There are beautiful towns in South Africa – and then there’s Hazyview (and nearby Sabie). While Mpumalanga is often categorised as a tourist destination to see the Big 5 or go to the Kruger National Park, these towns offer much more. Sorry Kruger. They are tourist towns in every way, without the forced idea that visiting the Lowveld has to come with ticking off animals from some bingo-type pamphlet.
In fact, head here on 31 January and 1 February, and there’s a whole other beast in the water on the Sabie River because the annual tube race is held then – and it’s a trip worth taking. First off, getting there comes with scenic routes, and if you’d like to see the Big 5, your first stop should be Alzu Petroport on the N4, where you can tick off their famous rhino – and then you can spend the next few days exploring more than just the animals you’ll see on safari.
To be close to town, book into the Sabi River Sun Resort on the banks of the Sabie River. It offers self-catering and hotel accommodation, but its 18-hole golf course has made it near legendary in the area. Teeing off here is spectacular, and the lush vistas around the course and hotel makes this one of those unforgettable courses. But you don’t need golf clubs to enjoy the resort. Even the bare minimum, like a swimsuit, will get you by.
Thanks to the humid heat of the province, the five swimming pools provide endless pleasure, and the crystal-clear water has a certain siren call, meaning you will be spending time here. Hazyview needs your attention – but you don’t have to stray too far from your accommodation. On the R536, a few minutes from the resort, you can have a fun-filled day from a single venue. It’s a park and enjoy at its best.
Start at Perry’s Bridge Reptile Park where you can view some of Africa’s venomous monsters, as well as other reptiles. Now that you whetted your appetite for adventure, walk a few metres to Skyway Trails. Aerial cable trails are fun and exhilarating, and this one has mass appeal because, while some of the zip-lines are high, they’re far tamer than others around SA. Following a safety lesson, you get in a bakkie and drive up to the start point. The whole trail lasts about an hour, depending on the size of your group, and it’s unmissable.
Most of the guides are the main breadwinners in their families and it’s a great way to support tourism and the community. There are fruit and vegetable vendors along the strip, selling tropical fruits like bananas and mangoes. But the Sabie tube race is the real treat if you’re heading to this area at the end of the month. It’s for a good cause, organised by the local Round Table. Remember, though, you can’t leave Sabie without a pancake from the Smokey Train Diner.
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