24 Hours in Nelspruit

Last updated: Jun 27, 2014

For more information on Nelspruit go to the Nelspruit Travel Guide.

Many of us have only experienced Nelspruit en-route to the Kruger Park or Mozambique, but there is plenty to enjoy in this town, the capital of Mpumalanga.

The green hills surrounding Nelspruit offer many beautiful hiking trails, and with the warm weather you're probably going to want to be outdoors as much as possible. The hills are also home to a variety of farms growing citrus fruit, bananas, mangoes, avocados and nuts. The town itself has a wonderful tropical feel with bright blooms and flowering trees lining the streets.

Here is a guide to enjoying 24 hours in Nelspruit.


Breakfast at the Food Fundi

Head out for an early start at The Food Fundi. Run by Chef Jason Powell, a Prue Leith qualified chef, the restaurant makes fresh confection and meals with flavours inspired by the food of Morocco and rustic Italy.

Open daily for breakfast and lunch, The Food Fundi offers sandwiches on homebaked breads, herbed salads straight from the garden to your plate, smoothies, wraps, croissants, omelettes, plus some great chutneys and marmalades.


Lowveld National Botanical Gardens

Go to the Botanical Gardens to enjoy the beautiful, natural vegetation of the lowveld. The Lowveld National Botanical Gardens cover 159 hectares of land, crossing both the Crocodile and the Nels Rivers. The natural vegetation of the gardens is known as Sour Lowveld Bushveld which is a mixture of escarpment and lowveld, and the garden has over 600 naturally occurring plant species as well as over 2000 that have been introduced. The gardens are well known for the large collection of cycads.

The gardens are open daily throughout the year between 08h00-18h00 from September to March, and 08h00-17h00 from April to August. Entrance costs R20 for adults, R10 for students and R8 for pensioners and children.

Watch the Lowveld Botanical Gardens Video.


Tour of Sudwala Cave

Did you know South Africa is home to the oldest caves in the world? I didn't. Well, they're in Mpumalanga and are called the Sudwala Caves. The caves were formed over 3000 million years ago, and display some of the earliest sedimentary fossils as well as some magnificent stalagmites and stalactites.

You can take an hour long tour through the tunnels into the main chamber known as the PR Owen Amphitheatre which is about 70 metres in diametre and 37 metres high. The cave tour usually lasts for around 1 hour and gives you a good understanding of the history and geology of the caves. The tour isn't physically demanding and can be enjoyed by young and old, and the chambers are well ventilated and spacious.

The tour costs R65 for adults, R55 for pensioners, R35 for children, and is free for children under 5 years old. To find out more call (013) 733 4152.

Watch the Sudwala Caves Video.


Lunch at Old Joes Kaia

Old Joes Kaia is well-known for its excellent cuisine with a country flair and fabulous wines. Regular features on the menu include trout from the area, as well as venison and ostrich. The kitchen uses organically home-grown vegetables and herbs from their own garden and as much free-range produce as possible.

Meals can be enjoyed inside the cosy lounge-dining area, or al fresco on the balcony at tree-top level. The view from the balcony is graced by the mountain in the distance and the lush garden below, and a number of interesting birds can be observed from here.



Kaapsehoop is an old mining town about 30 minutes outside of Nelspruit. The town is fairytale-like with a rich and interesting history, and a number of historical buildings still standing. It offers an interesting insight into old country living.

The surrounding area is also very beautiful, home to waterfalls and beautiful vistas. A great range of wildlife including wild horses, buck, eagles and hawks can also be spotted in this region. Horse and hiking trails can be explored into the beautiful surrounds.


Horse Trails in Kaapsehoop

Not far from the small town of Kaapsehoop is Kaapsehoop Horse Trails. The trails are run on a 17,000 hectare private concession on a forestry plantation. Whether you're a beginner or an experienced rider you can enjoy the trails. All trails are guided and go through undulating grasslands, pine forests and along the breathtaking escarpment.

The cost for the 1 hour trail is R200 per person. For more information contact Christo on 082 774 5826.


Dinner at Orange

At the end of a long day exploring Nelspruit, head to Orange restaurant for a gourmet dinner overlooking the town of Nelspruit. The restaurant has a great deck which allows you to enjoy dining al fresco in the warm Nelspruit climate.

Orange serves an extensive a la carte menu with a great selection of wines, and their chef specials make sure that there's always something new and seasonal to enjoy.