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Mpumalanga: quick facts
 Capital: Mbombela
Languages: 27.7% siSwati, 24.1% isiZulu, 10.4% Xistonga, 10.1% isiNdebele
Population: 4 039 939 (2011)
Share of SA population: 7.8%
Area: 76 495 square kilometres
Share of total SA area: 6.3%
Mpumalanga (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.
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.

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.

Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park is situated in this province, 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).

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.
Some 30% of the people speak siSwati, the language of neighbouring Swaziland, with 26% speaking isiZulu, 10.3% isiNdebele, 10,2% Northern Sotho and 11,6% Xitsonga.

 

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