Search for South Africa’s big five game animals at one of the world’s most famous game reserves, then unwind in a beautiful botanical garden.
Nelspruit is the capital of Mpumalanga and the gateway to some of the province’s most popular attractions. Gaze in awe at natural wonders, go on a big game safari and relax by waterfalls surrounded by exotic vegetation.
Many visitors use Nelspruit as a stopover on their way to Kruger National Park, which is approximately 41 miles (66 kilometers) east of the city. There are many ways to experience the large game reserve, such as a 1-day guide tour, a 3-day safari and bush walks. Whichever tour you take, search for South Africa's big five game animals. They are the buffalo, elephant, leopard, lion and rhinoceros.
If your Kruger visit has given you a desire to see more animals, stop by Chimp Eden, 9.3 miles (15 kilometers) outside Nelspruit. The sanctuary is operated by the Jane Goodall Institute and provides a refuge for chimpanzees that have been displaced from their homes.
Nelspruit is surrounded by some of South Africa’s most spectacular scenery. Hike or mountain bike along routes that pass by rivers and dams and through ravines and mountains. Go tubing and whitewater rafting along the Sabie River. Take a guided tour of the Sudwala Caves, believed to be among the oldest caves in the world. The cavernous complex with its strange rock formations is cut deep into the Drakensberg escarpment.
Just north of Nelspruit, is the Lowveld Botanical Garden. After the sprawling grasslands and mountainous regions, the garden offers a more colorful and organized setting. Follow paths bordered by plants of vivid colors and walk above forested areas on a suspension bridge.
To enjoy the city’s social scene, watch a show at the Barnyard Theater then head into the center for the clubs and restaurants. If you are feeling lucky, play the slots and tables at Emnotweni Casino.
Reach Nelspruit by flying into Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport, 17 miles (27.4 kilometers) northeast of the city and get around by rental car. With a subtropical climate of hot summers and warm winters, Nelspruit’s stunning natural features and game reserves can be enjoyed at any time of the year.