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A Remarkable Revival at Mankele

A Remarkable Revival at Mankele

A Remarkable Revival at Mankele

What’s new at Mankele?

Mankele was once an exclusive haven for mountain biking enthusiasts. Its popularity grew exponentially among biking fanatics, becoming a coveted destination for MTB races, training, and outrides.

Mankele started facing challenges during the Covid 19 pandemic as all tourist sectors were affected. Restricted access inadvertently created barriers for those without a bicycle and while this exclusivity created a strong sense of community amongst biking enthusiasts, it limited other outdoor enthusiasts to experience the true beauty of this Lowveld gem.

A remarkable revolution occurred when Mankele joined forces with Sudwala, enabling it to soar to new heights and become a thriving destination open to people from all walks of life. Today, Mankele’s horizons have expanded and diversified. With the infusion of new activities, Mankele has become a destination that offers something for everyone.

Eager to discover exactly what had changed, the Sociably team set out on a journey to witness this revival firsthand. Here is what we found:

Dormitories: Welcoming School Groups, Youth Groups and Sports Teams:

With a focus on accommodating school groups, Mankele has invested in comfortable and spacious dormitories. This new addition has already served as a welcoming space for over 35 school groups this year, providing a safe and convenient option for educational trips and team-building activities.

Obstacle Course and Sporting Facilities:

To cater to various sporting interests, Mankele has introduced a lower-level obstacle course, allowing visitors of all skill levels to engage in thrilling challenges. Additionally, the inclusion of a netball court, volleyball court, and a multipurpose sports field suitable for rugby and other outdoor activities provides endless possibilities for athletic adventures.

Nature Trails and Waterfalls:

The expansion of on-site hiking trails has added more opportunities for visitors to explore the natural wonders surrounding Mankele. The trails lead to breathtaking waterfalls of different sizes, offering an enchanting experience amidst serene landscapes. 

Mountain Biking and Multi-use Trails: 

Mankele is re-opening its favourite bike trails one at a time and recent granting of land access by Sappi has also paved the way for new trails, expanding the options for exploration and adventure. Navigation is now effortless with well-marked multi-use trails. These trails, spanning 5km, 10km, and 20km, cater to individuals of different fitness levels and preferences. Whether it’s a leisurely hike, a brisk run, or a thrilling mountain bike ride, the trails provide a clear and enjoyable route that wind through the park’s stunning landscapes. 

Pump Track:

Mankele now offers a pump track specifically designed for training and enjoyment. This feature is particularly beneficial for kids, providing them with a safe and controlled environment to refine their biking skills. The pump track enables young riders to practice balance, speed control, and manoeuvring, enhancing their confidence and overall biking ability.

Expanded Recreation Options:

Mankele now boasts an impressive range of activities for adrenaline enthusiasts. Visitors can indulge in exhilarating adventures such as geckoing, paintball, archery, and fishing, ensuring there’s never a dull moment at the park. For the adventuresome young crowd, a foofie slide provides a thrilling ride over the dam.

Adrenaline Adventuring:

With the introduction of high ropes and abseiling activities from Mamba Koppie, visitors can now embark on adrenaline-pumping adventures under the guidance of experienced professionals. Training is available to ensure that participants feel comfortable and confident before engaging in these thrilling activities. 

Refreshing Swimming Pools:

To beat the African heat, Mankele has two swimming pools where visitors can cool off and relax. Whether it’s a quick dip or a leisurely afternoon spent lounging by the poolside, these swimming pools offer a refreshing respite for guests of all ages.

Enhanced Catering Facilities:

A cafe with a full menu has elevated the park’s culinary offerings. Visitors can enjoy a range of delicious and satisfying meals in a cozy and welcoming atmosphere, allowing guests to refuel and relax after their adventures in the park.

Hosting Memorable Events:

With new kitchen facilities, Mankele has become an ideal venue for hosting a variety of events. With an emphasis on large-scale catering, the park can accommodate corporate functions and birthday parties, catering to the unique requirements of each event. From team-building exercises to memorable celebrations, Mankele offers an idyllic setting for a wide range of occasions. Mankele has also created a dedicated Boma area, perfect for exclusive and intimate gatherings.

Day visitors welcome 7 days a week:

Mankele has successfully established itself as a family-friendly destination. With its opening hours from Monday to Sunday, 8:00 to 17:30, the park provides ample opportunities for families to plan their outings and enjoy a full day of adventure. Day visitors can partake in various activities such as scenic river walks and tranquil picnics amidst the park’s beautiful surroundings. 

Accommodation options:

Besides the newly built dormitories, Mankele offers a variety of accommodation options to suit all budgets and preferences. Whether you are looking for a rustic camping experience, a comfortable stay in a permanent tent, or a more luxurious stay in an 8-sleeper log cabin, Mankele has something for you.

Some other aspects that the Sociably team really loved was the prevailing peace and serenity found at the park. As you wander along the trails, the melodic chirping of birds provides a delightful soundtrack, highlighting the wonderful birdlife found at Mankele. Moreover, Mankele stands out as one of the few places where parents can confidently teach their children how to ride a bicycle. The enclosed area ensures a safe environment for kids to develop their biking skills, giving families the opportunity to share in the joy of learning and exploring together. To further enhance the security, a guard dog and regular security patrols ensures that guests can fully enjoy their time at Mankele worry-free.

After spending a night at Mankele, the Sociably team can comfortably say that the recent improvements and new additions have elevated this travel destination to new heights, offering a multitude of activities and amenities for visitors of all ages and interests. Mankele now ensures an action-packed adventure for all and paves the way for unforgettable experiences. There is no doubt that this outdoor paradise will continue to attract visitors from all over the Lowveld.

We love the Lowveld & what it has to offer ♥

P.s. If you would like to be featured in an upcoming Sociably blog, please get in touch! We would love to experience what you have to offer and write all about it!