In 1994 Nelspruit became the capital of Mpumalanga; situated in the valley of the Crocodile River, the town was named after the Nel brothers, who bought the farm upon which the town stands.
Built around the Eastern Line which ran through the area, Nelspruit grew quickly and was proclaimed a town in 1905. Though hampered with Malaria in the early years, Nelspruit grew to be one of the largest producers of tobacco, litchis, mangoes, avocados, etc.
Effective control of this deadly disease helped the community in this valley to flourish. One third of the oranges South Africa exports are produced in the area.
Today Nelspruit is a substantial town situated amid the orange grove. The streets are shaded with beautiful flowering trees. The town hall building attracts many tourists as the sundial on the island is in the shape of a wagon wheel and serves as a memorial to Louis Trichardt and his 1837 trek to Lourenco Marques.
The Lowveld Botanical Gardens are in the town and just outside is the headquarters of the Research Institute for Citrus and Subtropical Fruits. Jacaranda trees which have a gorgeous purple flower are a common site throughout the town in the spring months. Nelspruit is the ideal base for exploring Mpumalanga, and is within 45 minutes drive to the Kruger National Park.