While a trip to White River in Mpumalanga will always include a stop at the Kruger National Park, spotting the Big Five is not all the town has to offer. The beautiful, rural countryside is peppered with scenic waterfalls, magnificent mountains, lush valleys and animals that call it home - a wonderful place to explore with plenty of adventure.
Mike Jameson, general manager at Destiny Lodge White River by Bon, shares his top six things to do in White River. Adding, “There is something for everyone and this makes for a great family destination.”
More than the Big Five
The self-drive Reptile Route sounds more horrifying than it actually is and whilst you can stop off at Perry’s Reptile Park, this short day-trip slithers its way through the Mpumalanga Lowveld offering plenty more to do and see – the views alone are spectacular. Animal-lovers will enjoy the Dinosaur Park and Chimpanzee Eden, which is set on a 1,000ha game reserve and is home to chimpanzees that have been displaced from their natural habitat – bringing the world of these extraordinary primates closer to people through education, tourism and modern technology.
You auto do this
If it’s cars you are into, then a stop at the Antique Car Museum is a must – the museum is an impressive three-level complex with over 2 000m2
of floor space showcasing over 60 automobiles from as early as 1911, allowing you to get up close and personal with these grand dames of yesteryear.
And the adventure doesn’t stop there, as you move from above-ground to the underground at Sudwala Caves, which formed some 240 million years ago. An hour-long tour of the caves is run throughout the day and a monthly five-hour-long Crystal Tour takes visitors 2,000 metres into the cave. If you time it right, you could be lucky enough to take in a concert or play – in the main hall The Amphitheatre; its sheer size and natural air conditioning make it an ideal performing arts venue.
Orange is the new grape
On your way back, Jameson recommends orange wine-tasting – yip, they use oranges instead of grapes at Rottcher Orange Winery located on Casterbridge Farm. Using an age-old tradition of fermentation, they have created a range of unique drinks that incorporate natural zest and goodness. You may even get to meet the distiller himself, Frank Theron, whose innovation and passion for the industry is inspiring.
You’ll no doubt be hungry after driving around, taking in all the sights and sounds, and there are a variety of restaurants to satiate growling tummies, suggests Jameson. “Do stop by Zamani, the in-house restaurant at Destiny Lodge White River by Bon – they have just launched a delicious new menu,” he says. Or you can tuck into something delectable at Daloose Mongoose, Magnolia, Gumtreez and 64 Coolmore.
The outskirts of White River and further afield in Nelspruit, Sabie and Hazyview are also home to many more wonders and attractions from adventure sports to cultural tours, shopping malls, waterfalls and more.