Mpumulanga and Limpopo provinces
A round trip departing from Johannesburg approximately once every two months. We take in most of the popular tourist sites offered in Mpumalanga before heading back home via Tzaneen and Polokwane (Pietersburg) in the Limpopo Province.
This province is the commercial heart of South Africa containing the important cities of Johannesburg and Pretoria. Despite the urbanisation of the Johannesburg region, there are plenty opportunity for getting back to nature. Game farms, dams lakes and rivers (for watersports and fishing, hiking trails), and picnic spots are plentiful and the Hartebeespoort Dam and Vaal River area are a particularly popular recreational spots.
The province is described as "The Heartbeat of Africa". Johannesburg, known as the "City of Gold" or Egoli, is the commercial powerhouse of South Africa.
Pretoria is about 30 miles north of Johannesburg is the country's administrative capital, is known as the 'Jacaranda City' after the purple-blossomed trees which bloom in such profusion in late September-October, the South African spring time. It is a fascinating melting pot of different culture - South Africa is one city. Outside the city are bushveld game farms as well as more than 100 nature reserves and bird sanctuaries of which the Rietvlei Nature Reserve is the largest
This is one of the premier tourist areas of South Africa offering a variety of tourist routes, each with its own special attractions. An appealing diversity of cultures, featuring some of the most colourful and interesting tribal groupings in the country, is a particular highlight.
Here is a region of vastness and variety, with a culturally rich and diverse people. The NI from Johannesburg literally splits the province in two, providing tourists with easy access to all areas.
The Southern Region is famous for its many hot spring resorts with the Nylsvlei wetland,Â unspoilt mountains and flowing streams of the Waterberg. Wildlife in the game reserves is abundant and the scenery ranges from rolling hills to mighty cliffs of stark red rock.
To the east lies the immense wildlife heritage of the Kruger National Park. By contrast, visitors can breathe in the cool evening air amongst the mountains and rivers of the lowveld. This unhurried and timeless region is known as "The Valley of the Olifants" (Elephants).
In the centre is the vibrant capital city of Polokwane (Pietersburg) - the industrial and commercial heart of the Great North. Here gold was first mined and smelted in the 19th century. The very earliest hominid fossils were discovered close by, in the historic caves of the Makapan Valley.
Sweeping across from the Northwest - and flowing along the northern border - is the Limpopo River Valley, a vast, natural area with cultures that date back to the Iron Age. Here are hilltop fortifications, and San (Bushmen) paintings and cave dwellings unchanged from the ancient past.
To the west lies the real bushveld, almost endless except for the hazy blue of distant mountains. Amongst the tangle of vegetation grow old baobab trees, their branches looking like roots thus creating a striking silhouette against a fiery sunset.
This is a land of legend, ruins and relics. The Venda people are intensely superstitious and place great store in rites and rituals. In the python dance, teenage girls perform a slow, rhythmic dance to the throb of drums. Part of the folklore of the North Sotho people is the legendary Rain Queen, Modjadji, while the Tsonga produce beautiful arts and crafts.
You are collected from the Johannesburg International Airport * Transferred to City Lodge in Morningside Johannesburg, where you will spend your first night recuperating from your flight. * Once settled in, you will be taken out for a traditional South African dinner.
Total Distance: 422km
You are collected from City Lodge in Morningside at 08h00 and taken to collect your bikes. * After signing all the necessary indemnities etc., we depart on the first leg of our journey via the N12 motorway to the Mpumulanga area. * First stop is at the Ultra City fuel stop, just after the mining city of Witbank (135km) for a quick fuel top up and a leg stretch. Witbank (literally means "white shoulder") is the centre of the open cast coal mining industry in South Africa, and also hosts numerous coal driven Power Stations which supply electricity to the city of Johannesburg.
Back on the N4 motorway through some initially very barren country side for 120 km to Waterval Boven (or "top of the waterfall"), through the Rail tunnel, where we will stop for approx 30-40 minutes stop to take in the sights at the Eland Falls ("Island Falls"). Next is the city of Nelspruit (101 km) where we stop for lunch. Nelspruit is currently the fastest growing city in South Africa, and is the support structure for Mozambique, which is experiencing a huge revival after the terrible war that they endured over the past 20 years. * After a leisurely lunch, we continue on through the town of White River to Hazyview (66 Km) where we book into the Numbi Hotel.
You are now be in the heart of Mpumulanga. This area gained notoriety in the early gold rush days, and also formed the main Ox wagon route from Algoa Bay (as Maputo in Mozambique used to be known), supplying the Johannesburg and Pretoria areas. * The rest of the day you can take it easy at your own leisure. Take a walk round the village of Hazyview, shop for curios or just relax * Dinner at 19:00.
Total Distance: 390 km
After a leisurely breakfast, depart from Hotel 09:00 to explore this amazing area, so rich in South African history. * The morning route will take us through the timber plantations of Sappi and Mondi and we enjoy majestic views of the countryside as we climb through the mountains to the town of Sabie, situated on the Sabie river. * From Sabie, a quick run through to the famous Sudwala Caves where we stop for approximately 60 minutes for a tour of the caves.
The next leg takes us on a scenic route past the Sappi pulp factory (you will need nose plugs for this section !) to the quaint town of Kaapschehoop ("The hope of the Cape"). * Kaapschehoop is the lunch stop for today, and there are numerous antique shops etc to browse through. Kaapschehoop is also famous for its wild horses, which roam freely around the village. * After lunch we head for the mountain route back towards Nelspruit, where we branch off to the old mining town of Barberton. * We take a coffee break here and take a look at the first stock exchange in South Africa, dating back to the early 1800's. Barberton also lays claim to having the only gold mine in the world where they mine UP into the mountain!
From here we take a very scenic ride through citrus farms to Kaapmuiden, * Back via Nelspruit and through Sabie, over the Long Tom pass, where the original "Long Tom" cannon was stationed to protect the area during the Boer War, * We go through the town of Lydenburg and on to Crystal Springs where we will check into the chalets. * The rest of the day can be taken at leisure to enjoy the mineral springs and maybe have a massage. * Crystal Springs is our base for 2 nights.
09:00 departure from Crystal Springs * Panoramic Route through greater Mpumulanga. * This round trip takes us via Ohrigstad to o the Pinnacle; o God's Window where you will be able to look over the escarpment to the "Low Veld" area; o Lisbon and Berlin Falls; o Bourkes Luck Pot holes, a natural phenomena; o 3 Rondavels in the Blyde River Canyon; * A quick refreshment stop in the village of Graskop ("Grass Top") for some of its infamous Harry's Pancakes. * At the same time, we take some time out for the more adventurous in the group to ride the "swing" an amazing "ride" down the canyons. * After this we hop over to the Mac Mac falls, * Lunch is in the quaint village of Pilgrims Rest. Pilgrims Rest was a famous mining town on the gold route, and has been completely restored to its original splendour. * A group photo is taken here as a memento of your trip. * After lunch, a short ride over Robbers Pass back to our chalets at Crystal Springs.
Total Distance: 330 km
09:00 departure from Crystal Springs to our next overnight stop at Magoebaskloof. * This will take us back through Graskop via Tzaneen to the beautiful Magoebaskloof mountains. * You are now in tropical country and on the edge of the Kruger Park, one of the largest wildlife parks in the world. * Lunch stop in Tzaneen, and then on to the hotel * Rest of the day at leisure
Total Distance: 440 km
The home leg. Depart Magoebaskloof at 09:00 * We travel via Pietersburg (originally named after the Boer leader, Piet Retief and now renamed Polokwane) * South along the N1 motorway towards Johannesburg. * This route takes us through the "High Veld" area known as the Waterberg and through small towns such as Mokopane (previously Potgietersrust named after another Boer leader by the name of Potgieter), Mookgophong (Naboomspruit), Bela-Bela (Warmbaths) and on to the Harley-Davidson dealership in Pretoria for a light lunch. * After lunch, a quick detour to view the Voortrekker Monument, a legacy from the Apartheid years. * Then the home stretch to Johannesburg and City Lodge.
Depending on flight times, we will collect you from the B&B for a short trip out to Hartbeespoort Dam, * Back via the village of Magaliesberg for a "goodbye" lunch. * Once back in Johannesburg we will arrange for your airport transfers * Leaving you with some wonderful memories of South Africa. back