Mariepskop Nature Reserve, located on the eastern side of the Drakensberg Escarpment, is a must-visit destination for nature lovers. The reserve boasts the highest peak in the northern Drakensberg, Mariepskop Mountain, standing at a towering 1,945 meters above sea level. The summit offers spectacular views of the Indian Ocean and the Blyde River Canyon on clear days.
Not only is the mountain visually striking, but it also boasts an incredible biodiversity. The mountain’s history of military service, with a radar station, microwave tower, and fire look-out posts on its summit, has kept development in the area to a minimum, preserving the natural wilderness. The foothills of the mountain are located in Savannah and the slopes are adorned with pristine montane forest, kloofs, and crags. The mountain is also the source of the Klaserie River, which flows through the valley below.
At the summit of the mountain, visitors can find a unique combination of tropical mist forest and fynbos, with over 2,000 plant species and 1,400 floral species. This botanical wonder results in an unusual collection of animals in the reserve, including the endemic Mariepskop dwarf chameleon and a flat gecko specific to the reserve, known as the three rondavels flat gecko. The samango monkey, South Africa’s only forest monkey, also calls this remote wilderness home.
Mariepskop Nature Reserve is not well-known among tourists, making it an ideal destination for those looking for a secluded getaway. The reserve is managed by the Department of Water Affairs and Forestry, who offer basic overnight camping or chalets and require permits for hiking or birdwatching. The reserve offers various hiking trails, such as the Bushpig, Loerie, and Magi Day trails, which are best explored with a guide. Birdwatchers can spot an extraordinary number of birds that are difficult to find elsewhere, such as Gurney’s sugarbird and the Cape canary. The combination of bushveld, montane forest, and fynbos is a birdwatcher’s paradise, and raptors can often be seen on the peak.
Mariepskop Nature Reserve offers a diverse range of activities and attractions for visitors to experience. One of the most popular destinations is the Horseshoe Falls, located along the Sabie River in the Mpumalanga Province. These falls can be found 4 kilometers off the Old Lydenburg Road and are signposted on the left side. A small entrance fee is required to view the Horseshoe Falls.
The Horseshoe Falls got its name due to its unique shape, resembling a horseshoe. Despite not being particularly high, the falls are an exquisite sight, and have been declared a national monument. Visitors can take a short walk through the beautiful terrain to reach the falls, and along the way, have the opportunity to spot a variety of magnificent birdlife and other wildlife.
After taking in the sights, visitors can enjoy a picnic and swim in the refreshing pools or try their hand at trout fishing. The Horseshoe Falls is a peaceful and tranquil destination, perfect for those looking for an escape from the busyness of daily life.
In addition to the Horseshoe Falls, Mariepskop Nature Reserve offers a variety of hiking trails, birdwatching opportunities, and chances to spot rare animals. The reserve is a must-see destination for nature enthusiasts, with its natural beauty and unique flora and fauna. Be sure to include the Horseshoe Falls in your itinerary when visiting Mariepskop Nature Reserve.
Mariepskop Nature Reserve offers a wide range of activities and attractions for visitors to enjoy, one of them being the awe-inspiring God’s Window. Located on the Drakensberg escarpment in Mpumalanga, God’s Window offers a panoramic view of the Lowveld, with breathtaking views of canyons, rock formations, and waterfalls. The view from God’s Window has captivated and inspired countless painters and photographers from around the world, and it’s easy to see why it’s called “God’s Window.”
God’s Window gets its name from the panoramic view of the Lowveld, which lies more than 900 meters below. The majestic cliffs plunge over 700 meters to the Lowveld and private game reserves, making the area one of South Africa’s main wildlife destinations. God’s Window is a small part of a 250-kilometer-long earthwork of sheer cliffs and extravagant beauty, where visitors can observe the hills and forests as far as the eye can see.
God’s Window is a must-see destination for visitors to Mariepskop Nature Reserve. Mpumalanga is known as Paradise Country, with its breathtaking scenic splendor, making it a perfect spot for photography and painting. Please note that the dirt road from the foot of the mountain to the forestry office requires a high clearance vehicle. Don’t miss the opportunity to explore the natural beauty of Mariepskop Nature Reserve and discover the unique flora and fauna that call it home.