Hazyview is a lush, green, sub-tropical farming town in Mpumalanga, which is South Africa’s eastern province, settled on the borders of Swaziland and Mozambique. Renown for its banana and macadamia nut plantations, big industry in this part of the world, the town gets its name from the shimmering haze that occurs during the heat of Lowveld summers.
Hazyview is also considered the gateway to the Kruger National Park as it is home to three of its entrances; Numbi Gate, Phabeni Gate and Paul Kruger Gate. This makes it extremely popular with tourists and is the reason it is home to so many lodges, hotels and activities.
Hazyview city centre is made up of one big thoroughfare. Its main road is busy, and wary pedestrians fight for space with the taxis, buses, transfer vehicles and umpteen cars that pass up and down this road. If you continue north, the R40 goes towards Hoedspruit via Acornhoek and Bushbuckridge. The latter is thought to be the biggest informal settlement in
SA. It’s true; it does go on and on, providing a colourful landscape for the two-hour journey to the big H.
In the opposite direction, the R536 heads towards Skukuza, before navigating back to White River. Both share an equal number of dirt tracks, potholes and homemade (thus invisible) speed bumps. The few roads that do cross the main drag offer shopping, curios and access to Sabie, Graskop and the gates of the Kruger National Park.
There are in fact two very large shopping centres that sit across the road from each other. Despite the sheer volume of shops around, they are busy thanks to their proximity to the Park. Campers got to eat.
A variety of people live in Hazyview. From farmers to businessmen and everyone in between. The residential areas are hidden from the road and only those in the know can guide you between the cottage-style homes, the townhouses, apartment blocks and larney eco-estates. These estates boast magnificent views over rolling hills and banana fields and one is known to be the home of renowned Australian writer Tony Park.
Hazyview is a bustling, lively place. Pretty? Not really. But certainly colourful with a lovely green shine to it that only the Lowveld shows off so well.
Places to stay
Protea by Marriott Paul Kruger Gate: This newly renovated hotel is as close to Paul Kruger Gate as you can get. It offers spacious rooms, great dining, two swimming pools, loads of chill zones and fantastic views of the Sabie River. www.marriott.com
AfriCamps: A self-catering glamping camp located close to the Kruger National Park. Each 55-sqm tent faces the tranquil Sabie River and comprises a fully equipped kitchen, dining area, lounge, en suite bathroom, and two bedrooms (sleeping five). Breakfast and braai baskets available. www.africamps.com
Summerfield Rose Retreat & Spa: This is a 5-star luxury retreat on the Sabie River. It comprises secluded tented suites, two award-winning restaurants, and a luxury spa, all amongst beautiful rose gardens and macadamia and litchi orchards. www.summerfields.co.za
Sabie River Sun Resort: Part of the Tsogo Hotel umbrella, stay in the hotel or rent a week in the timeshare option chalets. A happy place for the family, located in and around a golf course. Discover loads of activities and wildlife. www.tsogosun.com
Things to visit, see & do
Skyway Trails, located in Perry’s Bridge Centre, offers an aerial cable trail and a rope adventure park. The Canopy Trail has eight zip lines that soar over one of the last remaining natural forested valleys along the Sabie River. Each section of the 1.2km-trail varies in length from 230m to 70m, with visitors moving from one elevated platform to the next. Children under 10 are assisted by guides, and it takes 2.5 hours to complete. The Tree-Top Adventure is an elevated obstacle course. There are 35 obstacles, including balancing beams, rope bridges, ‘spider webs’ and a 50m zip line. No booking required unless for large groups. www.skywaytrails.com
For those seeking a memorable wildlife encounter, Elephant Whispers will leave you with a renewed respect and admiration for these gentle giants. You can enjoy a one-hour elephant interaction, go for a walk with the elephant or spend a full day with them. www.elephantwhispers.co.za or www.seasonsinafrica.com
Hazyview Elephant Sanctuary offer various fully guided elephant experiences where you will be educated, be able to interact, walk with and feed these gentle giants. Get even closer to the elephants by giving them a brush down or watch them be themselves in the natural forest or take a swim. www.elephantsanctuary.co.za
Artefunto Art Gallery sells contemporary art, sculpture and furniture. They are renowned for using a 1000-year-old traditional method of manipulating bamboo to create their canvases. www.artefunto.com
The Shangana Cultural Village offers tours of the beautiful traditional village of Shangana, which is owned by the Mapulana community. Discover their traditional way of everyday life and enjoy an evening festival in the Chief’s kraal. [email protected]
Jeremy Wostenholm’s Seronera Crocodile Farm is a working farm that offers the opportunity to view thousands of crocodiles. A beautifully treed space, which boasts abundant birdlife, they run a 90-min tour, which starts at 9.30am. Booking is essential. Jeremy 083 459 0733 for bookings or www.seronera.co.za
Induna Adventures is for the adrenaline seekers. Think white water rafting, geckoing, quad biking, zip lining, paintball, archery, horse riding and more. Open Mon-Sat 8am-5pm. www.indunaadventures.com
There are great walking trails in the area such as the Matumi Trail from the confluence of the MacMac, Sabaan and Sabi Rivers.
The Lowveld Reptile Centre comprises Perry’s Bridge Reptile Park and Lowveld Venom Suppliers. It boasts a selection of reptiles from across the globe, as well as a fascinating display of amphibians and arachnids. These include crocodiles, pythons, anacondas, mambas, rattlesnakes, cobras, tarantulas, toads and lizards. Shows held throughout the day from 11am-4pm and include venomous snakes, bearded dragon feeding, lizard talks and interaction and understanding snakes and constrictors. Open daily from 10am-5pm. Closed on Fridays. www.perrysbridgereptilepark.com
Skydive Kruger is on hand for a very exhilarating experience, which will allow you to view Hazyview from extraordinary heights. They need a minimum of 24 hours notification before the jump; a minimum of two people and full payment on the date of booking. Find them at Numbi Airfield. Manny on 079 832 0150, [email protected]
Places to eat
Kuka Café: Sushi, tapas, cocktails and craft beer. Perry’s Bridge Trading Post, 013 737 6957.
The Reserve Restaurant: Beautiful setting with a la carte menu and wine list. R536, 079 361 9899.
G’s Bistro & Bar: Burgers, pizza and light meals. Cnr Portia Shabangu & Albatros Street, 013 737 6578.
Pioneers Grill: Steakhouse. Perry’s Bridge Trading Post, 013 737 7397.
The River Café: A bistro on a beautiful farm. Summerfields, R536. 013 737 6500.