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Nelspruit is a “buzzing bush city” made of fertile valleys, rocky hills and a distinct selection of Mamma Africa’s unique plant & animal species. It’s a growing city flavoured by the sun and is surrounded by some of the country’s most spectacular game reserves, natural wonders and diverse cultures.
Nelspruit also forms part of a broader geographical area called the Lowveld, more casually known by the locals as the “slowveld”. The Lowveld encompasses the areas of Nelspruit, White River, Barberton, Hazyview, Graskop, Sabie, Pilgrims Rest, Malelane, Lydenburg and the Kruger National Park. Due its central location within the Lowveld, Nelspruit is the ultimate base from which to explore this area.
Nelspruit offers the visitor a wide range of accommodation options from 5 star to self catering, camping and backpacking.
You can get to Nelspruit by car or by plane. The main road used to access Nelspruit is the N4 from Gauteng, this takes about 3 ½ half hours to drive. One can also access Nelspruit via the N2, N11 or N17 from Kwazulu Natal and also via the R40 from Limpopo. Nelspruit has an international airport, Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport (KMIA) where South African Airways and Kulula Airwarys currently touch-down.
Nelspruit has a sub-tropical climate with pleasant winter temperatures ranging from 11°C to 24°C and warming up to between 25°C and 35°C during summer. Nelspruit receives summer rains (late November to mid-February) and the winter is cool and dry.
What to do and see
There is an abundance of things to do and see in Nelspruit and its surrounds. Agriculture in Nelspruit is one a kind with local farmers producing big tasty mangoes, bananas, avocados, oranges, macadamia and pecan nuts. The freshness cannot be beaten anywhere else in South Africa and these make the perfect “padkos” for the healthy traveller. Most of this fruit can be bought from the colourful vendors along the N4.
Game reserves, fishing, birding, mountain biking, shopping, safaris and hiking…Nelspruit has it all!
From Nelspruit, you have access to some of South Africa’s most beautiful scenery and natural wonders - “must see” splendours of nature. Take your pick from God’s Window, Bourke’s Luck Potholes, Blyde River Canyon, Mac Mac Falls, the Lowveld Botanical Gardens, Legogote (“Lion”) Mountain, Sudwala Caves or Barbeton daisies in all the bright colours of the rainbow.
If you favour something a little more energetic, Nelspruit and its surrounds have a wide selection of fun activities to keep you busy. The list below is bound to have something to suit your likes and budget.
- Pack some biltong and your camera and go to the Kruger National Park for the day or stay a while longer at one of the many camps in the park. The Kruger National Park is home to the Big 5 (lion, leopard, elephant, buffalo & Rhino) – see if you can spot them all! There are also many other activities on offer in the park including walking safari’s, open vehicle safari’s and bird hides.
- Take a drive to Graskop and eat a pancake at the famous Harry’s Pancakes then take a stroll to the Sunshine Art Gallery.
- Pay a visit to humans closest relative, the playful Chimps at the Jane Goodall Institute Chimpanzee Eden – about 12km from Nelspruit on the R40 towards Barbeton.
- Try your hand at some fly-fishing in the little fishing village of Dullstroom for a relaxed weekend getaway – the Mavungana Fly-fishing centre will be able to meet all your equipment and training needs.
- Watch a rugby or soccer match at the 40 000 seater Mbombela Stadium just off the N4 outside of Nelspruit.
- Do some country shopping at Casterbridge on the R40 outside White River – there is a wide variety of speciality stores including galleries, deli’s, antiques, furniture, outdoor gear, clothing and a selection of coffee shops and restaurants. There is also a car museum for those with an affinity for old luxury vehicles.
- Go horse riding in Kaapsehoop
- Take a mountain bike ride in one of South Africa’s leading bike parks on the edge of the escarpment along open grass lands, rivers, dams, ravines, mountains and breath taking views. Situated about 30km from Nelspruit, Mankele Mountain Biking Centre will assist you with all your biking needs, including route maps and gear hire.
- Go tubing down the Sabie river or take part in a number of other adventure activities in the Sabie River Valley on the R536 near Hazyview.
- Take a drive to Swaziland or Maputo for the day – indulge in some fresh and tasty seafood at the famous Costa do Sol restaurant on Maputo’s beach front and enjoy the exquisite views of the palm dotted beach and open sea.