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name changed from Eastern Transvaal on 24 August 1995, is a province of South Africa. The name means east or literally "the place where the sun rises" in Swazi, Xhosa, Ndebele and Zulu. Mpumalanga lies in eastern South Africa, north of KwaZulu-Natal and bordering Swaziland and Mozambique. It constitutes 6.5% of South Africa's land area. In the north it borders on Limpopo, to the west Gauteng, to the southwest the Free State and to the south KwaZulu-Natal. The capital is Nelspruit recently renamed to Mbombela. Prior to 1994, Mpumalanga was part of Transvaal Province. 


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The Drakensberg Escarpment divides Mpumalanga into a westerly half consisting mainly of high-altitude grassland called the Highveld and an eastern half situated in low altitude subtropical Lowveld/Bushveld, mostly savanna habitat. The southern half of the Kruger National Park is situated in the latter region. The Drakensberg exceeds heights of 2000m in most places with this central region of Mpumalanga being very mountainous. These regions have alpine grasslands and small pockets of Afromontane Forest. The Lowveld is relatively flat with interspersed rocky outcrops. The Lebombo Mountains form a low range in the far east forming the border with Mozambique.

Some of the oldest rocks on earth are to be found in the Barberton area and these ancient greenstones and metamorphosed granites form the Crocodile River Mountains in the south-east of the province. The Lowveld is underlaid by African Cratonic Basement rocks of ages in excess of 2 billion years. The Highveld is mostly Karoo Sequence sedimentary rocks of a younger, Carboniferous to Permian age.

  • Gaza Province, Mozambique – northeast
  • Maputo Province, Mozambique – east
  • Lubombo District, Swaziland – east, southwest of Maputo Province
  • Hhohho District, Swaziland – east, northwest of Lubombo
  • Manzini District, Swaziland – east, south of Hhohho
  • Shiselweni District, Swaziland – southeast, south of Manzini

Mpumalanga is the only province of South Africa to border two provinces of Mozambique or to border all four districts of Swaziland.


The Lowveld is subtropical, due to its proximity to the warm Indian Ocean and latitude. The Highveld is comparatively much cooler, due to its altitude of 2300m to 1700m above sea level. The Drakensberg Escarpment receives the most precipitation, with all other areas being moderately well-watered by mostly summer thunderstorms. The Highveld often experiences severe frost, whilst the Lowveld is mostly frost-free. Winter rainfall is rare, except for some drizzle on the escarpment. The differences in climate are demonstrated below by the capital, Nelspruit, which is in the Lowveld, located just an hour from Belfast on the Highveld.

  • Nelspruit averages: January maximum: 29 °C (min: 19 °C), July maximum: 23 °C (min: 6 °C), annual precipitation: 767 mm
  • Belfast averages: January maximum: 23 °C (min: 12 °C), June maximum: 15 °C (min: 1 °C), annual precipitation: 878 mm

The diverse and special flora and fauna of the province enjoys protection in a range of nature reserves, including:

  • Blyderivierspoort Nature Reserve
  • Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park, previously known as Gaza-Kruger-Gonarezhou Transfrontier Park. This international game park brings together some of the best and most established wildlife areas in southern Africa.
  • The park is managed as an integrated unit across an unprecedented three international boundaries which includes the Kruger National Park (South Africa), Limpopo National Park (Mozambique) and Gonarezhou National Park (Zimbabwe).
  • Sabi-Sand Game Reserve, which is built up of numerous private reserves: Idube Safari Lodge, Chitwa Chitwa Game Lodge, Djuma Game Reserve, Exeter Game Lodge, Inyati Private Game Reserve, Leopard Hills Private Game Reserve, Lion Sands Private Game Reserve, Londolozi Game Reserve, Mala Mala Game Reserve, Savanna Private Game Reserve and Ulusaba Game Lodge.

The Mpumalanga Province's legislation is an amalgam of national and regional legislation promulgated prior to the establishment of the province on 27 April 1994, and legislation which it has itself promulgated since it came into existence. Lists of and the original texts of this legislation are available through various South African governmental websites, and amended and updated versions of the legislation is available through commercial vendors on subscription and at a price.


Mpumalanga Province is divided into three municipal districts, which are further subdivided into 17 local municipalities:

  • Gert Sibande District
    • Albert Luthuli
    • Msukaligwa
    • Mkhondo
    • Pixley Ka seme
    • Lekwa
    • Dipaleseng
    • Govan Mbeki

The climatic contrasts between the drier Highveld region, with its cold winters, and the hot, humid Lowveld allow for a variety of agricultural activities. More than 68% of Mpumalanga is utilised by agriculture. Crops include maize, wheat, sorghum, barley, sunflower seed, soybeans, groundnuts, sugar cane, vegetables, coffee, tea, cotton, tobacco, citrus, subtropical and deciduous fruit.Forestry is extensive around Sabie in the far north of the province. Located near the forests, Ngodwana is the site of one of South Africa's largest paper mills (Sappi).Natural grazing covers approximately 14% of Mpumalanga. The main products are beef, mutton, wool, poultry and dairy.


Extensive mining is done and the minerals found include: Gold, Platinum group metals, Silica, Chromite, Vanadiferous Magnetite, Argentiferous Zinc, Antimony, Cobalt, Copper, Iron, Manganese, Tin, Coal, Andalusite, Chrysotile Asbestos, Kieselguhr, Limestone, Magnesite, Talc and Shale.Gold was first discovered in Mpumalanga province in 1883 by Auguste Roberts in the mountains surrounding what is now Barberton. Gold is still mined in the Barberton area today.Mpumalanga accounts for 83% of South Africa's coal production. 90% of South Africa's coal consumption is used for electricity generation and the synthetic fuel industry. Coal power stations are in proximity to the coal deposits. A coal liquefaction plant in Secunda (Secunda CTL) is one of the country's two petroleum-from-coal extraction plants, which is operated by the synthetic fuel company Sasol


Mpumalanga is also a popular tourism destination. Kruger National Park, established in 1898 for the protection of Lowveld wildlife, covering 20,000 square kilometres (7,700 sq mi), is a popular destination. The other major tourist attractions include the Sudwala Caves and the Blyde River Canyon.The various towns in the region have much to offer, like the African Silk farm near Graskop, The coffee farm nearby. Many activities including The big jump, mountain and quad biking, horse trails, river rafting and big game viewing are endemic to the region. This is Big 5 territory. The towns in the Lowveld, comprise of Barberton, Mbombela, White River, Sabie, Graskop. Hazyview, Malelane, Pilgrim's Rest, Lydenburg and Nkomazi.

In 2008 a Haute Cuisine route was formed, trickling from Mbombela down to Hazyview, the Lowveld Gourmet Route covers the four top fine dining restaurants the area has to offer. The restaurants include Summerfields Kitchen, Oliver’s Restaurant, Orange and Salt


Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park is a 35,000 km² peace park that is in the process of being formed. It will link the Limpopo National Park known as Coutada 16 in Mozambique, Kruger National Park in South Africa, Gonarezhou National Park, Manjinji Pan Sanctuary and Malipati Safari Area in Zimbabwe, as well as the area between Kruger and Gonarezhou, the Sengwe communal land in Zimbabwe and the Makuleke region in South Africa.The memorandum of understanding for the creation of the peace park was signed on November 10, 2000 as the Gaza-Kruger-Gonarezhou Transfrontier Park. In October 2001 the name was changed to the Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park. By the 5th World Parks Congress held in Durban, South Africa in 2003 the treaty had not been ratified in Mozambique and Zimbabwe.

Fences between the parks have started to come down allowing the animals to take up their old migratory routes that were blocked before due to political boundaries.On the October 4, 2001 the first 40 including 3 breeding herds of a planned 1000 elephants were translocated from the over-populated Kruger National Park to the war-ravaged Limpopo National Park. It would take 2½ years to complete the translocation.The new Giriyondo Border Post between South Africa and Mozambique has started in March 2004.There are new plans that should increase the size of the park to 99,800 km² (36,000 sq. mi.).

Shingwedzi 4x4 eco-trail: five night, six day fully self-sufficient 4x4 trail. Starts at Pafuri Picnic Site in Kruger National Park, enters Mozambique at Pafuri Border Post and traverses Parque Nacional do Limpopo, the Mozambique sector of the Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park camping at pans and on river banks.

Rio Elefantes Canoeing Trail: three day paddle down the Rio Elefantes (Olifants River) from its confluence with the Shingwedzi to its confluence with the Limpopo. Camp wild at the side of the river in rustic bushcamps. Guided, fully catered and ported.

Palarangala Wilderness Trail: three nights spent camping out in a rustic bushcamp with days spent exploring the pristine wilderness area stocked with game from the adjacent Kruger National Park. Guided and fully catered.

Lebombo Hiking Trail: three night and four day trail spent hiking through pristine wilderness with good bird and game sightings. Fully catered with overnight accommodation in rustic bushcamps. Guided, fully catered and ported.
Elefantes Gorge Backpacking and Fishing Trail: three night and four day fully self-sufficient guided trail spent traversing the plateau of the Lebombos, camping wild and fishing for Tiger from the shores of Massingir Dam, an important Breeding Ground for the Nile Crocodile

Kruger National Park is one of the largest game reserves in Africa. It covers an area of 19,485 square kilometres (7,523 sq mi) in the provinces of Limpopo and Mpumalanga in northeastern South Africa, and extends 360 kilometres (220 mi) from north to south and 65 kilometres (40 mi) from east to west. Areas of the park were first protected by the government of the South African Republic in 1898, and it became South Africa's first national park in 1926.To the west and south of the Kruger National Park are the two South African provinces of Limpopo and Mpumalanga. In the north is Zimbabwe, and to the east is Mozambique.

It is now part of the Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park, a peace park that links Kruger National Park with the Gonarezhou National Park in Zimbabwe, and with the Limpopo National Park in Mozambique.
The park is part of the Kruger to Canyons Biosphere, an area designated by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization UNESCO as an International Man and Biosphere Reserve the "Biosphere".

Mpumalange Attractions

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