Written by Cyril Klopper
Photography by Pedro Albuquerque
I hope someone is meeting you at O.R. Thambo International Airport because it can be a bit hectic and tricky to get out of.
The drive to the provincial border should go quick. The N12 highway is good and the users are mostly courteous (compared to my city anyway). Be on the lookout for speed cameras and traffic officials trapping offenders.
The western part is cold and dry. The towns of Middelburg, Standerton and Secunda for instance are industrial towns and not much to look at. Some of the towns will be inhabited predominantly by white people speaking Afrikaans (but able to speak English) and some will have a largely black population speaking Zulu or Sotho (but mostly able to speak English).
Towns in this part of Mpumalange usually have a population between 10,000 to 80,000 people. There are smaller farming communities like Leandra with barely enough people to fill a tennis court.
The eastern part is lush and green. It is far more touristy and there are a lot of privately owned game reserves as well as the lower section of the famousKruger National Park. Places like Graskop, Nelspruit and Barberton are reasonably nice.
The province is littered with historical sites and small mines left over from the gold rush. Unfortunately many towns are also littered with plastic bags and other waste.
The roads are mostly okay but there are a few pot holes that the municipalities aren’t getting around to fixing fast enough.
I’m in the area often enough but due to the nature of my visit I don’t really get to chat to the locals, so I can’t tell you what the mood is like.
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Photography was taken from the following Flickr album: https://www.flickr.com/photos/fragolife/albums/72157655474515876/with/23981035646/