Mpumalanga in South Africa, is a great province to visit, offering a variety of scenery with the biggest bonus being Kruger Park. We took an early morning flight from Cape Town to Johannesburg - how people can be so cheerful so early in the morning is beyond me. The airport was buzzing with many smiling travellers while all I could think of was the warm bed that I had just deserted. Kulula offers a good service between the two cities - just remember to have cash with you if you require a sandwich or drink as they do not accept credit cards or foreign currency.
The road east is rather boring and flat for us Capetonions so used to seeing our beloved Table Mountain. However, the scenery does improve as one gets deeper into Mpumalanga. Our first stop was Gunyatoo Trout Farm where we were given a spacious family log cabin. More peaceful surroundings would be hard to find with millions of stars visible at night - if you are brave enough to venture out in the chill night air. Saturday dawned clear and warm so we headed off to Sabie on the logging road (gravel) Brunch was enjoyed at the Smokeys Pub. This pub has a train as part of the building so one can choose to sit in the compartments or in the pub or outside in the sunshine. This pub is beautifully decorated with various oddments such as an old switchboard, a large live parrot who can drink out of a can and many funny signs. The menu is large, too large, as the food was very average. But a great place to visit. It was like a summer's day - wonderful after the cold Cape Town weather. There is a rather neglected Putt-Putt course below the restaurant which we decided to try and it turned out to be great fun in the sun. It would be nice if the owners kept the course in better condition though as each person is charged R12.00.
For me an early start! Breakfast at Zanna's just opposite Casterbridge was a good start to the morning. A stunning cat kept asking for food but we resisted as it is VERY well fed! Zanna's is open from 07.00 week-days and from 08.00 week-ends so it a good spot to stop for breakfast on the way to either Kruger or Numbi gate. We chose to go in via Kruger gate - this took about an hour from White River due to road works and crazy drivers who have no regard for white lines or blind rises. Bad driving in Mpumalanga seems the order of the day. Perhaps time for the cops to start fining and patrolling?
This drive is again so different as the farms lining the roads are fertile with oranges, mielies, sugar cane and other crops. The orange trees look stunning with their golden crop just waiting to be picked. Malelane is a bustling town with many beautiful homes and plenty of accomodation. We are based on the banks of the Crocodile River and animal watching is right on our doorstep.
The zebra, wildebeest, impala are often spotted together - for protection maybe?
Do be patient, keep your eyes peeled at all times and you are sure to spot game. It's an exciting destination - as locals we love our country and hope you will too!
Sadly, our short break has come to and end and we are headed back to Cape Town. The weather throughout our stay was superb - hot and sunny during the day with cold nights. No rain at all during the trip except for a very short shower one night when staying near Sabie.