Nelspruit is the biggest town in Mpumalanga, so it’s definitely the place to go for real shopping or any other infrastructural need. The KMIA (Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport), which is just outside the town, is the nearest airport to the Kruger National Park. Nelspruit is the main town on the N4 which heads east towards Mozambique, and it’s also en route to Swaziland from either Johannesburg or Pretoria.
The Lowveld National Botanical Gardens is spectacularly situated on the confluence of the Nels and Crocodile Rivers, just outside the town. It’s a good place to do a crash course on all the trees you’ll be seeing on safari, and it has one of the most comprehensive cycad gardens in the world.
Not far from Nelspruit, you can do a hike or a horse trail though the lovely Kaapsehoop, with its rolling montane grasslands and deep forests. You’re likely to catch a glimpse, at least, of one of the many feral horses that roam the hills and, if you’re into birds, you may see the very rare blue swallow.
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