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Webmaster's Note:
Although the crime rate in the area is low, petty theft does occur from time to time.  You are advised to lock your parked vehicles.

Short, day-trip drives from Sabie

Reptile Route

Recommended for rainy days The Reptile Route is a favourite route, especially when inclement weather boycott some of the other day trips from Sabie.

 It covers the Sudwala caves and dinosaur park, reptile park, casino, botanical garden, three different cultural villages, as well as the towns of Mbombela/Nelspruit, White River and Hazyview.

Sudwala Caves EducationalFun activityToilet facilities
Sudwala Caves is less than 50km from Sabie. Drive from Sabie towards Lydenburg on the R532 and take the R37 turnoff to Mbombela/Nelspruit, 9km from Sabie. Continue along the R37 for 20km before turning off on the R539 at Rosehaugh. Follow the R539 for 16km and turn right at the T-junction.  The Sudwala Caves and Dinosaur Park is a further 2 km.

Screaming Monster The magnificent Sudwala Caves contain the largest dolomite chamber in the world.  This chamber, the Owen Hall, is a natural amphitheatre of about 70m in diameter and 37m in height.  The tourist route through the subterranean complex is approximately 600m long.  Cool, fresh air from an unknown source circulates through the spacious corridors and mammoth halls, ensuring visitors a comfortable walk past weirdly shaped, illuminated stalagmites and stalactites.

The caves are open 7 days a week with guided tours every hour (on the hour). By prior arrangement a 6-hour tour to the Crystal Chamber is conducted on Saturdays. The Dinosaur Park, Swazi Tribal Village, curio shops and a restaurant are all located on the premises.
Times: 08:30 - 16:30
Fees: R95/adult, R80/pensioner, R50/child (6 to 16 years)

Dinosaur Park EducationalToilet facilities
Dinosaur The Dinosaur Park at the Sudwala Caves is set in a lush tropical garden. It contains life-sized, scientifically accurate models of pre-historic animals.  The Park, with its collection of animals, tells the story of the development of life on earth.  It hosts animals as diverse as the ancient amphibious and mammal-like reptiles, dinosaurs, extinct mammals, pre-historic man and more.
Times: 08:30 - 17:00
Fees: R70/adult, R40/child

Mbombela/Nelspruit City Toilet facilities
From Sudwala Caves follow the R539 to the N4 toll-road. Turn left at the T-junction and follow the N4 for 26km into Mbombela/Nelspruit.  Mbombela/Nelspruit is situated in the fertile Crocodile River Valley at an altitude of 660m.  As the capital of the Mpumalanga province it is the industrial, legislative and economic hub of the region. With its mild winters and hot and humid summers the town's gardens, parks and streets are cloaked by a profusion of pink and purple bougainvillea, blood-red flamboyants, jacaranda and acacia trees.

Chimpanzee Eden EducationalFun activityToilet facilities
From Mbombela/Nelspruit drive on the R40 towards Barberton for 12km and then turn left at the signboard to Umhloti Lodge and JGI. The Jane Goodall Institute's Chimpanzee Eden is another 4km off the R40.

Set on a 1,000 hectare game reserve, the JGI Chimpanzee Eden is a home to chimpanzees that have been misplaced from their natural habitat. The world renowned Jane Goodall Institute has made this tranquil venue their South African sanctuary and has committed itself to the rescue and care take of chimpanzees in need of refuge. Being the first and only chimpanzee sanctuary in South Africa, this venue brings the world of chimpanzees closer to humanity through education, tourism and modern technology.

The sanctuary is open 7 days a week and offer guided 1.5 hour tours. A restaurant on the premesis serve breakfasts and lunches. Chimp feeding times are at 10:00 and 14:00.
Times: Tours at 10:00, 12:00 and 14:00
Fees: R200/adult, R160/pensioner, R90/child (3 to 12 years)

Lowveld National Botanical Garden EducationalToilet facilities
From the N4 crossing in Mbombela/Nelspruit follow the R40 towards White River and turn off right at the trafic lights just before the Riverside Shopping Mall.

Laid out on the banks of the Crocodile River, the Lowveld National Botanical Garden offers the visitor an insight into the great variety of Lowveld flora. Here indigenous plants are grown, scientifically studied, protected and shown to the public in tranquil surroundings. The man-made rain forest with its lush vegetation is well worth the visit. The Garden also boasts one of the largest collections of South African fig trees. There is also a comprehensive Lowveld Herbarium and indigenous plants are for sale at the nursery. Open 7-days a week.
Times: 08:00 - 18:00 (Sep - Mar)
           08:00 - 17:00 (Apr - Aug)
Fees: R32/adult, R17/student, R15/child, Pensioners free on Tuesdays

Cascades Waterfall
The Cascades waterfall is in the Lowveld National Botanical Garden at the confluence of the Crocodile and Nels Rivers on property once farmed by Sir Percy Fitzpatrick, author of "Jock of the Bushveld".

Emnotweni Casino Fun activityToilet facilities
The Emnotweni Casina is just off the R40 at the turn off to the Lowveld National Botanical Garden and the southern entrance to the Riverside Shopping Mall.

White River Town Toilet facilities
White River is at an altitude of 990m and has a mild subtropical climate. This picturesque town is a mass of colourful subtropical flowering shrubs such as poinsettias, hibiscus, tibouchina and bougainvillea. In 1904 the area was set aside for British ex-soldier settlers but farming was not successful because the farms were to small. In 1914 a syndicate bought up all the small holdings and planted it with citrus - the start of today's very successful industry. Today farms and orchards flourish and the air is fragrant with orange blossoms.  There are groves of pecan nut trees, mangoes, litchis, pawpaws, bananas and avocado pears around White River.

Antique Car Museum EducationalHistoric siteToilet facilities
Continue with the R40 through White River.  Turn left at the last robot in town and follow this road (still the R40) for 2 km to the Casterbridge centre.  Apart from a number of furniture, curio and arts & crafts shops, the Casterbridge Centre also houses an unique collection of antique and vintage motor cars.

Rottcher Orange Winery EducationalToilet facilities
Still at the Casterbridge centre, visit Rottcher Wineries. Established in 1959 they are the only producers of orange wine in Mpumalanga. Rottcher Wineries takes pride in the unique taste and packaging of their famous Avalencia orange and ginger liquors, as well as the addition of an Avalencia Chilli wine. Packaged in bottles or hand-made stoneware jugs these products make excellent mementos of your Lowveld holiday and are ideal as gifts.

Hazyview Town Toilet facilities
From Casterbridge continue with the R40 to Hazyview town, situated at an altitude of 610m in the Sabie River valley.

Here you can shop around at the numerous road stalls for various subtropical fruits, such as mangos, litchis, avocado pears, bananas, pawpaws, passion fruit, oranges and nuts.

Perry's Bridge Reptile Park EducationalFun activityToilet facilities
View some of South Africa and the world's most venomous snakes in park-like enclosures, designed to mimic the animals' natural environment. Species include anacondas, pythons, black & green mambas, rattlesnakes, boomslang, gaboon adders, cobras, poison dart frogs, iguanas, the ancient leopard tortoises, the huge Nile crocodiles, as well as many colourful lizards and frogs.

Children will love to meet the potbellied pigs PumPum, Peaches and Pumpkin, their goat friends Daisy and Gandalf, the peacocks Letitia and Lancelot, as well as a variety of ducks and geese.
Times: 10:00 - 17:00 (7-days a week)
           11:00 and 15:00 (Demonstrations)
           14:00 Sundays - Crocodile Feeding time
Fees: R65/adult, R40/child (under 13 years)


Travel Note:
From Hazyview you can return to Sabie via the R536 (45km back to Sabie), or you could visit the Shangaan Cultural Village if you return to Sabie via Graskop.

If you are staying until after dark at the Cultural Village the recommended route back to Sabie is back to Hazyview and then follow the R536 to Sabie.

Shangaan Cultural Village EducationalHistoric siteToilet facilities
From Hazyview you travel
north on the R40 towards Bushbuck Ridge for about 1km and turn left on the R535 towards Graskop. The Shangana Cultural Village is 4km from Hazyview.

The residents of the traditional villages of Shangana invite guests to share in the way of life of the Shangaan people. The picturesque villages are set in the shade of ancient trees in a reserve of forest and grassland. Local crafts are sold at the Marula Market village, and tours are led by trained guides.

Daytime tours takes the visitor on a winding path through fields and bush, to a village where a Shangaan family lives. The guide explains their fascinating way of life, before moving on to the Sangoma's Kraal for a lesson in traditional medicines. Midday tours enable visitors to share a meal with the Shangaan family in the village. During the Evening festival the history of the Shangaans is presented by a huge cast of choristers and dancers before dinner is served inside the huts. Prior bookings for lunch and the evening festival is essential.
Times: 09:00 - 16:00 (Day tours on the hour)
           Midday, Evening and Drumming tours by prior arrangement
Trips SA for bookings on (013) 764-1177.


Webmaster's Note:
This concludes the Reptile Route. The closeness (60km from Sabie) of the Riverside Mall and Emnotweni Casino in Nelspruit makes for a quick shopping, movie or gambling trip.

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