Mpumalanga means ‘place where the sun rises’. Due to the province’s spectacular scenic beauty and abundance of wildlife, it is one of South Africa’s major tourist destinations. With a surface area of only 79 490 km2, the second-smallest province after Gauteng, it has the fourth-largest economy in South Africa. Bordered by Mozambique and Swaziland in the east, and Gauteng in the west, it is situated mainly on the high plateau grasslands of the Middleveld, which roll eastwards for hundreds of kilometres. In the north-east, it rises towards mountain peaks and terminates in an immense escarpment. In some places, this escarpment plunges hundreds of metres down to the low-lying area known as the Lowveld. The area has a network of excellent roads and railway connections, making it highly accessible. Because of its popularity as a tourist destination, Mpumalanga is also served by a number of small airports. The Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport became operational in 2002. Nelspruit is the capital of the province and the administrative and business centre of the Lowveld. Witbank is the centre of the local coal-mining industry; Standerton, in the south, is renowned for its large dairy industry; and Piet Retief in the south-east is a production area for tropical fruit and sugar. A large sugar industry is also found at Malelane in the east; Ermelo is the district in South Africa that produces the most wool; Barberton is one of the oldest gold-mining towns in South Africa; and Sabie is situated in the forestry heartland of the country. The Maputo Corridor, which links the province with Gauteng and Maputo in Mozambique, heralds a new era in terms of economic development and growth for the region. As the first international toll road in Africa, the Maputo Corridor is attracting investment and releasing the local economic potential of the landlocked parts of the country. It will thus generate sustainable economic growth that will lead to sustainable high-quality jobs. Mpumalanga produces about 80% of the country’s coal, and remains the largest production region for forestry and agriculture. Mining, manufacturing and electricity contribute about 41% of the province’s GDPR, while the remainder comes from government services, agriculture, forestry and related industries. The best-performing sectors in the province include mining, manufacturing and services. Tourism and agroprocessing are potential growth sectors in the province. Mpumalanga falls mainly within the grassland biome. The escarpment and the Lowveld form a transitional zone between this grassland area and the savanna biome. Long stretches of undulating grasslands change abruptly into thickly forested ravines and thundering waterfalls of the escarpment, only to change again into the subtropical wildlife splendour of the Lowveld. Sabie and Graskop provide a large part of the country’s total requirement for forestry products. These forestry plantations are an ideal backdrop for ecotourism opportunities, with a variety of popular hiking trails, a myriad waterfalls, patches of indigenous forest and many nature reserves. Lake Chrissie is the largest natural freshwater lake in South Africa and is famous for its variety of aquatic birds, especially flamingos.
Nelspruit Nature Reserve
Blyderivierspoort Nature Reserve
Kruger National Park
Waterfalls around Sabie
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