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Mpumalanga Tourism Information

Quick Facts: Mpumalanga

  • Capital of Mpumalanga: Nelspruit
  • Languages: 30.8% siSwati, 26.4% isiZulu, 12.1% isiNdebele
  • Population: 3 506 927 (2006)
  • Share of South Africa’s population: 7.4%
  • Area: 76 495 square kilometres
  • Share of total South Africa's area: 6.3%
  • Population density: 46 people per square kilometre
  • Gross regional product: R 87.5-billion (2003)
  • Share of total South Africa’s GDP: 6.8%
  • Home to the ‘Big Five’ Kruger National Park

Introducing Mpumalanga

Mpumalanga, which can be translated as "the place where the sun rises", is characterized by spectacular scenic beauty and an abundance of wildlife, nestling in the northeast region of South Africa.

Location of Mpumalanga, South Africa

Bordered by the countries of Mozambique and Swaziland to the east and the Gauteng province to the west, Mpumalanga in South Africa is located predominantly on the high plateau grasslands of the Middleveld. In the northeast, this South African province rises towards mountain peaks and terminates in an immense escarpment. In certain areas, this magnificent escarpment plunges hundreds of metres down to the low-lying area known as the Lowveld. 

In the eastern region of Mpumalanga one can find the southern half of the game rich Kruger National Park, which is a world famous nature reserve abundant with African wildlife in a total area roughly the size of Israel.

The Limpopo Province to the North, Gauteng to the West and KwaZulu-Natal to the South border South Africa’s Mpumalanga Province.  The eastern side of Mpumalanga is shared by Swaziland and Mozambique.  The Mpumalanga Province is home to the world famous Kruger National Park where Africa’s “Big Five” can be observed in the untamed African bush: elephants, lions, rhinos, leopards and buffaloes.

Size of Mpumalanga

Covering a total area of 76 495 square kilometres, South Africa’s Mpumalanga province is slightly larger than the Czech Republic. It is the second-smallest province in South Africa after Gauteng, occupying 6.3% of South Africa's land area and being home of 3.5-million people.

Languages

Approximately 30% of the people living in Mpumalanga speak siSwati, the language of neighbouring Swaziland, with 26% speaking isiZulu and 12% isiNdebele.

Infrastructure

Mpumalanga can easily be reached featuring a network of good roads and railway connections, as well as a number of small airports. The Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport, KMIA, serves as an important access point to this region of South Africa with direct flights from Cape Town and Johannesburg.

Major cities and towns in Mpumalanga, South Africa

The city of Nelspruit is the capital of South Africa’s Mpumalanga province, and the administrative and business hub of the Lowveld.   Major cities and towns that are located in Mpumalanga include Nelspruit, Lydenburg, Barberton, Middelburg, Witbank, Volksrust as well as Dullstroom, Pilgrim's Rest, Hazyview, Graskop, White River, Malelane and Sabi.

The Maputo Development Corridor

The Maputo Development Corridor, which links Mpumalanga with Gauteng and the Port of Maputo in Mozambique, provides a new era of economic development and growth for this region in South Africa. As the first international toll road in Africa, the Maputo Development Corridor is set to attract investment and release the local economic potential of the landlocked parts of South Africa.

Weather / climate in Mpumalanga

Mpumalanga is a summer-rainfall area (November - April), with occasional winter snow on high ground in the escarpment. Thick mist is common during the hot and humid summers.

Industry

Witbank is the centre of the local coal-mining industry, the city of Standerton, which is located in the south, is known for its large dairy industry and Piet Retief in the southeast is a production area for tropical fruit and sugar.  A large sugar industry is also situated near Malelane; Ermelo is the district in South Africa where most of the wool originates from; the town of Barberton in Mpumalanga is one of the oldest gold-mining places in South Africa and Sabie is situated in the forestry heartland of the country.

In Mpumalanga, many coal reserves can be found.  It is here where South Africa's major coal-fired power stations are located- three of which are the biggest in the southern hemisphere.  The city of Witbank is the biggest coal producer in Africa, while it is South Africa’s second oil-from-coal plant after Sasolburg.

Mpumalanga produces about 80% of the country's coal and remains the largest production region for forestry and agriculture. Mining, manufacturing and electricity contribute to 41.4% of the province's GDP, with the remainder from government services, agriculture, forestry and related industries. The province of Mpumalanga in South Africa is the fourth-biggest contributor to the South Africa's GDP.

One of South Africa’s largest paper mills is situated at Ngodwana, close to its timber source. Middelburg produces steel and vanadium.  The best-performing sectors in the province include mining, manufacturing and services. Tourism and agriprocessing are potential growth sectors.

Agriculture in the Mpumalanga province

An abundance of citrus and many other subtropical fruit such as mangoes, avocados, litchis, bananas, pawpaws, granadillas and guavas as well as nuts and a variety of vegetables are produced in Mpumalanga.  Nelspruit is the second-largest citrus-producing area in South Africa and accounts for one third of the country's export in oranges. The Institute for Tropical and Subtropical Crops is located in Nelspruit.

Groblersdal is an important irrigation area, yielding crops such as citrus, cotton, tobacco, wheat and vegetables.  Carolina-Bethal-Ermelo is mainly a sheep-farming area, but potatoes, sunflowers, maize and peanuts are also produced in the region.

Golf courses in Mpumalanga

Mpumalanga is home to several popular golf course such as the Leopard Creek Golf Course near Malelane and the Nelspruit Golf Course.

Safari and Game Lodges in Mpumalanga

This province of South Africa, in particular, is home to many game and safari lodges which range from self catering chalets to the most luxurious safari getaways.  Five star game lodges which are famous for their luxury and excellent service as well as their great game viewing are the Ulusaba Game Lodge, the Singita Game Reserve, Londolozi Game Reserve, Sabi Sabi Game Reserve, Lion Sands Game Reserve, Royal Malewane Game Lodge, Exeter Game Lodges, Leopard Hills Game Lodge,  Mala Mala Game Reserve and the Savannah Private Bush Camp to mention but a few.

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