Those who can afford to take a holiday will find themselves at the usual places – Durban and Cape Town. But if you’re not dead set on refilling your 2-litre bottle with sea water, you might want to take a sho’t left to destinations that offer you the peace of mind you deserve at affordable prices.
I set out to find some peace of my own. Mpumalanga, a thoroughfare to KwaZulu-Natal, has some hidden gems.
For the believers, the attractions provide a closer connection to God, but even non-believers will be left in awe of Mother Nature’s sheer brilliance.
You can access God’s Window at Blyde River Canyon Nature Reserve for R65, which is a reasonable fee as the heavenly views of the sun-kissed Drakensburg Escarpment are priceless.
The track into the rainforest near God’s Window is worth it – your legs will get toned and the panoramic views will take your breath away.
Up in the heights and away from the throngs at God’s Window, the solitude will leave you to your own thoughts and nature.
However, the Mac-Mac Falls in Sabie were a huge disappointment for me. But, with an entrance fee of only R15, I couldn’t throw a fit even if I wanted to.
The falls are okay, but the big cage on the viewing platform takes away from the experience.
The best views, in my opinion, and the best bang for my buck, were from the Three Rondavels in Graskop.
Arguably offering better views than God’s Window, its also much cheaper – the entrance fee is only R35.
The Graskop Gorge Lift experience is perhaps the most expensive. Do some zip lining, take a big swing and a lift 51m down the face of the gorge into the forest below.
At R450, it is more than what you pay to experience God’s Window, the Three Rondavels and Bourke’s Luck Potholes combined, but the adrenaline hit is worth it.
But if you choose your destinations wisely, experiencing Mpumalanga will not break the bank.
Getting there by road can be costly, and so is driving to different attractions, as most are an hour away from each other.
If you are not a fan of driving in the dark, plan your outings accordingly to ensure that you are back at base before sunset.
There are logging trucks everywhere, which can make driving down the twisties along the Panorama Route a harrowing experience.
Accommodation, if you are not too picky, is affordable.
The three-night stay cost me about R1 000 at the Terebinte Guest Farm in Graskop. Situated close to most attractions I wanted to check out, it worked out perfectly.
Mpumalanga has so much to offer that I didn’t have a chance to experience the big attraction – the Kruger National Park.
Between the Three Rondavels, Bourke’s Luck Potholes and Sudwala Caves near Mbombela, you will get all the relaxation and fresh air you need.