Mpumalanga and Swaziland have been on my bucket list for a while now. And although it is possible to go to these places alone cost effectively, I also wanted to cross off one thing on my bucket list; a girls only road trip. When a friend mentioned both could be done with this trip, I was sold. But this was a girl’s trip with a twist, I only knew 2 out of the 8 girls I went on the road trip with. We cyber met in a WhatsApp group 2 months before so this would be interesting.
Or was it?
After a lot of back and forth about transport and the cost of everything, Friday 1st February finally came. The original plan was to leave Johannesburg at 8am so that we can spend a day by the pool but we only left at 6pm due to a number of delays. Surprisingly I didn’t notice the Friday traffic, I think the excitement took over. We arrived in Graskop, Mpumalanga at 01h00 due to an unnecessary 2 hour detour. Yep, check in was 18h00. We were off to good start. And yes, I’m being sarcastic.
Anyhoo, fast forward to the arrival. We (myself and my 2 friends) got the room that no one wanted but we woke up to an amazing, breath-taking view. We were facing the mountain, with a fountain that you could hear when it was misty. After hours of admiring the view, it was breakfast time. And of course it was a champagne/mimosa breakfast. The view and the company allowed.
This trip had an itinerary; where we’re going and what we’ll see. At first I was quite resistant toward this because I prefer going with the flow. That’s my idea of a holiday, but I went with this flow and this is where it took me.
The first stop; The Big Swing
A few ladies wanted to swing and others wanted to do the jump. The jump was tempting until I saw that I had to jump backward instead of face forward. I love mystery and I’m a bit on the wild side but I’m not that wild. I have been bunjy jumping before and I appreciated seeing where I might smash my head. The few that we watched swing almost peed their pants at the other end of the swing but they were glad they did it once they came back. Also, the views from there were amazing; I could not get over the trees and mountains, with the perfect blue sky.
The Big Swing also had a touristy shop which sold touristy things like beaded necklaces and bags and old history books. And who can forget the kimono with the South African flag…
Second stop, Blyde River Canyon Nature Reserve
Pictures do not even do justice to the beauty we witnessed at God’s Window. The clouds, the mountains, the water, the light breeze. A friend of mine stood next to me while the others took pictures; we just marveled at the beautiful view. I felt tears in my eyes at some point. One of our drivers told us we wouldn’t really witness God’s Window for what it really is at that time and we need to come around 3am to literally see a window that is breathtakingly beautiful. I could believe that, if what we saw was anything to go by.
The Rain Forest
I usually don’t wear closed shoes on holiday; I either wear flip flops or sandals but on this day I was so glad I wore my sneakers. The walk from God’s Window to the Rain Forest was quiet a hike up (and down). My feet wouldn’t have survived with sandals. The distance and time it took to go up was a distant memory because of the fresh air and light sunshine heat. It was the kind of fresh air that actually made me light headed.When we finally got to the top, there were a number of people there. Most were on their phones. My friends and I got a spot, sat down and took it all in and said our silent prayers. At least I said a prayer. I am however, very grateful that Rose (one of the most interesting characters I meant) insisted that I sit at the peak, facing the amazing view while she took my phone and took lots of pictures of me. That was also one of the highlights of the trip for me.
3rd stop Bouke’s Luck Potholes
Another hiking trail. When my friends mentioned Potholes, I thought what the heck?? But when we got there, it made sense. There were literally potholes piecing through the mountain; from the top and all the way down to river. I wondered how deep those potholes were in the water but there was a seamless flow of water regardless of the potholes. Some potholes held the water in the holes, while others let the water flow in and out.
What broke my heart a bit was the litter I saw at the side of the some potholes. By the way, on the other side of the potholes was a river were I sat and let my feet hang. There were fish in the water. Can you see where I’m going with pointing out that there was fish in the water after I mentioned the litter?? Anyway, that’s a rant for another day.
Some ladies remembered to throw coins in the pothole. I hope their luck increased, I didn’t throw a coin in the river but having my feet touching the water was enough.
After that, we built up enough of an appetite for food and a pool party…
This was a beautiful way to end the day. Also, the pool was not an ordinary pool. It was a pool with a beautiful view of the mountains, and watching the sunset from there is s lovely treat.
The next day we headed to a place that was on the way back home… But first, the view from our room the next morning was just as breathtaking as the morning before. We stood outside in awe of how we got this room by default.
The Mac Mac Falls
Another hike, shorter than the others but a hike nonetheless. The walk was way more beautiful compared to the peak for some reason. I feel like the steel bars at the peak took away so much. We had to position the lens through the bars to get a decent photo. I understand they’re doing it to prevent the crazies like Kgadi from being too adventurous but it took away from the beauty. Myself and a friend Tebogo disappeared into the wood for a bit, we turned back because our feet started to itch. PS we were warned to stay on the trail because there were poisonous plants but we only saw that afterwards.
Overall; besides the technical glitches with transport and all, it was a great trip. I thought I would come back home tired, but surprisingly I was okay. I’m lying, I was full. I ticked off two things on my bucket list with this one trip; the girls only trip and my visit to Mpumalanga and I was a happy woman.
Another tip for a road trip tip, hire a driver. The trip was fun for everyone because we could all do what we wanted to do without the strain of driving. That was a champion move!