Great Drives Mpumalanga
Avis Scenic Drives around Kruger Mpumalanga AirportThe biggest challenge when exploring Mpumalanga, and once you have taken leave of our friendly Avis rental agents, is knowing where to start. That's where our Avis mini guide to Nelspruit comes in.
From waterfalls to wildlife, Mpumalanga has it all when it comes to scenic attractions.
Make sure you pack your camera, and consult our Avis mini-guide before you head out in your Avis hire car to visit to one of South Africa's most photogenic places.
Places to drive by in Mpumalanga
Mpumalanga is so picturesque that you will find drives here dedicated purely to admiring the countryside, or other natural endowments of the area.
The Panorama Route
Take a spectacular journey in your Avis hire car for thrilling views over dramatic canyons gurgling creeks dense forests and cascading waterfalls. Departing from Nelspruit, take the R537 leading you through dense pine plantations to Sabie and then onward on the R532 to Graskop, where you will come across your first stop along the route.
Either branch off at Mac Mac Pools or continue onwards to the source – the 70m high twin streams of Mac Mac Falls. After Graskop, you enter the heart of the Panorama Route with one awe-inspiring view following the next. The list of attractions to explore with your Avis rental along this road includes:
- God's Window view point
- Three Rondavels view point
- Blyde River Canyon
- Bourke's Luck potholes
- Mac Mac Falls
- Berlin Falls
- Lisbon Falls
- Historic Pilgrim's Rest town
- The Pinnacle view point
Make sure you have set aside several hours to fully appreciate these and more glorious attractions, which draw people to admire them from all over the world. Alternatively, if time is not at your disposal, you can always turn your Avis hire car around at any point in your journey and return to Kruger Mpumalanga Airport.
Highlights along the way
Mac Mac Falls and Pools
Take a plunge into the icy mountain waters, or just stretch your legs and enjoy the sounds of the water gushing from the Falls above. Alternatively, skip the pools and continue along the R532 to admire the views over these 70m twin falls themselves at the lookout point, not far from the road.
Views over the Lowveld
Three of the best viewpoints over the Drakensberg Escarpment down to the lush Lowveld below are located along the R534 just after Graskop. Stop off at The Pinnacle for views of the freestanding buttress of rock jutting out of the dense forest below. God's Window offers sweeping panoramas which stretch all the way to Mozambique on a clear day, and Wonder View gifts the highest viewpoint along this route, at 1 730m above sea level.
This wonderful woodland town is surrounded by the third largest man-made forest in the world. A rightful nominee in the ‘Best Town in South Africa’ competition year on year, Sabie delivers a massive dose of charm, with tiny shops and unusual eateries. Take respite and replenish at spots such as the Woodsman, the Wild Fig Tree restaurant and The Smokey, where you dine inside a renovated railway coach.
Although Graskop cannot compare with the charms of Sabie, Harrie's pancakes on Main Street is rightfully famous as a pit stop along the Panorama Route. Enjoy sweet and savoury treats or a delicious lunch at this well-known restaurant.
If you have time
Branch off at Graskop to visit this town which has been frozen in time during the Gold Rush of the early 1900s. The whole of Pilgrim's Rest is a National Monument, with many museums, gift shops and architecturally correct buildings to visit. Remember to draw cash before you visit, as not all these historically correct shops have bank card facilities and there is no ATM in town (it just wouldn't look right).
The Dinosaur Park at Sudwala Caves provides endless fascination for children, with its large replicas of extinct species. There are also some live current-day specimens with a long history on earth, such as birds, plants and reptiles.
Just one hour's drive from Nelspruit along the R358 brings you to Kaapschehoop. This beautiful part of the world offers blood-thumping hiking and climbing adventures, for some time away from the wheel, with a chance to spot the wild horses and antelope that roam the area.
Blyde River Canyon
Further along the Panorama Route, about two and a half hour's drive from Nelspruit, is the Blyde River Canyon. This crevice, sliced in half by the Blyde River, is the world's third largest canyon and can be admired from a roadside stop at 1 219m above sea level.
The spectacular sights of Mpumalanga are best experienced at a slow pace and could easily occupy you for several weeks. Plan carefully to make the most of your available time before you return your Avis hire car to our Avis branch at Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport.