Nelspruit

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Nelspruit,Mbombela Stadium Image source

A quant little town, near the Kruger National Park! Known now as Mbombela, which has a World Cup Stadium. This stadium which was built for some of the 2010 world cup soccer matches and is currently used for soccer and rugby matches. The steel support structure has a striking and discernible resemblance of giraffe necks, giraffe being a common animal in Mpumalanga. The gym inside is impressive, but the large investment in this stadium is under utilised!

Nelspruit is situated in the fertile valley of the Crocodile River and acts as the gateway to Mpumalanga and the Kruger National Park. With abundant sunshine, moderate sub-tropical climate, lush landscape, and a host of nearby attractions, Nelspruit is an ideal base to explore Mpumalanga. The internationally acclaimed Kruger National Park is the biggest tourist attraction in Mpumalanga. As the largest reserve in South Africa, it covers 19 480 km² and is home to a diverse population of wildlife, including the Big 5, birding Big 6, and more species of mammals than any other African game reserve. Enjoy an unmatched safari experience with self-drives or guided tours. Excellent infrastructure includes picnic sites, rest camps, waterholes, and hides. 
Nelspruit, officially renamed Mbombela, is the capital of Mpumalanga and has something for everyone. Nature lovers will love an amble through the Lowveld Botanical Garden, which boasts a rare collection of over 650 plant species, the first man-made rain forest, and a tranquil pool where the Crocodile River meets the Nels River (which cascades down a waterfall in the west). The mountains surrounding Nelspruit have fantastic hiking trails for all levels of fitness. Nelspruit Nature Reserve offers several walks between one and six hours. Enjoy indigenous vegetation and a variety of birds and small antelope along the easy-going Green Heritage Hiking Trail; or discover interesting facts about Nelspruit's past along the Nelspruit Historical Walking Trail.
Nelspruit Golf Course is the busiest in the region and offers excellent opportunities to not only score birdies, but also spot a variety of birdlife. Mbombela Stadium is an excellent venue for sports matches, live entertainment, and exhibitions. Another major attraction is Sudwala Caves, regarded as the oldest known caves in the world. The caves feature a series of caverns with stalactites, stalagmites, and flowstone formations. Next to the caves is Dinosaur Park and cultural centre where you can roam amongst life-size replicas of dinosaurs, the extinct Cape Lion and Cape Quagga, a 3m long Nile crocodile, and pre-historic man. Situated outdoors, in a sub-tropical garden with ancient cycads, the park provides an educational experience for all ages. The most popular time to explore this region is in the winter months, when the days are still warm but it's not as humid or wet as it is during the summer. 
 

References:
• Bornman, H. (ed) (1979) Nelspruit: 75 in ’80. Published by the Town Council of Nelspruit.
• Bornman, H. (2006) Pioneers of the Lowveld. Nelspruit/White River Centenary Edition 1905-2005. Published by SA Country Life.
• Davenport, TRH. (1991) South Africa, A Modern History. Fourth Edition, Macmillan Press.
• Delius, P. and Hay, M. (2009) Mpumalanga: An Illustrated History. Published by The Highveld Press.
• Smith, D.M. (ed) (1982) Living Under Apartheid: Aspects of urbanization and social change in South Africa, Published by George Allen & Uhttps://www.sa-venues.com/attractionsmpl/kruger-mpumalanga-airport.htm
www.borders.sars.gov.za/.../Mpumalanga/Kruger-Mpumalanga-International-A.....
https://showme.co.za/nelspruit/
https://www.travelground.com/accommodation-in/nelspruit/about nwin.

Last updated : 01-Aug-2018

This article was produced for South African History Online on 29-Mar-2011