An Unforgettable #SAExperience in Mpumalanga and Durban
By Linda Orajekwe
Celebrities, Influencers, Media and two lucky winners from the #MySAExperience Competition from both Nigeria and Ghana began their plunge into the world of adventure and glamour in the iconic province of Mpumalanga in South Africa.
Just in case you didn’t know, Mpumalanga means ‘Place of the Rising Sun’ and believe us when we tell you that the beautifully sculptured city is a must-see for everybody.
It was therefore not surprising to see the group eager to take on Mpumalanga – after a 6 hour trip to J’burg, and a 55 min connecting flight to Nelspruit Kruger Mpumalanga Int’l airport. everyone can do with something to eat and the first stop is lunch.
Lunch is made up of a deliciously creative cocktail mixes and sumptuous meals at Kuka Café in the sub-tropical town of Hazyview, Mpumalanga (located in Hazyview, Mpumalanga about a 40 minute ride from Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport ).
The gang then head on to “home” for the next few days; a luxurious accommodation at Casa do Sol Resort where they enjoyed sessions of invigorating spa treatments, and settled into a evening of fine wine, happy talks and bonding.
The day kicks off early the next day with a visit to Bourke’s Luck, an iconic attraction nestled in the heart of Mpumalanaga. Bourke’s luck forms the meeting point of the Treur River and the Blyde River which are known to the locals as the river of happiness and the river of sadness.
It is also believed that if you washed your feet in the river, your fortunes will change.
Back to tour bus that conveyed the influencers, they were whisked off to the next destination – the Panorama Route Tour – to explore the spectacular mountains at Mpumalanga.
The Panorama Route started at Nelspruit and included highlights such as God’s Window, Blyde River Canyon, Three Rondavels & Bourke Lucks potholes. Stunning views, colourful rock formations, breath-taking landscape, these are just a few words to capture the sights from the Panorama Tour.
If the group could have stayed here all day soaking in the sights and sounds, they sure would have but we had plenty more in store for them. From the Panorama Tour, the influencers visited the Shangana Cultural Village where they were able to see first-hand, the rich heritage and cultural diversity of South Africa.
The village is bursting with filled with a variety of traditional handcrafted art on display, it was truly as sight to behold.
From clay and stone pieces, to carving and statues, the richness of the Shangana culture was well appreciated by the group.
They were also hosted to a festival of sonorous singing, acting and dancing that showcased the spectacular stories of the Shangana tribe, the king wasn’t around and so his brother played host by welcoming the guests and also taking time out to pictures which each guest.
After what was a long but exciting day, the group rounded up the visit with sumptuous dinner of a Boma Braai, back at Casa Dol Sol. The Boma Braai is a strong tradition in S.A, it is an open-air space set round a fire place and is the perfect evening chill spot with lots to eat and make merry with.
Ready to explore more of the beautiful province of Mpumalanga, the influencers were shown the adventurous side of the province.
With great boldness and adrenaline pumping with full force, they took part in activities such as zip lining & the big swing. Laughter, screams of joy, excitement at facing their fears and clicking of the camera shutter were some of the results of exhilarating day and also the end of the group’s visit to Mpumlanga.
After all that excitement, the group can’t quite believe their luck on where they have snagged for lunch – Panorama Chalets & Rest Camp Graskop. The View restaurant at the Panorama Chalets & Rest Camp is situated on the Mpumalanga Escarpment, and is truly magical. All was well with the world!
Heading off to the historic city of Durban, the group were ready to explore the major attractions within the city – When we tell you that Durban has quite a number of attractions that makes it the ultimate destination for anyone coming into South Africa.
First stop SHOPPING at the Gateway Theatre of Shopping. The “Gateway” is a shopping centre located on Umhlanga Ridge in Umhlanga, north of Durban, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, it is one of the top 50 largest malls in the world. Everyone is keen to pick up their ‘Sunday best’ for the world famous “Durban July”, as the fashion stakes were very high indeed – with various fashion awards on offer.
The Durban July Handicap is a South African Thoroughbred horse race held annually on the first Saturday of July since 1897 at Greyville Racecourse in Durban, KwaZulu-Natal. Raced on turf, the Durban July Handicap is open to horses of all ages, everyone dresses to nines for it, and fashionistas battled it out for the coveted “Best Dressed” titles.
A-listers, musicians and the general public turned heads with their fabulous choice of hat for this premier horse racing event, it is the ultimate in glamorous entertainment. Everyone is tired, but thoroughly entertained and still stay alert for more exploration of Durban’s captivating night life.
When in Durban, an afternoon on it’s Promenade is a must, the group enjoyed relaxing activities such as the segway, rickshaw rides, and cycling, while taking in the sights of the beachfront .
The next stop was the Ushaka Marine and a Culinary lunch Experience onboard the Phantom Ship!
The group literally dinned with the sharks in one of Durban’s most spectacular settings, offering the most unique and sophisticated ambiance. Nestled in the stern of the Phantom Ship, with superb views of the ocean and shark tank, so one is literally dinning with the sharks. Spanning over 15 hectares of prime beach front, Ushaka Marine World is unarguably the largest Marine Theme park in the continent.
With another unforgettable day ahead of them, the influencers enjoyed some leisure time and were driven to have another delightful experience of a boat cruise. A sunset boat cruise in Durban! KwaZulu Natal, South Africa is magical!!
This 2 hour cruise from Wilson’s wharf was amazing, there is a great view the boats in the Harbour when you arrive. Great food, lots to drink, perfect summer vibes. Taking in the remarkable city sights over sumptuous plated menus, glamorous canapés and a variety of exotic wine selection, the cruise experience was really a unique one.
You shouldn’t visit Durban and miss out the botanic gardens or the Local Zulu Market in Victoria street, as well as the Phezulu Safari Park.
The Botanic Gardens – Africa’s Oldest Surviving Botanic Garden. the Durban Botanic Gardens (Est. 1849) is currently Africa’s oldest surviving botanic garden and remains a national and local City asset actively contributing to plant conservation and plant-based education. It’s been around since 1849 – it is over 159 years old! It’s the perfect Sunday relaxation spot, but of course, lots of click click of the camera for that perfect shot.
At Victoria Street Market, the group were yet again immersed into the depth of the diversity of the South African culture. On display in different locations around the local market were exotic and unique artefacts, as well as hand-carved items from all over Africa.
Phezulu Safari Park: The Phezulu Safari Park is just an over 30mins drive from Durban, situated in the magnificent Valley of 1000 Hills. The group took a tour of the private game drive, taking in the beauty of the animals in their habitat.
After a time of sightseeing and, of course, shopping, they ended the evening, a quiet dinner at the Southern sun Elangeni & maharani was the perfect round up to what was a memorable and activity filled trip which they won’t forget in a hurry.