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Immerse Yourself, with Mussiros South Africa Sightseeing Tour, on the landscapes that shape the birthplace of Humankind. We all know that humankind started in Africa, but did you know that also first plants producing oxygen were in South Africa? Did you know that the third largest canyon in the world is down here? Did you know that Mpumalanga region is the richest area in waterfalls? Many natural wonders to be discovered in our neighbor country. We will share them with you! 🙂
World of wonders, here is where we live. And we would like to show you some those pretty landscapes during this 2-days adventure.
Day 1 of South Africa Sightseeing Tour
We will leave Maputo early, at 6 a.m., and drive towards the border for South Africa, where we will probably spend around thirty minutes. Then we will continue our driving to Sudwala Caves, a hole in the middle of the mountains with many secrets that you will only find out here.
One of the desks at this point will be host you for breakfast. They prepare delicious cakes (Nutella, carrot…) and lovely coffee; just make sure there are not Vervet monkeys around to join your meal.
From here we will continue to different spots for waterfalls, being Mac Mac the highest ones, where the water jumps down into a stunning green canyon. We will take you to others, but they are our secret, so you have to wait until being here.
If you are hungry, we will take you to most famous place for pancakes, but if not, we can make a short break to let you buy some small things, and you will keep your appetite for an early dinner.
We will say bye bye to the day at two places that overlook the Lowveld, where Kruger National Park is and also Mozambique and Eswatini behind the mountains.
Then we will take you to a Spar to buy some fresh food that you can cook at lovely house, or we can drive you to a restaurant; your wish is our command. You choose. 🙂
Day 2 of South Africa Sightseeing Tour
No rush for waking up early, but if yesterday was great, today is super great.
You can get ready for a breakfast at the restaurant of the hotel or prepare your own in your house (more recommendable; and we will help you). Then, go to gangway to get a marvelous view over an amazing gorge. You can walk around to the other side of the gorge to get a different panoramic from the elevator on the other side. If you want to go down, we will give you free time for it and help you with the entrances.
From there, we will drive to a place very demanded in the past for gold, and where the river of happiness and river of sadness find each other. The fairy rock formations in the area are simply beautiful. You’ve never seen something like this. And this is the starting point for the third largest canyon of the world, where we will finish our tour. Blyde River Canyon takes your breath away. Prepare your biggest WOW for this place.
From there, we will start driving back to Maputo, but we will make a stop at some point for lunch.
If you are a lover of landscape, history, culture and scenery, the panorama route is perfect for you and you can enjoy it any day of the week.
The panorama route is a scenic road in South Africa connecting several cultural and natural points of interest and is located in the Mpumalanga province. Centered around the Blyde River Canyon, the world’s third-largest canyon, it features numerous waterfall and several natural landmarks.
Our tour starts at Maputo at 6:00 am. We will pick you from any point of your choice and our tour includes transport, guide, tolls, entrances and accommodation. Please bring hat/cap, sunscreen and personal drinks –we will carry a cooler box. This is a 2 days/one night tour. After signing all the necessary documents, photo disclaimer and indemnity forms we will depart Maputo at exactly 6:00 am heading to South African border; bring your passport and make sure it has a double or multi-entry visa, if it does not be prepared to apply for a new visa on your way back from South African on Mozambican border, and you will need to pay $50, have a proof of accommodation and invitation letter with you.
After an hour and half of driving we will arrive at the border, Ressano Garcia, where we will stop to stamp our passports both on the Mozambican side and South African side, taking us more or less 30 minutes, depending always on how busy the border will be that day. When we finish with stamping we will get back in our vehicle and continue with our journey.
Most places accept master cards but it’s always good to have some few cash in Rands, just in case you need to buy something where cards are not accepted as you will probably be interested in some of the curios stores we will find in our way.
After crossing South African border we will have our first quick stop to use the bathroom and exchange some money, stretch our legs and have some coffee; 10 minutes should be enough as we still have a long way to go, so we don’t want to waste much time because wonders are waiting for us.
We will drive passing Nelspruit town (Nelspruit is the capital of Mpumalanga province, formerly called Mbombela) and soon we will arrive at Sudwala Caves, the first stop during our Panorama Route. These huge natural holes in the middle of the mountains were formed about 240 million years ago, and in its interior, we find a number of speleothem structures, known by names such as “Lowveld Rocket”, “Samson Pillar” and “the Screaming Monster”, and some have been dated to 200 million years old. There are also fossils of a cyanobacterium known as Collenia (colonies of blue-green algae also known as stromatolites) in the rock which were formed 2000 million years ago and responsible for the very initial oxygen production that we breathe today.
The caves were used for shelter in pre-historic times, probably due in part to a constant supply of fresh air from an unknown source in the caves. In the nineteenth century, the Sudwala Caves were used by Somguba, the brother of the Swazi King, as a fortress, in a power struggle for the Swazi throne; many blood battles were fought at the cave entrance. During the early ’80s the Somguba came to know of the caves in times of conflicts and he and his followers would take the refuge there, with their cattle, they stock-pilled food and plenty of water, like that the caves made a strong refugee camp.
After the visit to the cave, you can have some coffee or something to eat at the Sudwala Cave’s restaurant before we carry-on with our expedition. They are really good at waffles.
From here we will carry on to the Mac Mac Falls, getting its name Mac Mac because they are on the Mac Mac River. This river was named by president Thomas Burgers, who named it after the many Scots who panned the river in search of gold; from the top, you are able to see the falls plunge down 65 meters to the depths below. These are the highest waterfalls in the Panorama Route and are very close to the widest ones, the Forest Falls, which hide in the bush and not always is possible to reach them.
Then we will visit the town of Pilgrim’s Rest, consisting of a small museum town in the Mpumalanga province and protected as a heritage site. This village was the second of the Transvaal goldfields, attracting prospectors in the 1870s. Pilgrim’s Rest was a gold mining camp way back in the 1870s and was founded because of the discovery of alluvial gold in the valley. The pilgrims who came to rest here were the gold prospectors and their spirit echoed off the hillside. The main street of this early mining settlement lives on its heritage, and where you expect to find at least six bars to quench the thirst of the gold panner. You will feel in the Wild Far West and as a time traveler. Don’t miss the graveyard at the background, where every single grave was laid facing in the same direction (for sunrise and sunset), except for the traditional Robber’s Grave which is laid in a different angle, not facing the rising sun, with the large type words of “Robber’s Grave”. We will explain to you the reason in place and share a very important lesson in life we should never forget. 😀
From there we will visit The Pinnacle, a massive rock of 30 meters high. This impressive formation is the leftover from walls on both sides. The Earth suffered a big crack when the Gondwana plate was split in different continents and valleys were formed here without mercy, leaving also an incredible waterfall that you can step on from its top.
Leaving The Pinnacle behind, and just a few kilometers ahead, we reach God’s Window, an amazing natural breathless window to the Loweveld and protected by endless cliffs more than 900m down into the lush indigenous forest. It’s an impressive view with rainforest at the end of its way (and after many steps), where you can walk and enjoy its endemic birds around and feel like lost in the jungle for a while.
From here we will drive to Graskop, a small town set up in the 1880s as a gold mining camp but serving now as a tourist destination and a timber industry. The name Graskop is an Afrikaans name meaning grassy hillock and we will sleep here, in this cozy area.
If we still have time today, we will take you to Graskop’s Gorge and this will mark the end of day one on the trip, where you will open your mouth one more time for a very sincere WOW. You will have free time here and decide if you want to take part in some of the activities offered around, including big swing, zip line, suspension bridges, viewing lifts, skyway trails… There is also a curio shops and café. The viewing lift takes visitors almost 51 meters down the face of the gorge into the forest below, where wooden walkways and suspension bridges meander along 600 meters trail through the indigenous forest. And we can even leave you here as our hotel is on the other side of the gorge and you can easily reach by crossing the 600 meters suspension bridge. 😀
Our hotel has a swimming pool and a restaurant so enjoy the rest of your day and get ready for tomorrow.
Day 2 starts soon after breakfast; breakfast is served at 07:30 which means around 8:30 am we start our adventure, the early the better as more surprises are waiting for us and starting our day with Lisbon Falls. These falls -named after the Portuguese capital- falls 94 meters from its top and is situated about 6km south of The Pinnacle, can you see the pregnant woman behind its water curtain? And has as a neighbor the Berlin Falls, jumping into a huge pool and receiving people for adventure sports like walking through a rope from its top.
Once we finish here, we will proceed to Blyde River Canyon Nature Reserve, where we will visit the Bourke’s Luck Potholes where the River of Happiness (Blyde River) and the River of Sadness (Treur River) meet together creating fairy holes and stunning rock formations in this area. The potholes occur where the Treur River joins the Blyde River at the start of the Blyde River Canyon, in a continuing and centuries-old spectacle; the force of the water in these two rivers, combined with the particles of sand and rock that the rivers transport, wears cylindrical potholes into the sandstone bedrock. This is also the place where the Blyde Canyon starts and you will have time to appreciate and walk along with these wonders and even to bath your legs in this cold water.
After we will drive straight to the Three Rondavels, the gate to the Blyde River Canyon. Exactly as the name sound, the Three Rondavels are three round mountain tops with slightly pointed tops, very similar to the traditional round Africa homesteads made with local materials called rondavels. These three rondavels represent the three wives of a chief in this area years ago. The viewpoint is spectacular, almost one kilometer down. From the top 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 quartzite and shale rondavels; whatever their origin is, they are undoubtedly breathtaking. The Three Rondavels are a highlight of any trip along the third largest canyon in the world.
Around 12:00 pm we will start to drive back to Graskop and we will stop at the famous place for pancakes where you can choose a salty pancake for lunch and a delicious sweet pancake as a dessert. Then, we will start our drive back to Maputo where we expect to arrive around 19:00 latest.
You will find Jose mostly on Maputo Special Reserve, Limpopo and Kruger Park, stay tuned.. you will notice when you hear that Portuguese or English word with that special Spanish accent… BENGA! 🙂