Nelspruit
Close to the ground.

GPS: S 25 28.220 E 030 58.743 pop. 230,000 | elevation 683 m/2,242 ft

Nelspruit is the capitol and largest city in Mpumalanga. It is a great place to stock up on any items that you might need if you are heading North to hike, camp or see the abundant wildlife in either Kruger or the surrounding parks. It is also a popular transit point for those heading into either neighboring Mozambique or Swaziland. Because of its popularity as a hub for visitors heading onward there is plenty of quality accommodation from budget backpackers to high-end exclusive guest houses, but the sights and activities tend to be in the surrounding towns.

Nelspruit has the best selection of shops in Mpumalanga. All of the following malls have ATMs, supermarkets, restaurants and an assortment of stores.


Riverside Mall

Riverside Mall is by far the largest shopping mall in the area and has most of what you would expect in a modern mall.


Nelspruit Crossings Shopping Center

Nelspruit Crossings Shopping Center is centrally located at the intersection of Samora Machel/N4 and Madiba Dr/R40.


The Promenade Center

The Promenade Center is both located in the city center.


Sanlam Sentrum

Sanlam Sentrum is located in the city center.


Sonpark Shopping Center

Sonpark Shopping Center has Internet, laundry, and restaurants with a number of additional places to eat in adjacent buildings.


Nelspruit Backpackers

Nelspruit Backpackers is a smaller backpackers with a more personable atmosphere that allows you to get to know most of the guests staying at the backpackers. There is a well supplied self-catering kitchen for cooking meals and a bar from which the Black Label flows consistently throughout the day and into the night. The owner lives next door and it is not uncommon to see him over at the backpackers playing a game of pool or fooseball. Jimmy, the resident host used to train Kruger Park guides and can arrange tours into Kruger or serve as your personal guide if you have your own vehicle.


Nelspruit Backpackers

Nelspruit Backpackers is a smaller backpackers with a more personable atmosphere that allows you to get to know most of the guests staying there. There is a well-supplied self-catering kitchen for cooking meals and a bar from which the Black Label flows consistently throughout the day and into the night. The owner lives next door and it is not uncommon to see him over at the backpackers playing a game of pool or Foosball. Jimmy, the resident host, has a sweet tooth for Jack Daniel's and provides the perfect atmosphere for those who aren't faint of heart or liver. He also used to train Kruger Park guides and can arrange tours into Kruger or serve as your personal guide if you have your own vehicle.


Funky Monkey Backpackers

Funky Monkey Backpackers is a good place to meet up with people heading into or coming back from Kruger, Mozambique or Swaziland. There is a comfortable lounge area and bar next to the swimming pool, clean rooms and free breakfast in the morning. Funky Safari's is run out of the backpackers and offers good budget options for tours into Kruger. It has a lower-key atmosphere than Nelspruit Backpackers.


Old Vic Travelers' Inn

Old Vic Travelers' Inn is an established lodge that is proud of its 4-star rating by the Tourism Grading Council of South Africa. You can lounge on the deck overlooking the pool or take a dip while cooking on the braai. There is a free breakfast, free pick-ups and a travel desk that can help arrange tours or transport onward.


Sun Lodge Backpackers

Sun Lodge Backpackers is more of a lodge than a backpackers with only six dorm beds squeezed into a small room, so you'll miss the traveler vibe here. Visits can be an intense experience - there is a sign on the front door that says "Checkout time is strictly at 9h00am. Late check-outs will be billed for one full day extra." The 9am is crossed out and updated with 10am, but this is representative of the friendliness and level of service you'll get if you stay here.


Auberge Guest Lodge

Auberge Guest Lodge is a tidy B&B with 10 spacious rooms that have private entrances surrounding a courtyard with a swimming pool. The guest lodge is about a block from the Sonpark Shopping Center and each room has a TV, a mini bar and AC. Dinner is available upon request.


Bundu Country Lodge

Bundu Country Lodge has villas spread out on the side of the hill with a number of amenities including a restaurant, bar, two swimming pools, mini golf, and even a chapel for weddings and Sunday service. Bundu has been voted "best lodge" in Nelspruit for the past four years by the readers of the Lowvelder Newspaper.


Loerie's Call Guest House

Loerie's Call Guest House is a nine-room luxury guesthouse perched atop a hill with a pool overlooking the Crocodile River valley. Each room is individually designed.


Francolin Lodge

On the same property and by the same owner of Loerie's Call Guest Lodge is the recently-built Francolin Lodge, which offers eight modern style rooms with views overlooking Nelspruit with comfortable beds and large bathrooms. A few of the rooms are family rooms with additional beds on a loft.


Matumi Golf Lodge

Matumi Golf Lodge sits on the fairway of the ninth hole on the 18-hole Nelspruit Golf Course in a wealthy secure gated community. With only six rooms, this lodge offers individual attention and luxury accommodation at a good price. The lodge has a restaurant and bar with continental and English breakfast and dinner upon request.


Costa do Sol

Costa do Sol specializes in Italian and Portuguese cuisine and is operated by proprietor Lee-Ann who ensures both quality service and superb food. Don't let the value-priced menu deceive you. This restaurant attracts a smart crowd, has an extensive wine list and is a swell place for an evening out.


Orange

Orange is a modern upscale restaurant with an ample menu of tasty cuisine from appetizers to desserts and features also a well-stocked wine cellar. The restaurant is on the same property as Loerie's Call Guest House and Francolin Lodge and has two levels with table-side views overlooking Nelspruit.


Triagos

Triagos is located right next to Costa do Sol and is a decent lunch spot with outdoor seating and a selection of light meals including sandwiches and its signature Tramezzino's.


Mug & Bean

Mug & Bean is a friendly South African franchise café and eatery named after the fictitious American Mug & Bean General Merchants. The café serves up breakfast, lunch, dinner and everything in between. It also has free wifi.


Stables

Stables is a western-themed dance club with DJs and a large dance floor. When it is cold outside there is usually a large outdoor bonfire to keep the outdoor seating area warm. Check their website for scheduled events. When big name DJs are spinning the party goes until sunrise.


News Café

News Café is a café by day and upscale bar by night that tends to attract a well-dressed crowd sipping on mixed drinks.