The Lowveld is renowned for its fabulous physical beauty, adventurous things to do and exotic fruit but sometimes one just needs pampering and spoiling whether it’s for the stomach or the body.
Sue Adams has found the five best Mpumalanga pit stops to refuel and refresh your senses during your next road trip.
This farm stall on the N4 near Nelspruit has been around since our grandmother’s time and many of us will remember stopping there on the way to Kruger National Park. It has expanded and grown and is a definite must stop on the way in and out of Nelspruit. Founded by the original Hall family who began growing fruit in the area in the early 1900s, the farm stall has an incredible array of dried fruit, jams, nuts and sweets as well as spices, pickles and sauces. My best is the Hall’s avocados so look out for them in season as they are the tastiest around. There is also a coffee shop with a pretty garden where you can sit outside and enjoy the Lowveld atmosphere (and welcomes cyclists).
If you’re feeling the heat in Hoedspruit, then take a look at our list of places to stay cool.
Sabie Valley Coffee grows their own coffee up near Hazyview but their coffee shop and roastery is in Casterbridge Centre in White River. The roasting machine is on full display and if roasting is on the go then the smell is quite delicious. The coffee shop has a sitting out area in the Casterbridge garden but is also cosy on cold days. This is my go-to place if I am in need of coffee comfort, and the chocolate cake and scones are sublime. They sell all things coffee, especially their own brand of coffee bean, so I promise you won’t leave empty handed.
Sue Butowsky is the mover and shaker behind this coffee shop in the Bagdad Centre on the R40 just outside White River. This is where all the locals go so you know this is the best place in town. Sue believes in fresh and local so her food is tasty and she is always trying something new. Fresh healthy juices, wraps and pastas are just some of what is on offer but her biscuits and home baked treats are also legendary. Her shop also sells all sorts of special foods and sauces as well as a deli section selling cheeses, meats and fresh veggies. You might come for coffee but it’s hard to walk away without an armful of goodies. I love her home-made biscuits in a glass jar which make a great present.
Looking for more great coffee shops? Take a look at our list of Lowveld coffee spots.
This Farmers’ Market is held at Casterbridge Lifestyle Centre on the first Saturday of the month and is all about showcasing what is local from fresh fruit and veggies, to jams, pickles and other bottled treats. It also has locally made creams and soaps, gifts and products for pampering yourself. Locally made beer, gin and coffee are all on sale and the testing and tasting can be great fun. Look out for special goodies from The Lowveld Soap Company, taste locally brewed beer from the Sabie Brewery, taste gin and limoncello from local Rotcher Distillers while kids are entertained with movies and lots of other fun in a safe space.
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With names like Litchi and Rose or Ginger and Lime I am already hooked. And no these are not fruit juices – they are body products made by Matsimela Home Spa in a truly African way with delicious ingredients. The Baobab Seed body butter is my favourite but a visit to the shop alone is an experience. Piles of soaps, mounds of bath scrubs and racks of oils and creams make this a hard place to pop in quickly. I always feel so undecided because just as I take something off the shelf another goody takes my eye. There is a shop in Casterbridge Lifestyle Centre in White River and another in Hazyview and I promise you will want to rush home to try them out.
Words and Photography Sue Adams
A journalist by trade, features writer on occasion and now the digital editor of SA Country Life. The first chance she gets, Leigh will tell you about a podcast she was recently listening to and how you simply have to make the move from radio. In a previous life, she once taught English on Jeju which left her with an insatiable craving for kimchi.