Scenic routes

If you can, begin your wander around Mpumalanga with Bourke’s Luck Potholes, for they are without doubt incredible. Essentially they’re the result of decades of swirling eddies of water where the Treur River meets the Blyde River, the tumult of which has caused extensive water erosion over time. The result is a series of cylindrical rock sculptures that look as though they would be more comfortable on the moon.

They are on the Panorama Route and are one of the major tourist attractions in South Africa, so best get there ahead of the bus tours. A series of metal bridges take you right above them, if photographs are a high priority, whilst walkways around the ridges allow you various angles and viewpoints from which to take your snaps.

In the ‘Land of the rising sun’ a ‘river of sorrow’ was met by a rush of ‘joy’ and together they carved out ‘nature’s wishing well’. In the native Zulu tribal language this Mpumalanga province was melodiously named after the dawn; the Treur River labelled by the Afrikaans Voortrekkers after their sorrowful experience that turned joyful, as honoured in translation of the happily titled Blyde River.

The confluence of these two river forces over eons eroded the red sandstone of the Blyde River Canyon into Bourke’s Luck Potholes which now shimmers full of well-wishers tokens. Named after an 18th century man, Tom Bourke, who had little luck in striking gold but whose namesake rock formations now catch coins attached to golden wishes that descend the sheer cliff faces into said water sculpted pits. His claim of a densely gold deposited earth left him empty handed but later proved fortunate for other gold seekers in the region.

The Zenith of the Panorama Route, this is such a picturesque view point that it has been called “God’s Window”, due to the sheer natural beauty contained in one view. Uniquely located North of Graskop, while standing at this view point you get a beautiful view of the panoramic lowveld. You will be able to view the magnificent Blyde River Canyon. However you will have to hike up the narrow pathway along the escapement to actually see the view point.With magnificent views, canyons, rock formations and waterfalls, God’s Window is truly an area of breathtaking scenic splendour. It is no wonder that Mpumalanga is known as Paradise Country.
Gods Window is so called for the panoramic view of the Lowveld more than 900 m down into lush indigenous forest clad ravine. The majestic cliffs plunge over 700 meters to the Lowveld and the private game reserves which have made the area one of South Africa’s main wildlife destinations. God’s Window offers spectacular views across the lowveld. On a clear day, you’ll be able to see across the famous Kruger National Park towards the Lebombo Mountains in the distance. Forming part of a 250km long series of cliffs, God’s Window is absolutely captivating in its beauty. Please note that the view site at God’s Window is only worth viewing on a sunny, clear day as cloud cover can hide the scenery.

A steep stepped footpath leads to the viewpoints along the edge of the escarpment. There are three viewing sites and picnic areas along the way. A boardwalk leads through a peaceful rainforest with moss covered trees, little streams, and boulders of all shapes and sizes all the way to the top, and most enchanting, viewpoint. Pack a picnic to enjoy on the rocks at the top. There are curio stalls and toilet facilities at the parking area.

For the best lookout points and exotic forest plants, steer away from the crowds and hike up into the clouds and the misty Rain Forest.

It started 20 years ago as a research and breeding centre for the endangered cheetah and King cheetah, but now is a lifeline for a myriad of endangered species such as Southern Ground Hornbills, African wild dogs, smaller endangered cat species and many more species in dire need of protection. One can truly be thankful for people so dedicated and enthusiastic in saving and protecting our wildlife, like Mrs. Lente Roode and her team.

The Hoedspruit Endangered Species Centre (HESC) is living proof that people can make a difference to the long-term survival of the planet and its animal inhabitants.

HESC is home to a variety of animal species including (but not limited to) African wild cat, ground hornbill, sable antelope, lion, cheetah, and rhino. Some of these animals are at the centre as part of their breeding programme, while others were brought in because they were injured, orphaned or in need of rehabilitation. Some animals were also brought in by wildlife authorities after being confiscated or rescued from unfavourable environments.

The centre is actively involved in research; breeding of endangered animal species; the education of learners, students and the general public in conservation and conservation-related activities; tourism; the release and establishment of captive-bred cheetahs in the wild; the treatment and rehabilitation of wild animals in need (including poached rhinos); and anti-poaching initiatives on the reserve.

There is a belief that cheetahs, as a consequence of their restricted genetic diversity, tend easily to develop clinical signs of inbreeding depression. These are characterised by high neonatal mortality rates that are partially attributed to their perceived increased susceptibility to infections, the difficulty of breeding them in captivity, and the high frequency of spermatozoal defects in captive, and free-ranging cheetah males.

HESC presents a fascinating insight into rare, vulnerable and endangered animal species and animal conservation efforts at large. It offers fun and engaging tours, and specialised excursions to visitors. A range of accommodation options are also available for visitors looking to stay longer. This is the ideal base from which to explore the Greater Kruger area. Funds raised through all tourism activities directly contribute to our conservation projects.

The Cheetah project (Hoedspruit Endangered Species Centre, HESC) is a part of Kapama Game Reserve. The project focuses on, inter alia, the expansion and maintenance of cheetah and other feline species. On this site, there are various excursions organized including the day-trip, in which you learn a lot about the cheetah in it’s natural habitat. There are also short tours available. Besides that, before the tour, you get a lot of information about the lifestyle of the cheetah.

This trip to Hoedspruit Endangered Species Centre is fun with children!

Game drive in Big-5 area

There is also a possibility to go on a game-drive at the Hoedspruit Endangered Species Centre (Cheetah Project). The game-drives are in the afternoon. We highly recommend this tour, it is fun for kids, affordable and beautiful sunsets!

The Lion Park, an established tourist destination, well loved by locals and foreigners alike, became a popular experience for all over the last 50 years. Having moved to the Cradle of Humankind in July 2016, this new must-see world class facility, called Lion and Safari Park, offers guests a memorable experience.

The new park offers a wealth of exciting activities such as animal interactions, guided game drives and self-drives.  You are guaranteed to get super-close to some of Africa’s favourite animals whether you go on an informative guided tour or self-drive.  Guests also have the opportunity to engage in the experience of hand feeding a selection of animals including giraffes, ostriches and various other antelope species that roam freely on the 600-hectare property and frequently visit the wetlands in front of ‘the Wetlands’ Bar and Restaurant.

The Lion & Safari Park is home to a vast selection of indigenous species such as Lion (Brown and White), Cheetah, Hyena (Brown, Spotted and Striped), Leopard (including black leopard), Wild Dogs, Sable antelope, Kudu, Nyala to mention only a few.

Guests can enjoy a variety of different guided tours. The trained guides turn every tour into an informative and educational trip as they share interesting facts. Tour options include; Lion & Wild Dog Tour, Mini Safari, Night tours (with predator feeding), Private Exclusive tours, Alex Tour, Cheetah and Lion Walks. The 3-hour Safari is the flagship tour which includes snacks and drinks on the bank of the Crocodile river. The famous animal trainer Alex Larenty promises to provide a fun-filled experience as he interacts with fully grown lions on the ‘Alex tour’.

Guests also have the option to drive their own vehicles through the lion and wild dog enclosures and the new extended route to the hyena enclosures will provide the opportunity to see many different antelope species such as Giraffe, Kudu, Gemsbuck, Warthog, Sable, Nyala and many more.

The beautifully designed playground next to the restaurants will keep the young ones entertained. This makes the perfect venue for kiddie’s birthday parties. A day visit to the park also provides the perfect opportunity for schoolchildren to learn about the animals and various research programmes that the Lion and Safari Park is involved in.

The word “Rondavel” is a South African word that refers to a round hut-like dwelling (usually with a thatched roof). The three well known gigantic peaks of quartzite and shale with their sheer rock walls tower more than 700m above the surrounding landscape.

Once known as The chief and his three wives – the flat-topped peak represented Mapjaneng, famous for opposing invading Swazis in a memorable battle is on the right, whilst the rondavels are three of his more troublesome wives – Magabolle, Mogoladikwe and Maseroto.

The view point is spectacular. From here one looks over the canyon to the Three Rondavels on the other side of the northern edges of the Drakensberg range of mountains. An outlook that is overwhelmingly beautiful and deserves more than a moment’s respite.

The beautiful to look at formations are explained geographically as the slow erosion of underlying soft stone, leaving the exposed quartzite and shale rondavels at which we marvel. Whatever their origin, they are undoubtedly breathtaking. Together with God’s Window and Bourkes Luck Potholes, the Three Rondavels are a highlight of any trip along the third largest canyon in the world.

The Elephant Sanctuary – South Africa – has three African Elephant Sanctuaries across three provinces in Southern Africa. The Elephant Sanctuary, started in 1999, grew from five elephants to a total of twelve African Elephants (Loxodonta Africana). These Elephants have been domesticated through positive reinforcement animal management principles, and as a result, provide us with the unique opportunity to interact with them.

Visitors are taken on a journey into the world of the African elephant and are guided through an unforgettable experience with these magnificent creatures. Visitors are able to touch, feed and get to know these animals. The Elephant Sanctuary is unique in that it offers visitors the incredible opportunity to walk hand-in-trunk with the elephants. Enter the world of the Elephant with Elephant Back Riding. Bare-back Elephant Back Riding enables us as humans to feel the power and bulk of an elephant in contrast with the quietness, delicateness and grace of these mammoth creatures’ movement as they walk/glide across the ground. Understand the height at which an elephant stands and experience their environment from an elephant’s perspective.

The Elephant Sanctuary offers experiences/tours/programs daily. Each sanctuary has different time slots and these vary slightly. Details of what each sanctuary specifically offers, plus the rates can be found under each one. The close encounter with elephants you experience at The Elephant Sanctuary truly is one of a kind. When meeting them you will discover that each one has a different character, personality and temperament.

Jessica the Hippo, the world famous hippo. Jessica ‘lives’ in the river of Hoedspruit – South Africa and has been raised by her owners Tonie and Shirley Joubert if it was there own child. The Joubert family took care of the animal whilst her mother was found exhausted at the border of the Kruger Park. With a background as a ranger Tonie Joubert knew exactly what he needed to do to get Jessica vital again with success. Though Jessica is free wherever she would like to go, again and again she chooses her favorite spot on the sidewalk of the house in Hoedspruit. Jessica sleeps in the house of Tony and Shirly and is approachable for humans. She weighs about 1,2 ton and is without a doubt worlds most famous hippo. In recent years Jessica caught a lot of media attention and performed in more then 90 films and documentaries.

During your stay in one of the vacation rentals of Homes of Africa it’s possible to visit Jessica and the owners Toni and Shirley. You have the opportunity to feed and to caress Jessica. An unique experience, a fact that cannot be matched anywhere else in the world. An absolute recommendation also because she lives just a ten minutes drive away  from the villas. These activities are an unique experience for adults as well as for your children. When you are stay in one of the rentals of Homes of Africa you will find a route description in the information folder which you will receive after a booking.

Visiting the Kruger National Park is a dream for most travellers. For the majority of people, it’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see Africa’s bush landscape and encounter the big five in their national habitat. If you’re imagining a zoo-like facility where you can see lions and cheetahs any time you like, you’re going to be disappointed

Where nearly 2 million hectares of unrivaled diversity of life forms fuses with historical and archaeological sights – this is real Africa.The world-renowned Kruger National Park offers a wildlife experience that ranks with the best in Africa Experience Kruger National Park with Siyabona Africa’s exclusive collection of safari packages, from high-end luxury to standard classic safari tours.

Whether you are looking for a romantic honeymoon escape, or a spot for the annual family holiday, you are bound to discover just what you need, right here.

With a Kruger Park Safari, combined with the variety of accommodation types that are on offer, you can look forward to lodge living in perfect luxuriousness, or comfortable, tented chalets with the closer-to-nature feel.

Either way, you are set for a great Kruger Park Safari adventure. Morning and early evening game drives, bush walks for the more strenuous and ample opportunities for wildlife photography. All of this conducted by experienced safari guides, game rangers and trackers.

While the south is densely populated with animals (and visitors), the north has incredible landscapes and more opportunity for authentic animal encounters (where you won’t encounter any other vehicles at a sighting, for instance). We stayed at Jock Safari Lodge in the South and saw lions, leopards, hyenas, elephants, black rhino, white rhino and more. In the north, we stayed at the ultra-luxurious The Outpost Lodge, where we were blown away when we woke up in the night to elephants splashing around right outside our room. We also had the opportunity to see three cheetah – a sight even our guide hadn’t come across in over three years – with just two other people around. 

Situated in the shadow of the majestic “ Mariepskop” which forms part of the mighty Drakensberg mountains, our unique Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre is a home to many of South Africa’s abandoned, injured and poisoned wildlife. Moholoholo Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre is extremely proud of its efforts in wildlife education in South Africa. At Moholoholo we are often faced with the difficult decision of what to do with an injured or poisoned animal which will not be able to be released back into the wild. As a result, we have a number of “permanent residents” at the centre and at our own cost we use them as “ambassadors” for their respective species. Members of the public are therefore able to get an up close and personal experience of these incredible creatures and with our hands on approach we have the ability to demonstrate to the public the threats and problems our wildlife is facing today. The Centre has a long standing and successful Serval Breeding Project and more than 160 have successfully been reintroduced to areas where they have become extinct. We are actively involved in research on the movement and behaviour of leopards and also on a number of vulture species that we monitor daily at our “vulture restaurant”.

 A visit to the Centre is “an experience of a lifetime” and will leave you with lasting memories.The Moholoholo Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre was established in 1991. A businessman from Pretoria in South Africa, Mr Strijdom, owns the farm on which the Centre is situated, and he in turn asked Brian Jones to establish and run the rehabilitation centre for him. Brian already had a Crowned Eagle in his possession and his reputation for the work he did with wild animals had spread rapidly.

At Moholoholo we are often faced with the difficult decision of what to do with an injured or poisoned animal which will not be able to be released back into the wild. As a result, we have a number of ‘permanent residents’ that reside at the centre at our own cost and are used as ‘ambassadors’ for their species. Members of the public are therefore able to get an ‘up close and personal’ experience of these incredible creatures, while we have the ability to practically demonstrate to the public the problems that wildlife is facing as well as being able to share information about each animal here at the Centre.

Wherever possible, rehabilitated birds and animals are returned to the wild and those who are not so fortunate due to the nature and extent of their injuries are used for educational purposes to the many people who visit us each year both from South Africa and abroad. Interaction between our animals, birds and visitors to Moholoholo is permitted under controlled conditions.

The Moholoholo team is highly dedicated conservationists committed in preserving Africa’s wildlife and they are also extremely passionate in sharing their intimate knowledge. We invite you to come and share a unique experience with us.