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Introduction

Mbombela, formerly known as Nelspruit, is a town of 220,000 people that serves as the capital of the Mpumalanga province. It's also a commercial hub drawing shoppers from smaller towns and villages in South Africa and Swaziland.

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Sights and Activities

One of the reasons Nelspruit is growing so fast is it's location so near the Kruger National Park. It's South Africa's biggest game reserve, and also one of the best places to spot wildlife in the country. The majority of the Kruger is a public park where visitors are allowed to drive only on the marked roads and stay in one of the public rest camps (entrance fee is around R140 for adults and R70 for children). There are also a wide selection of private parks that make up the 'Greater Kruger'. These are more costly than the public park as most provide all-inclusive accommodation and come with game drives and game walks included.

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Events and Festivals

World Cup 2010

The big event on the South African calender this year was of course the FIFA World Cup on the 11th of June 2010. One of the most prestigious and popular world sporting events, the World Cup 2010 was largely considered a success on its first run out in Africa. Held once every four years, it's a football tournament (known as soccer in South Africa) where 32 world nations vie for the famous golden trophy. Nelspruit hosted some of the World Cup matches at the Mbombela Stadium, including Austalia's shock 2-1 victory over Serbia. It has a capacity of 44,000.

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Getting There

By Plane

The Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport is situated just northeast of the town. Destinations include Durban, Cape Town, Johannesburg and Vilanculos (Mozambique).

By Train

ShosholozaMeyl operates regular trains west to Johannesburg via Middelburg, Witbank and Pretoria, and east to Komatipoort on the border with Mozambique. From Komatipoort you can take a Mozambiquan train east to Maputo. The train departs Mbombela Thursday and Sunday at 8:40 PM and you get to Johannesburg the next day at 6:20 AM. The train departs Johannesburg every Wednesday and Friday at 6:10PM and you get to Mbombela the next day at 4 AM.

The train station is at the corner of Andrew and Henshall streets.

By Car

Coming from Pretoria it's a 360km drive on the N4. Those coming from Johannesburg should take the N12 and connect to the N4. From Johannesburg to Mbombela is 359 km.The distance from Mbabane, Eswatini, is 183 km; from Polokwane, 302 km; and from the Mozambique border at Komatipoort is 109 km.

By Bus

There are City to City and Citiliner buses going to/from Pretoria R200 and Johannesburg R200 at 10:30AM and 10:40AM. The bus ride to Pretoria takes (6 hours), and (7 hours) to Johannesburg.
There is a City to City bus from Mbombela going to Maputo Mozambique every day at 12:40PM for R200 the trip takes (3½ hours).
There are minibus taxis going to/from Eswatini (Swaziland).

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Getting Around

The ideal way to discover Nelspruit and the rest of the Mpumalanga Province is on a self-drive holiday. With a hire car from either Avis, Budget, Europcar, Hertz or First Car Rental you can explore Nelspriut at your leisure.

Travel around Mbombela by car and get an eyeful of the beautiful scenery and meandering mountain passes. The area is still quite wild and while you are driving around at your leisure, you may view small game and even some vervet monkeys and baboons.

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Eat

Adega, Terentaar Shopping Center, cnr N4 Highway and Ou Kaapschhoop Rd, ☏ +27 13 741 3978, ✉ nelspruit@adegas.co.za. Spicy Portuguese cuisine. Try the 1 kg prawns.

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Sleep

Mbombela can be used as base for visitors touring the Kruger National Park and the nearby sights, like the Blyde River Canyon. There is a range of accommodation available here, but there is also a similar range near some of the Kruger gates like at Crocodile Gate and at Phalaborwa, which may be more suited to touring the park.

Chantelle Younes, 27 Venn Street, ☏ +27 78 852-9839.
Crocodile Country Inn (On the N4, 20 km west of Mbombela), ☏ +27 13 733-3040, ✉ reservations@crocinn.co.za. From R680pps.
Crocodile Nest Bed and Breakfast, N4 (12 km west of Mbombela on the N4), ☏ +27 13 733-3090. Accommodation lies within the huge, peaceful garden with acres of lawn creating wide open space. Large parking area and good security. All rooms, rondavels, regular bedrooms and cabins have bathrooms en suite, as well as heaters and fans. Several are equipped with tea/coffee facilities, fridge, television and microwave. From R280pppn.
Funky Monkey Backpackers, 102 Van Wijk street, ☏ +27 13-7441310. Also has private rooms. dorm bed R150 per person.
Nelspruit Backpackers Hostel, Andries Pretorlus Street, ☏ +27 13-7412237. Camping, single/double rooms. dorm bed R150 per person.
Old Vic Travelers Inn & Backpackers, 12 Impla Street. Also has private single/double rooms. Has a swimming pool. dorm bed R160 per person.

You can use the form below to search for availability (Travellerspoint receives a commission for bookings made through the form)

Booking.com

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Keep Connected

Internet

Big cities and most of the popular places in the country usually have an internet café though they are not as abundant as in, for example, Asia or South America. It's also relatively expensive, usually 20-30 rand an hour, sometimes even more. Many of the accommodation options have internet access available, either wireless with your own laptop or by their own computer(s). Wireless access is also available throughout the country in more and more cafes and eateries, sometimes free and sometimes for a small fee. Note that you usually have to login anyway and agree with the terms and conditions. It is cheapest to buy a prepaid cell phone starter pack (less than R10) and access the Internet with GPRS or 3G. Generally R2 per MB for out of bundle data from most providers (50c for Virgin Mobile), but it becomes a lot cheaper if you buy a data bundle. In general coverage is good except the more rural parts of the northern and northwestern parts of the country (especially Northern Cape).

Phone

See also International Telephone Calls

South Africa's country code is 27. Telephone numbers in South Africa are 10 digits, including the local area code. There are also some prefixes like 0800 (toll free), 0860 (charged as local call) and 0861 (flat-rate calls). The general emergency number is 10111, ambulance is 10177 and police is 1011.

South Africa has very good phone facilities, which are also becoming more and more competitively priced, now that more operators are active on the market. The main ones are Neotel and Telkom South Africa. Local phone calls are cheap (about one Rand an hour), domestic long-distance calls are about twice as expensive. International calls start at around 6 Rand an hour but can be (much) higher to less usual countries. Note that public phones are about twice as cheap as new private phone centres. Phone calls tend to be the cheapest during the weekend and during business hours (8:00am to 5:00pm) on weekdays and more expensive during the evening and nights at weekdays.

There are also good mobile-phone facilities, with GSM and 3G networks. There are five cell phone providers in South Africa: Vodacom, MTN, Cell-C, Virgin Mobile and 8ta. SIM card prepaid starter kits are available from R10. You will need a passport and a proof of residential address and it has to be registered before you can call or receive calls. You can buy credit for prepaid phones just about everywhere, remembering you will usually need cash to do so from service stations.

Post

The SAPO (South African Post Office) is the nation's postal service. They have a track & trace system for parcels as well. Post offices are open from 8:30am to 4:30pm from Monday to Friday, and 8:00am to noon on Saturdays. Domestic and international deliveries are reliable but can sometimes take up to several weeks. If you want to send something oversees of any value, try using one of the private mail services, like Postnet. Also international courier companies like TNT, UPS and DHL tend to be fast, very reliable and competitively priced.

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Quick Facts

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Coordinates
  • Latitude: -25.4699
  • Longitude: 30.9806

Accommodation in Nelspruit

We have a comprehensive list of accommodation in Nelspruit searchable right here on Travellerspoint.

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This is version 25. Last edited at 12:19 on Jun 2, 20 by Utrecht. 7 articles link to this page.

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