Nestled at the foothills of the magnificent Malelane Mountains, Mthethomusha Game Reserve is an 8,000-hectare sanctuary that borders the world-famous Kruger National Park. This reserve is a traveler’s paradise, attracting visitors from all over the world who come to experience its breathtaking landscapes, rich biodiversity, and cultural heritage.
One of the main attractions of Mthethomusha Game Reserve is the chance to see rare and elusive species of wildlife on night game drives. The Meller’s mongoose, large-spotted genet, and white-tailed mongoose are some of the nocturnal animals that are occasionally spotted by lucky visitors. The reserve is also home to the “Big Five” – lion, elephant, rhinoceros, buffalo, and leopard – as well as a diverse array of birdlife.
What sets Mthethomusha Game Reserve apart from other game reserves in South Africa is its innovative approach to community and conservation partnerships. It was one of the very first reserves to be established through a unique initiative by which the Tribal Authority of the Mphakeni tribe gave low-potential agricultural land over to the KaNgwane Parks Corporation for optimal and sustainable development. This approach has since become a model for close community involvement in conservation throughout the country.
The rugged terrain of Mthethomusha Game Reserve, with its granite crags and outcrops, is home to three distinct woodland vegetation types that provide a habitat for a wide variety of large wildlife species. Kudu, giraffe, zebra, sable, and nyala are among the animals that roam freely in the reserve.
Larger mammals such as buffalo, white rhino, impala, Burchell’s zebra, and common waterbuck are concentrated in the valley bottoms. Meanwhile, elephant, lion, and leopard range widely across the reserve. Visitors may also spot packs of nomadic African wild dogs that move in and out of the reserve from the adjacent Kruger National Park. Klipspringer and rock elephant-shrew can be found dwelling among the boulder outcrops.
Another fascinating aspect of Mthethomusha Game Reserve is its cultural heritage. The reserve is home to over 200 rock frescoes, created by the San (Bushman) people who once roamed these lands. These ancient artworks are a priceless legacy and offer visitors a glimpse into the rich cultural history of the area.
Popular Activities and Tourist Destinations At Mthethomusha Game Reserve
Mthethomusha Game Reserve offers a wealth of activities and points of interest for visitors to explore. Whether you’re interested in wildlife viewing, birdwatching, hiking, or cultural experiences, there’s something for everyone.
One of the most popular activities in the reserve is game viewing. Visitors can explore the park on guided game drives, where they can spot a variety of wildlife, including the “Big Five” and numerous other species. Birdwatchers will also be delighted by the variety of birdlife in the reserve, with over 340 species recorded, including African fish eagles, martial eagles, and kingfishers.
For those who enjoy hiking, there are several trails in the reserve that offer stunning views of the landscape and wildlife. The Mthethomusha Hiking Trail is a popular option, with a 22-kilometer route that takes visitors through the heart of the reserve. The trail offers a chance to spot a variety of wildlife and bird species, as well as scenic views of the mountains and surrounding landscape.
Cultural experiences are also a highlight of the reserve. The San rock art is a must-see for those interested in learning about the cultural heritage of the area. Visitors can explore the rock art sites with a guide, who will provide insight into the history and significance of the artworks.
Nearby attractions include the Kruger National Park, which is located just next to the reserve. This world-famous park is home to an incredible array of wildlife, including elephants, lions, leopards, and more. Visitors can explore the park on guided game drives or on self-drive tours.
For those interested in history, the town of Barberton is also located nearby. This historic town has a rich gold-mining heritage and is home to several historic sites, including the Barberton Museum and the Heritage Walk, which takes visitors on a journey through the town’s history.
Mthethomusha Game Reserve offers a range of activities and attractions that will appeal to visitors of all interests. Whether you’re looking to explore the wildlife and natural beauty of the area, learn about its cultural heritage, or delve into its history, there’s something for everyone to enjoy.
Duck ‘n Dive Saloon
While the Mthethomusha Game Reserve offers plenty of opportunities for wildlife viewing and outdoor activities, visitors looking for a taste of local nightlife should check out the Duck ‘n Dive Saloon in nearby Malelane.
Located in the heart of town, the Duck ‘n Dive Saloon is a popular pub with friendly staff, delicious food, and a lively atmosphere. Whether you’re travelling between cities on the Translux bus (which stops at the Sasol Garage next door), or just looking for a fun night out, the Duck ‘n Dive Saloon is a great place to stop in for a drink and a bite to eat.
The pub offers a range of services to accommodate both walk-ins and large groups, including waiter service, take-out, and catering. Visitors can also take part in pool and dart competitions, or watch big screen events with friends.
In addition to its regular offerings, the Duck ‘n Dive Saloon also hosts some of the best parties in town, with a fun and welcoming atmosphere that attracts locals and visitors alike. Be sure to keep an eye out for their fantastic specials on food and drinks.
Overall, the Duck ‘n Dive Saloon is a great option for visitors looking for a fun and welcoming local pub experience in Malelane. Whether you’re stopping in for a quick bite, a cold drink, or a night of partying and games, the Duck ‘n Dive Saloon has something for everyone.
After a day of adventure and exploring Mthethomusha Game Reserve, a visit to Hamilton’s Restaurant is a must. The restaurant is located on Riverside Farm, just outside the Kruger National Park on the Malalane Gate Road. This family-friendly eatery has a warm and inviting atmosphere that makes it perfect for families, groups of friends, and travelers passing through the area.
Hamilton’s Restaurant has a focus on local and seasonal ingredients to ensure that the dishes are fresh and flavorful. The menu is diverse, offering a variety of dishes from seafood, poultry, and red meat to venison and vegetarian options. Homemade pastas and gourmet burgers are also popular among diners. The restaurant also offers an extensive wine list that includes South Africa’s finest wines to complement your meal.
The restaurant has both indoor and outdoor dining areas, with the outdoor area perfect for families with children. Kids can play on the jungle gym or run around the giant baobab tree while parents relax and enjoy their meal. The beautiful lawns of the farm provide a serene atmosphere, making it a perfect spot for a lazy afternoon.
Mpumalanga, the province where Hamilton’s Restaurant is located, is known for its agricultural significance, natural beauty, and cultural history. The restaurant is just one of the many attractions in the area. Visitors can explore nearby towns such as Malelane, which is home to the Duck ‘n Dive Saloon, a great pub with fantastic staff and delicious food. Additionally, the Kruger National Park offers visitors the chance to see some of Africa’s most exquisite plant and animal life.
Kruger National Park
The Kruger National Park is undoubtedly the jewel in the crown of South Africa’s game reserves. Spanning across nearly 2 million hectares of land, this vast wildlife sanctuary stretches for 352 kilometres along the Mozambique border, making it larger than Israel. It is no surprise that it ranks as one of the best safari experiences in Africa.
Established in 1898, following a twelve-year crusade to conserve Lowveld wildlife by Paul Kruger, the park is a flagship of the country’s national parks. Its atmosphere is so unique that it allows visitors to immerse themselves in the unpredictability and endless wilderness that is the true quality of Africa.
The Kruger National Park lies across the provinces of Mpumalanga and Limpopo in the north of South Africa, south of Zimbabwe, and west of Mozambique. It forms part of the Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park, a peace park that links the Kruger National Park with game parks in Zimbabwe and Mozambique. Fences are coming down to allow game to roam freely, as it would have in the time before man’s intervention. The Greater Limpopo Transfrontier Park will extend across 35,000 square kilometres when complete, with 58% of it South African, 24% Mozambican, and 18% Zimbabwean territory.
The Kruger National Park is a wildlife sanctuary like no other, with its unique flora and fauna, including baobabs, fever trees, knob thorns, marula and mopane trees. The park is home to the Big Five, the Little Five, the birding Big Six, and more species of mammals than any other African Game Reserve.
Visitors can opt for a self-drive adventure or choose from a guided tour operator that provides excellent infrastructure, including picnic sites, rest camps, waterholes, and hides. There are also overnight packages and day tours available, catering to a wide range of preferences and budgets.
Kruger National Park offers an incredible experience of Africa at its wildest and most authentic. It is a must-see destination for wildlife enthusiasts and nature lovers, and a great addition to any itinerary that includes Mthethomusha Game Reserve.
Leopard Creek Golf Estate
Located just outside the Mthethomusha Game Reserve, the Leopard Creek Golf Estate is a must-visit destination for golf enthusiasts and nature lovers alike. It is considered the best wildlife/safari golfing experience in South Africa, offering a unique blend of golf and game viewing. The course borders the Kruger National Park, separated only by the crocodile river, which provides a stunning backdrop for golfers.
Despite its location in the arid and scrubby Lowveld surroundings, the golf course is a lush oasis with emerald green surfaces and white sculpted bunkers. The course was designed by Gary Player and measures in at 6665m with a parklands layout. The fairways are covered in Kikuyu grass and the greens with Bent, creating a perfect playing surface.
The course is known for its innovative architecture and landscaping, which naturally protect the golfers from the resident wildlife. However, golfers are not immune to the thrill of seeing crocodiles, hippos, antelopes, buffalos, and elephants roaming around the course. The hazards at Leopard Creek take on a whole new meaning with these sightings, making it an unforgettable experience for any safari enthusiast.
The golf course is reserved for guests and members, and visitors are limited. It is recommended to book accommodation in Malelane and tee-off ahead to avoid disappointment. The facilities at Leopard Creek are of the highest standard, including a clubhouse that offers stunning views over the course and the Kruger National Park.
Visitors to the Mthethomusha Game Reserve can enjoy a variety of other activities. The reserve offers guided game drives, bush walks, and bird watching tours. There are also numerous picnic sites, rest camps, and waterholes to enjoy.
Mthethomusha Game Reserve offers visitors an unforgettable experience of South Africa’s natural and cultural heritage. With its innovative approach to conservation and community involvement, it is a shining example of how tourism can be used to promote sustainability and positive change.