March 30th, 2010
As one of the host cities, Nelspruit will be flooded by enthusiastic soccer supporters during the FIFA World Cup 2010. We’ve decided to bring you some interesting facts about this city that you might not have known.
1) The newly built stadium in Nelspruit is named Mbombela Stadium and its capacity seating is 46 000. Mbombela, (which is also the city’s new name) is a siSwati word and means “many people together in a small space”. Surely a good indication of what to expect for the FIFA World Cup 2010.
2) On March 28 1898, President Paul Kruger issued the necessary proclamation establishing the Sabie Game Reserve, this later became known as the Kruger National Park.
3) As the capital of Mpumalanga, Nelspruit makes a good starting point for travelling around the Lowveld. The city is a major stopover point for those travelling to Mozambique and Swaziland. It is also the gateway to the Kruger National Park.
4) The historic mining village of Pilgrim's Rest, just outside of Nelspruit, owes its existence to the discovery of gold in South Africa. With its interesting authentic old buildings and shops, it's a fascinating insight into the gold rush days. The nearby town of Barberton is also an historic home, since it was the country's first stock exchange.
5) The Lowveld National Botanical Gardens just outside of Nelspruit boasts a rare collection of plant species and the first man-made rain forests. The concept of developing a representative African rain forest in the Lowveld National Botanical Garden was accepted as a logical step in expanding the National Botanical Institute's involvement in promoting and conserving the African forest flora, much of which is fast disappearing in the face of uncontrolled deforestation through logging and population growth. It is situated on the convergence of the Nels and Crocodile Rivers. Here you will find one of the world’s most comprehensive cycad gardens in the world.
6) If you find yourself in Nelspruit you might want to visit the Chimpanzee Eden. The Jane Goodall Institute has made this tranquil venue their Nelspruit sanctuary and has committed itself to the rescue and care take of chimpanzees in need of refuge. Being the 1st and only chimpanzee sanctuary in South Africa, it brings the world of chimpanzees closer to humanity through education and eco-tourism.
7) Art lovers will delight in the collection kept in the province's Houses of Legislature in Nelspruit. The building has a grandiose dome and is adorned with the best paintings, sculpture, weavings and ceramics that Mpumalanga has to offer. Some areas even have hidden wonders including san art in the middle of a suburb.
8) Don’t miss the world's oldest caves, the Sudwala Caves, just 20 minutes drive from Nelspruit. Did you know that they are at least 2 000-million years old?
9) The city's proximity to Mozambique and the bushveld have shaped a unique culinary heritage that includes traditional delicacies such as mopani worms. Nelspruit's most distinctive ingredient is probably peri peri, a Mozambican spicy relish made from chilli, garlic and lemon.
10) The Blyde River Canyon has recently changed its name to Motlatse. This is the third deepest canyon in the world and is one of the most magnificent sights in South Africa. This is definitely a place you have to make a point of seeing, as you will remember the views for years to come.