Piet Retif-Nelspruit

We enter Mpumalanga province, one of the nine South Africa is subdivided into (at the end of our journey we will have visited all but the North West province). We have reached sufficiently far to the North as to have entered the sub-tropical zone, and it shows – the road is flanked by lush vegetation and large plantations. Although citrus farming is a very big business, the fertile soil and warm, relatively humid climate allow for the cultivation of many other tropical fruit, such as mangoes, bananas, avocados, papaya and Macadamia nuts, as well as the ubiquitous sugar cane. Nelspruit, the provincial capital renamed Mbombela in 2009, is a pleasant hill city surprisingly well endowed with glitzy malls and pricey sports cars darting around the well-maintained roads. Asking about, it emerges that Nelspruit caters to the needs of wealthy shopaholics from nearby Mozambique and Swaziland. When it comes to shopping, it’s the same the world over!

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