Winter Road Trip in Mpumalanga | Day 1

In June last year, we decided to do a little Winter road trip in our very own province. I do love a good Winter getaway, and Mpumalanga is so beautiful… okay, not so much where we are (here it’s potholes and pollution), but not too far from here, things get really green and gorgeous.

If you’re considering doing a road trip on this side of the country, and you’re looking for a few suggestions, here’s a round up of what we did on day 1.

This post is written in partnership with SANI Car Rental.


Our trip started at around 10:30 on Thursday morning, and stopped just over an hour later – because is it even an Mpumalanga road trip if Milly’s isn’t your first stop? We hadn’t eaten breakfast, so we decided to get brunch at the restaurant. With it being a public holiday, it was busier than usual, but we were seated at our table within 10-15 minutes, so it wasn’t too bad. Also, a delicious meal plus a view of the dam is a pretty decent way to kick off a 5 day getaway.

Milly’s is known for their trout dishes, and I’d definitely recommend the trout fillet which Zee ordered (although, I’d tried the lamb curry on a previous visit, and that was yummy too). I wasn’t crazy about the stuffed trout though – not sure if it was just a bad day, or if that’s how it always tastes, but I really didn’t love the spinach and mushroom stuffing.

Afterwards, we popped into Milly’s County Trout Stall for a few sweet treats. There you’ll find homemade jams, sauces, biscuits, and sweets. There’s also scarves, bags, and loads of other proudly South African products.

Sudwala Caves

We drove a little over an hour before our next stop. We’d been meaning to go to the Sudwala Caves for a while, so we were glad to finally have the chance to do it. There were so many cars, but there’s plenty parking, and it’s safe. There’s also a restaurant and a zip line right outside the caves.

Tickets for the regular tour cost R100 for adults and R60 for kids. Its free for kids under 4, but Zee had a proper growth spurt during lockdown so we couldn’t even try for that one. 😄

The Crystal Tour costs R550 and is only for older teenagers (over 14) and adults. It’s a more adventurous tour, involving dark, tight spaces, wading through water, crawling and squeezing through aforementioned tight spaces… and it all sounds like too much anxiety for someone like me. 😁

We enjoyed our relaxed, regular tour. It’s a lot of fun for adults and kids. The guide was funny and knowledgeable, and the chambers are amazing, especially the amphitheater which can seat 500 people. It’s quite warm inside the caves, and once you get to The Devil’s Workshop, you’ll be wishing you listened to the lady outside who said to leave the jackets in the car.

Graskop Hotel

Stop number 3 was our accommodation for the evening. We arrived at Graskop Hotel about an hour and 15 minutes after leaving the caves. We stayed in a Family Garden room – these are suites outside the main building, and can accommodate up to 2 adults and 2 children. The room was cute and comfortable, and breakfast was included. We checked in, left our bags in the room, freshened up and then went in search of dinner.

Canimambo Restaurant

Graskop is a very small town, so the restaurant we found was really close by. Canimambo Restaurant was the perfect place to warm up on that icy evening (the sweltering heat of The Devil’s Workshop now long forgotten haha). A hot chocolate and a cappuccino were in order for Zee and I as we browsed the menu. Shawn opted for a seat next to the fireplace, instead of a hot drink.

We ordered the Bread Basket, which is sliced Portuguese rolls, served with pesto and peri peri sauces. So simple, but so good, and an excellent indication of the food that would follow. We asked the waiter what she’d recommend, and ordered just that – flame grilled half chicken, and queen prawns. There was so much flavour in both dishes, and the prawns were perfectly done (ie. they weren’t overcooked, like in so many restaurants). It was more than enough for the three of us, and all of it was delicious. An absolute must visit, if ever you’re in Graskop.

Road trip - Canimambo Restaurant - Prawns

Bellies full and happy, it was back to the hotel for some rest before another day of road trippin’.

SANI Car Rental is a South African homegrown car rental company. Vehicles available to rent include compact cars, economy cars, premium cars, people carriers and SUVs. SANI Car Rental serves customers throughout South Africa including car rental at O.R. Thambo International Airport and all major local and international airports.

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