Being the country’s top inland tourism destination doesn’t simply mean that Mpumalanga is pretty to look at. Conservation efforts in the province, particularly in the Kruger Lowveld region, not only make for stunning photo ops, but offer exciting educational tours the whole family can enjoy.
The Skukuza Indigenous Plant Nursery is situated between the Skukuza staff village and the Skukuza golf course, and is definitely worth stopping at if you’re visiting the Kruger National Park.
The nursery, which is run by the Scientific Services Department of SANParks, is a centre for botanical research and runs a wide range of programmes for the entire park. It educates visitors, staff members and schoolchildren about the Lowveld’s botanical heritage, biodiversity and global trends in plant conservation.
The nursery hosts over 185 Kruger National Park plant species. These include trees, shrubs and aloes, as well as critically endangered species. Members of the public can buy plants from the nursery, which is open on weekdays, weekends and public holidays (except Christmas Day).
Visitors can also view a rehabilitated wetland area from the nursery’s wetlands boardwalk, and view the birds and animals that live in the habitat.
The Lowveld National Botanical Garden, which has the largest collection of cycads on the continent and a cycad gene bank, also focuses on plant conservation.
The garden, the only national botanical garden in Mpumalanga, also boasts one of the largest collections of South African fig trees. Look out for the yellow bush lilies.
The garden’s layout is shaped by the Crocodile and Nels rivers. Visitors can view spectacular waterfalls where the rivers converge from various viewpoints, including a suspended bridge. You’ll be in for a treat if the Crocodile River is low, because interesting geological formations are visible on the riverbed.