Mpumalanga is partially home to the well-known Kruger National Park (KNP) and is best known for its abundant wildlife, unique South African culture such as Ndebele, Pedi, Shangaan and Afrikaners, breathtaking landscapes and mountains. The Kamoka Route covers areas such as Kwamhlanga, Siyabuswa, Greater Marble Hall, Groblersdal, Stoffberg, Roossenekal and other small towns and villages.
The region in which this route is located is known as the Cultural Heartland, which is one of the seven registered tourism regions of Mpumalanga Province. The route lies in what was once called the ‘Kwandebele Homeland‘, which means the area was given to the Ndebele people by the apartheid government in its failed Bantustan policy. Other tribes such as the Pedi, Swazi and Tsonga live in the area, but this route is mainly about the Ndebele people who are dominant in the area. There could not be a better way to unite the people of this region than by the name they chose to be called – Kamoka.
Kamoka Route area is located in a malaria-free region. However, because it is en route to the Kruger National Park in the Limpopo and Mpumalanga Provinces, those travelling to the park may be exposed to malaria, so please consult your doctor about the medication you will need to take before and after leaving the park.
Reasons to visit:
Adventure tourism has become a major tourist attraction in Mpumalanga Province. Such adventures include river rafting, microlighting, rock climbing, mountain biking, cycle touring, hunting, canoeing and kayaking, paragliding and 4×4 trails.
This route has some uniquely South African features. The Loopspruit Estate Wines, the northernmost vineyards in South Africa, are on this route. The world renowned Ndebele female artists, who are keeping the Ndebele culture alive, are in this route and the only western church commissioned to be painted in colourful Ndebele colours is in the heart of this route. The famous Ndebele Twin Sisters who were commissioned by British Airways to create a design for the markings on its intercontinental aircraft are from within this route.
The Kruger National Park (KNP) offers a very special environmental experience to visitors, enabling them to observe the interaction of species in this outstanding conservation area, where the Big Five are found. The diverse attractions of the KNP have been enjoyed and explored for the past century after it was created in 1898 by President Paul Kruger to preserve the country’s diminishing wildlife. Expansion over the years has brought the park to its present size and, with the number of tourists increasing annually, amenities and accommodation have been improved to cater for the high standards demanded by travellers abroad and locally.
At the Mapoch Caves parking lot there is a bronze statue of Nyabela, erected by the Ndebele people in commemoration of his heroic stand. When the statue was erected in 1970 it was said to be the first statue of a black man in what was claimed to be a white area. The walk up to the caves is quite stiff but visitors are rewarded with splendid views, prolific bird life and an opportunity to view Nyabela’s fortifications.
Famous Ndebele Twin Sisters:
The home and village (Wolvwekraal) of the famous Ndebele twin sisters, Emily and Martha Masanabo, is located in the heart of this route. Their dynamic mural and beadwork designs have drawn attention to an innovative art type that is unique to the Ndebele people, both in the use of vibrant colours and in the boldness of design. These two artists have both been acknowledged for their artistic talent, having been commissioned by British Airways to create a design for the tail markings on one of its Boeing 747 intercontinental jet aircraft.
Loopspruit Estate Wine:
A touch of the Western Cape in Mpumalanga. When one thinks about South Africa’s finest wines, what does one think about? The rustic serenity of green vineyards and elegant thatched gables? Wine tasting with the personal attention of an experienced cellar master?
Loopspruit Estate Wines offers you a touch of Cape viticulture less than an hour’s drive from Gauteng. About 30km north of Bronkhortspruit in the bushveld lie the white, thatched buildings of Loopspruit, South Africa’s most northerly wine estate, where wine has been produced since 1969. The estate is conveniently located across the road next to the Ndebele Cultural Village, where guided tours are provided and a wide variety of traditional Ndebele art as well as beadwork are on sale.
Today the estate boasts 20.5ha of vines that include five white cultivars, Chenin Blanc, Chardonnay, Colombard, Maison Blanc and Muscat de Alexandre; and two red cultivars, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cinsaut, which yield about 230 tons each year. Loopspruit’s cellar master goes to great lengths to produce wines of the highest quality, in the best tradition of South African viticulture.
Loopspruit is also well known for its Witblits and Mampoer. A glass full of folklore – moonshine, white smoke, or firewater, call it what you may, witblits and mampoer are as much part of African folklore as biltong and waatlemoenkonfyt.