Nelspruit which started as a village settlement in the nineteenth century, literally means the creek – Nel. This name was given after the Nel brothers who used to graze their flocks in the area. It is said these brothers met with the railway surveyors in the creek.
The city itself lies on the Lowveld escarpment of the Mpumalanga province, by the Crocodile River. At a size of 7263 square kilometres and a population of 58 670 as of the 2011 census, it is no wonder its name was officially changed to Mbombela in 2014. This new name, Mbombela, means a lot of people in a small place in the local Siswati language.
As the provincial capital of Mpumalanga, which is “The place of the rising sun”, South Africa’s most easterly province. There are various socio-economic activities that take place in Nelspruit. The provincial government offices are situated in the city, just behind one of the major shopping malls – Riverside mall. The almost completed Mpumalanga High court is also situated in the city, on the opposite side of town. The four major banks of South Africa each have their provincial headquarters in Nelspruit. With regards to institutions of higher learning, there is a great array of them. The popular UNISA has a regional office in the heart of the CBD, while The Tshwane University of Technology has a satellite campus. The highlight of them all is the University of Mpumalanga, which although operational, is currently a buzzing construction site, creating employment for some of the local people.
The various expansions taking place, such as the new high court and the inception of the University of Mpumalanga have seen an influx of people into Nelspruit. Many migrate to work in the city from other towns, while there is also local rural to urban migration from the surrounding areas. As Nelspruit lies a mere 82km from Josefsdal, the closest boarder post to Swaziland and 110km from Lebombo, the boarder post to Mozambique there is also movement of people from these angles. Some come to settle while numerous others visit for various reasons including the mere purchase of household groceries. All these are factors that drive the residential property demand in Nelspruit.
On offer in Nelspruit are different types of housing, from small starter units such as single bedroomed flats to luxurious homes inside or out of the ever growing in popularity security estates. There are even a number of wildlife estates, where you can cohabit with fauna such as giraffes, zebras and bucks. In between are your average suburban type freestanding family homes, both old and modern and the security complex townhouses and apartments.
Most properties in Nelspruit offer beautiful picturesque views either of the surrounding mountains and works of Mother Nature or of the city in the valley below, depending of course on the properties position and location. The great influx of people and expansion of Nelspruit has, however, lead to the imminent demand for housing that continues to fuel the thriving local construction industry. No matter the size of dwelling one owns, residential property in Nelspruit is surely a lucrative affair at the moment and for the future.
Nelspruit sits on the Maputo corridor, an important trade route which links Johannesburg and Polokwane to the port in Maputo, Mozambique. This was the greatest reason for the inception of the railway line in the late 19th century and in present day, the N4 highway is another important transport route on the corridor. This shows that there is a lot of trade going on in Nelspruit as people conduct business, even across borders. The prudent investor can also look at venturing into the commercial property sector. Many businesses outsource properties to operate from and rent commercial buildings throughout the city.
Tourism is one of the major economic activities in Nelspruit. The city is the gateway to various destinations and tourist attractions in Mpumalanga. These include the world famous Kruger National park. It is in such close proximity that one can drive to, spend the day and drive back. Being the largest city in the area and a mere 25km from the Kruger Mpumalanga International airport, many tourists to the area chose to stay in Nelspruit, for the convenience of available amenities. They then explore places such as The Sudwala caves, God’s window, Pilgrim’s rest, The Graskop gorge and various others on day visits from Nelspruit. This high tourist activity feeds the hospitality industry and accommodation type in Nelspruit.
The weather and climate of the area is superb! With a Cwa climate, according to Koppen – Geiger climate classification, winters are warm and dry while summers are hot and wet. These are perfect climatic conditions for agriculture. Coupled by fertile soils Nelspruit is a hive of farming activities.
The main agricultural produce of the area are citrus and tropical fruits such as oranges and bananas. Forestry is another industry leader and is strongly backed by the presence of one of Sappi’s major mills just outside the city. Nuts, mainly macadamia’s are also grown and produced in the area both for local consumption and export. For those with green fingers and a passion for farming one can easily get a good return by investing in a farm in Mbombela.
Another furiously rising sector is that of retirement housing. Many senior citizens find it worthwhile to retire here and spend the last leg of their lives in these spectacular surroundings. The weather is perfect for the ageing and there is a variety of retirement housing with world class facilities.
Entertainment is at hand from sport such as football and rugby to cultural festivals like the Innibos and color run, which the elderly can enjoy. Places of interest are dotted all around. Others like the Lowveld Botanical Gardens where the Crocodile and Nel rivers meet. This is just a stone throw away from a shopping junction. Those who looking to retire in an urban setting but without the fast pace hustle and bustle of major metropolis find that coming to retire in Nelspruit is a bliss.
The different activities that take place in Nelspruit have made it a sea with a variety of fish swimming therein. People from all walks of life such as students, construction and paper mill workers, large scale farmers, right across to business executives and top provincial government officials are found here. Each class has different needs when it comes to property. This is wonderful news for the property investor as any magnitude investment in the residential, commercial or agricultural property sector in Nelspruit is sure to reap one some substantial rewards.