8 Top-Rated Attractions & Things to Do in Nelspruit

Nelspruit travel guide
Sudwala Caves in Mpumalanga, South Africa | © Wilhelm van Rooyen/Flickr

A bustling capital of the Mpumalanga province, Nelspruit (Mbombela), combines rich nature of the region with many fun things to do. Kruger National Park and the surrounding Crocodile River add a beautiful backdrop to the city. One of the best travel destinations in Africa offering some of the best authentic African safari and tourism experiences to tourists visiting South Africa. More scenic landscapes can be found at the Lowveld National Botanical Garden near the Nels River. Featuring a scenic path and numerous picnic spots, this public space attracts tourists and residents. Other family-friendly things to do in Nelspruit include the activities found at Mafunyane Waterpark, Sudwala Caves, and at the Jane Goodall Institute Chimpanzee Eden. Here’s a travel guide to help you plan your sightseeing with our list of the top attractions and things to do in Nelspruit, South Africa.

Kruger National Park

kruger national park map
kruger national park map | © Siyabona Africa

Nelspruit is the gateway for tourists traveling to Kruger National Park, one of the best national parks in Africa. As one of the largest game reserves in the continent, the park is one of the best places to visit in South Africa. Kruger offer some of the most exciting games, home to the most spectacular wildlife viewing on the planet. The park is reputable for being the most reliable safari hotspot for Big Five sightings. Imagine spotting Africa’s most exotic creatures; lion, leopard, elephant, African buffalo, and rhinoceros all in one game park? A visit to the iconic Kruger National Park is an amazing experience that you’ll forever talk about. Kruger is a top African safari destination full of camera, action, and adventure –safari trip and accommodation options can be found here on the official Kruger National Park website. Full detailed maps of the Kruger national park are available here.

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Nelspruit Nature Reserve

Nelspruit Nature Reserve
Views from Nelspruit Nature Reserve | © Vusie Ngwenyama

The Nelspruit Nature Reserve is an impressive nature reserve in this part of South Africa, offering hiking trails walks and scenic views. A visit here provides rare opportunity to experience untouched wilderness, wildlife spotting and bird-watching, all relaxing vibes from mother nature to bask in.

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Jane Goodall Institute Chimpanzee Eden

Nelspruit Chimp Eden
Photo: Courtesy of Chimp Eden

In South Africa and various African countries, animals can find themselves in dangerous or life-threatening situations. Opened in 2006, Chimp Eden is animal rescue and wildlife sanctuary dedicated to caring for rescued chimpanzeesHighly recommended to visit whenever in Nelspruit, experienced guides giving visitors exposure to these beautiful animals, and answering questions. The Jane Goodall Institute Chimpanzee Eden is open 08:00 – 16:00, seven days a week.

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Mafunyane Waterpark

Mafunyane Riverside Water Park
Image courtesy of Mafunyane Waterpark

Mafunyane Waterpark at Nelspruit’s Riverside Mall offer plenty to keep the whole family entertained. There’s a decent selection of slides for all ages, for you to cool down or float and thrill in their big pool. Best attractions and activities include kiddies slides, body slides, tube slides and speed slides, and crystal clear pools. There are two food outlets on the premises, and kids party venue. This water park is closed on Monday and Tuesday, except on public holidays and school holidays.

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i’langa Mall

shopping in nelspruit
Image courtesy of i’langa Mall

The i’langa Mall is a premium lifestyle and shopping destination in Nelspruit. One of the best shopping destinations in the Mpumalanga province, waiting for you for pure shopping moments. The mall boasts a wide selection of stores, dining and entertainment options. Enjoy your city break in one of the most beautiful destinations in South Africa and treat yourself to many little extras and trendy souvenirs.

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Lowveld National Botanical Garden

The Lowveld National Botanical Garden is one of the largest green spaces in South Africa. Great picnic spot, with a family vibe. A garden surrounded by natural wonders, breathtaking landscapes and offers some of the best outdoor experiences in the country. A visit to Nelspruit is incomplete without a trip to the Lowveld National Botanical Garden where you get a chance to see various plant species and a unique collection of disappearing plants of tropical forests of central and west Africa. The Crocodile River and Nels River that converge in the garden offer stunning views over some of the region’s most awe-inspiring landscapes.

Lowveld National Botanical Garden | © John Gonsalves

Opening hours

The Lowveld Garden is open from 08:00 – 18:00seven days a week, through September to March, and open from 08:00 – 17:00, April to August.

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Sudwala Caves

Nelspruit travel guide
Sudwala Caves in Mpumalanga, South Africa | © Wilhelm van Rooyen/Flickr

Visiting the Sudwala Caves a fun activity in Nelspruit, a top-rated tourist attraction in the country. Known for being the oldest known dolomite caves in the world, a must-see for any visitor in Nelspruit and in the Mpumalanga region. This is an adventurous once in a life time cave tour that can take about 5-hour, with friendly tour guides, they are well-informed and ready for all questions. There’s also after dark tours. They are open 08:30 – 16:30, 365 days a year. Sudwala Caves tickets can only be purchased at the cave entrance.

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Emnotweni Casino

Nelspruit Emnotweni Casino
Casino in Nelspruit, South Africa | © Emnotweni Casino

Located close to the Kruger National Park, and right next to Riverside Mall, the Emnotweni Casino offer something for a local and visiting gamblers in Nelspruit. If you are looking for entertainment and fun in Nelspruit, here’s where you need to be. They also provide accommodation options, a live music lounge, restaurant, bar, move and comedy theatres.

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Looking for luxury accommodation? We recommend our guide to the luxurious Airbnbs in South Africa.

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