and multi-colored sandstone changes.
South Africa's Panorama Route includes historic mining towns, beautiful waterfalls, lofty views, a gorgeous canyon, and lots of wildlife. The mining town of Graskop serves as an ideal starting point for a trip around the Mpumalanga's Panorama Route, and nearby attractions include the viewpoint called God's Window (featured in the film “The Gods Must Be Crazy”). From there, you can enjoy the views over Blyde River Canyon and see the collection of dramatic waterfalls near Sabie.
As the name suggests, the Panorama Route is known primarily for its scenery. There is abundant wildlife in the region, too, so be on the lookout. Fall and winter are the best times to see wildlife, when there are fewer leaves on the trees.
Graskop is an historic small town not far from the border of Kruger National Park. Originally set up as a gold mining town in the 1880s, it has maintained much of its historic town center and has become a popular tourist attraction in the area. One of the reasons visitors go to Graskop is that it's an ideal starting point for trips to see natural wonders like the Blyde River Canyon, Mac Mac Falls, and the viewpoint known as God's Window, which overlooks the Drakensberg escarpment.
Other nearby historic towns include Pilgrim's Rest and Sabie, and Graskop is also the starting point for a tour of the Panorama Route.
Moholoholo Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre is home to some of South Africa's fiercest animals—lions, leopards, wild dogs, and even honey badgers. Sitting at the base of the Drakensberg escarpment in Hoedspruit, the center helps travelers understand the plight of endangered species in the bush through education programs and guided tours.
Most people travel to northeast South Africa for game drives and lush canyons, but the Mpumalanga Province offers something else: waterfalls. Mac Mac Falls is one of the most dramatic examples—a national monument featuring a pair of 213-foot (65-meter) cascades, viewable from an observation deck above the falls.
A safe haven for chimpanzees, the Jane Goodall Institute’s Chimp Eden is dedicated to providing natural spaces and rehabilitation for chimpanzees who have been rescued from captivity, mistreatment, and the African bushmeat trade. Set in the nearly 2,500-acre (1,000-hectare) Umhloti Nature Reserve, semi-wild enclosures provide foraging spaces, room for socializing, and viewpoints where visitors can observe without interrupting.
Hoedspruitt Endangered Species Centre (HESC) houses some of Africa’s most rare and vulnerable species, including elephants, rhinos, cheetahs, and sable antelope. The center nurses injured animals back to health, breeds endangered species for release back into the wild, and provides educational programs for students and travelers.
leopard, Sabi Sands Game Reserve is a private game reserve that offers a luxury safari experience right next door to the world-famous Kruger National Park. But, unlike Kruger, Sabi Sands game drives can take you off-road into the bush, increasing your chances of spotting Africa’s “big five.”
A private game reserve that shares an unfenced border with the Greater Kruger National Park, Thornybush Game Reserve is one of the top locations for spotting Africa’s “big five.” The classic Lowveld savannah is home to lion, leopard, rhinoceros, elephant, and Cape buffalo as well as a vast array of other wildlife. Plus, the private reserve offers top-notch service and accommodations.