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.
A few kilometres north of the small town of Middelburg lies the museum village of Botshabelo. It preserves the culture of the Ndebele, who belong to the large group of Nguni people. The Ndebele presumably moved around the 15th and 16th centuries from Natal to live here in a quasi-peaceful co-existence with other Nguni groups. 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).
HistoryNelspruit 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 councillor named Sudwala.
FootballNewly-promoted sideMpumalanga 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.
The nearby Witbank Spurs is a team which plays in the country's First Division.