Nelspruit City Guide

2010-05-07 14:22
Surrounded by some of the country's most spectacular game reserves and the famous Kruger National Park, Nelspruit offers more than just a world-class football stadium. Nelspruit is the capital of Mpumalanga Province. In siSwati (one of the official languages), Mpumalanga means a 'place where the sun rises'.

With the unending view of rolling mountains from God's Window to the majestic scenes of the green hills contrasting with blue rivers at Blyde River Canyon, this is definitely a place the sun would not want to leave.

Nelspruit, located in the local municipality of Mbombela. The whole area invokes the idea of a 'Garden of Eden', with a flourishing fruit industry and countless waterfalls which drop from dramatic cliff faces. Wild horses roam freely in Kaapsehoop.

Nearby Pilgrims Rest is an old gold-mining town which has seems to have been forgotten by time. Also in the area is Komatipoort, which serves as a gateway to Mozambique.

Nelspruit is a good base for exploring the nearby Limpopo Trans-frontier Park, which incorporates the Kruger National Park (South Africa), Limpopo National Park (Mozambique) and Gonarezhou National Park (Zimbabwe).

Nelspruit is named after the Nel family which settled in the area in 1905. The family farmed cattle in the area and eventually settled along the Crocodile River which runs through the centre of the province.

The nearby Sudwala caves became a place of Swazi legend. The dolomite caves were a safe haven for Prince Somquba, who sought refuge here from persecution. He eventually died, but the rest of the survivors sought refuge in the caves under the leadership of a tribal councilor named Sudwala.

Newly-promoted side Mpumalanga Black Aces are the only professional outfit from the Mpumalanga province. Before that, Dangerous Darkies, who spent two seasons in the top flight in the early 1990s, were the last side to compete in the elite South African league but just as quickly faded from view.

The most famous footballer to emerge from Nelspruit is former Bafana Bafana fullback David Nyathi, who played in Spain, Switzerland and in Italy's Serie A for Cagliari. He was a member of the FIFA World XI who played a match in Marseille as part of the festivities for the 1998 FIFA World Cup Final Draw.

Nelspruit’s Soccer World Cup Stadium
The Mbombela Stadium is one of the newly-built stadia for the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa, and it takes its name from the local municipality which incorporates the city of Nelspruit.

For full information on this stadium, click [here]

Top things to do
* Visit the Kruger National Park for a couple of days
* Drive the N4 to Mozambique
* View San art in Nelspruit
* Drive to Blyde River Canyon and see God’s Window, the Mac Mac Falls and the Bourke Potholes, amongst other breathtaking natural wonders

Getting around
Many World Cup visitors will fly or bus in from Johannesburg or Tshwane. Rail, minibus taxi and metered taxi services will cater for a wide variety of transport requirements, and will ensure Mbombela Stadium, 7km from the city centre and the FIFA Fan Fest, located at the Bergvlam High School are adequately served.

Existing bus, rail and minibus taxi services will extend their services to cater for the increased demand around match times. Event-related public transport i.e. shuttles to the Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport, the Mbombela Stadium and Park ‘n Ride services will be added to the regular public transport system.

Useful links
GoTravel24's comprehensive guide for getting to and staying in Nelspruit

The magnificent Blyde River Canyon. (SA Tourism)

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