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iMpumalanga (in Swazi and Zulu)
IMpumalanga(in Southern Ndebele)
Mpumalanga arms.svg
Coat of arms
Omnia labor vincit (Labour will conquer all)
Mpumalanga in South Africa.svg
Location of Mpumalanga in South Africa
Country South Africa
Established27 April 1994
Capital Mbombela
  Type Parliamentary system
   Premier Refilwe Mtsweni-Tsipane (ANC)
   Legislature Mpumalanga Provincial Legislature
[1] :9
  Total76,495 km2 (29,535 sq mi)
Area rank 8th in South Africa
Highest elevation
2,331 m (7,648 ft)
 (2011) [1] :18 [2]
  Rank 6th in South Africa
  Density53/km2 (140/sq mi)
  Density rank 3rd in South Africa
Population groups
[1] :21
   Black African 90.7%
   White 7.5%
   Coloured 0.9%
   Indian or Asian 0.7%
[1] :25
   Swazi 27.7%
   Zulu 24.1%
   Tsonga 10.4%
   Southern Ndebele 10.1%
   Northern Sotho 9.3%
   Afrikaans 7.2%
   Southern Sotho 3.5%
   English 3.1%
Time zone UTC+2 (SAST)
ISO 3166 code ZA-MP
HDI (2018)0.673 [3]
medium · 7th

Mpumalanga ( /əmˌpməˈlɑːŋɡə/ ( Loudspeaker.svg listen ); Swazi, Zulu : iMpumalanga; Tsonga : Humadyambu; Southern Ndebele : IMpumalanga; Northern Sotho, Afrikaans, Southern Sotho: Mpumalanga) is a province of South Africa. The name means "east", or literally "the place where the sun rises" in the Swazi, Xhosa, Ndebele and Zulu languages. Mpumalanga lies in eastern South Africa, bordering Eswatini and Mozambique. It constitutes 6.5% of South Africa's land area. It shares borders with the South African provinces of Limpopo to the north, Gauteng to the west, the Free State to the southwest, and KwaZulu-Natal to the south. The capital is Mbombela. [4]



Before 1994, it was part of the now-defunct Transvaal Province. The province's name was Eastern Transvaal, from its initial establishment in 1994 until 24 August 1995. Prior to the establishment of the province, the term "Eastern Transvaal" was used to refer to the eastern 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 in the latter region. The Drakensberg exceeds heights of 2000 m 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, on the border with Mozambique.

Some of the oldest rocks on earth have been found in the Barberton area; these ancient greenstones and metamorphosed granites form the Crocodile River Mountains in the southeast 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 rock of a younger, Carboniferous to Permian age.

Mpumalanga is the only South African province to border two provinces of Mozambique (Gaza Province to the northeast and Maputo Province to the east), as well as all four districts of Swaziland (Lubombo, Hhohho, Manzini, and Shiselweni Districts).


The Lowveld is subtropical, due to its latitude and proximity to the warm Indian Ocean. The Highveld is comparatively much cooler, due to its altitude of 2300 m to 1700 m 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, while 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, Mbombela, which is in the Lowveld, an hour from Belfast on the Highveld.

Fauna and flora

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

Many species of plants there are unique to the different geological formations within Mpumalanga. Some examples of these formations include serpentines of Barberton Mountains, norites of Sekhukhuneland, quartzites of Blyde River Canyon, and the dolomites in the northern plateaus. [6]

Flag of Mpumalanga Flag of Mpumalanga Province.svg
Flag of Mpumalanga

Law and government

The Mpumalanga Province's legislation is an amalgam of national and regional legislation promulgated before 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 South African governmental websites. Amended and updated versions of the legislation is available through commercial vendors on subscription and at a price. See External links for more information.


Mpumalanga districts and local municipalities Map of Mpumalanga with districts labelled (2011).svg
Mpumalanga districts and local municipalities

Mpumalanga Province is divided into three district municipalities. The district municipalities are in turn divided into 18 local municipalities:

District municipalities



The climatic contrasts between the drier Highveld region, with its cold winters, and the hot, humid Lowveld allow for a variety of agricultural activities. 68% of Mpumalanga is used by agriculture. Crops include maize, wheat, sorghum, barley, sunflower seed, soybeans, macadamia's, groundnuts, sugar cane, vegetables, coffee, tea, cotton, tobacco, citrus, subtropical and deciduous fruit. [7]

Forestry is extensive around Sabie in the far north east of the province. Located near the forests, Ngodwana is the site of one of South Africa's largest paper mills (Sappi). [8]

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. [9]

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. [10]

The highveld region is the most polluted of the world due to the mine industry and plant power stations [11] and the lowveld near the famous Kruger Park is under threat of new mines as well [12]


Bourke's Luck Potholes bridge Motlatse Canyon Bourke's Luck Potholes bridge (2).jpg
Bourke's Luck Potholes bridge

Mpumalanga is popular with tourists. 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. [13] The other major tourist attractions include the Sudwala Caves and the Blyde River Canyon.

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 Five" territory. Towns in the Lowveld are Barberton, Mbombela, White River, Sabie, Graskop, Hazyview, Malelane, Pilgrim's Rest, Lydenburg and Nkomazi. [14]

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. [15]


Population density in Mpumalanga
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<1 /km2
1-3 /km2
3-10 /km2
10-30 /km2
30-100 /km2
100-300 /km2
300-1000 /km2
1000-3000 /km2
>3000 /km2 Mpumalanga population density map.svg
Population density in Mpumalanga
Dominant home languages in Mpumalanga
Northern Sotho
No language dominant Mpumalanga dominant language map.svg
Dominant home languages in Mpumalanga

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.

See also

Related Research Articles

The protected areas of South Africa include national parks and marine protected areas managed by the national government, public nature reserves managed by provincial and local governments, and private nature reserves managed by private landowners. Most protected areas are intended for the conservation of flora and fauna. National parks are maintained by South African National Parks (SANParks). A number of national parks have been incorporated in transfrontier conservation areas.

Geography of South Africa geography of South Africa

South Africa occupies the southern tip of Africa, its coastline stretching more than 2,850 kilometres from the desert border with Namibia on the Atlantic (western) coast southwards around the tip of Africa and then northeast to the border with Mozambique on the Indian Ocean. The low-lying coastal zone is narrow for much of that distance, soon giving way to a mountainous escarpment that separates the coast from the high inland plateau. In some places, notably the province of KwaZulu-Natal in the east, a greater distance separates the coast from the escarpment. Although most of the country is classified as semi-arid, it has considerable variation in climate as well as topography. The total land area is 1,220,813 km2 (471,359 sq mi). It has the 23rd largest Exclusive Economic Zone of 1,535,538 km2 (592,875 sq mi).

Drakensberg Mountain range in South Africa

The Drakensberg is the name given to the eastern portion of the Great Escarpment, which encloses the central Southern African plateau. The Great Escarpment reaches its greatest elevation – 2,000 to 3,482 metres within the border region of South Africa and Lesotho.

Transvaal (province) former province of South Africa

The Province of the Transvaal, commonly referred to as the Transvaal, was a province of South Africa from 1910 until 1994, when a new constitution subdivided it following the end of apartheid. The name "Transvaal" refers to the province's geographical location to the north of the Vaal River. Its capital was Pretoria, which was also the country's executive capital.

Veld African landscape

Veld, also spelled veldt, is a type of wide open rural landscape in Southern Africa. Particularly, it is a flat area covered in grass or low scrub, especially in the countries of South Africa, Lesotho, Eswatini, Zimbabwe and Botswana. A certain sub-tropical woodland ecoregion of Southern Africa has been officially defined as the Bushveld by the World Wide Fund for Nature. Trees are found only in a few places—frost, fire and grazing animals allow grass to grow but prevent the growth of trees.

Mbombela Place in Mpumalanga, South Africa

Mbombela is a city in northeastern South Africa. It is the capital of the Mpumalanga province. Located on the Crocodile River, Mbombela lies about 110 kilometres (68 mi) by road west of the Mozambique border, 330 kilometres (210 mi) east of Johannesburg and about 82 kilometres (51 mi) North of the Eswatini border, Mbombela was one of the host cities of the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

Witbank Place in Mpumalanga, South Africa

eMalahleni is a city situated on the Highveld of Mpumalanga, South Africa, within the Emalahleni Local Municipality. The name Witbank is Afrikaans for "white ridge", and is named after a white sandstone outcrop where wagon transport drivers rested. The city is known for its coal-mining in the surrounding region.

Highveld Natural region in South Africa

The Highveld is the portion of the South African inland plateau which has an altitude above roughly 1500 m, but below 2100 m, thus excluding the Lesotho mountain regions to the south-east of the Highveld. It is home to some of the country's most important commercial farming areas, as well as its largest concentration of metropolitan centres, especially the Gauteng conurbation, which accommodates one-third of South Africa's population.

Phalaborwa Place in Limpopo, South Africa

Phalaborwa is a town in the Mopani District Municipality, Limpopo province, South Africa. It is located near the confluence of the Ga-Selati River and the Olifants, halfway up along the western border of the Kruger National Park in the Lowveld.

Olifants River (Limpopo) river in South Africa

The Olifants River, Lepelle or Obalule is a river in South Africa and Mozambique, a tributary of the Limpopo River. It falls into the Drainage Area B of the Drainage basins of South Africa. The historical area of the Pedi people, Sekhukhuneland, is located between the Olifants River and one of its largest tributaries, the Steelpoort River.

Jacaranda FM South African radio station

Jacaranda FM, previously known as Jacaranda 94.2, is a South African radio station, broadcasting in English and Afrikaans, with a footprint that covers Gauteng, Limpopo, Mpumalanga and the North West Province and boasts a listening audience of 2 million people a week and a digital community of more than 1,1 million people a month. The station's format is mainstream with programming constructed around a playlist of hit music from the 1980s, 1990s and now.

The Mpumalanga Tourism and Parks Agency (MTPA) Board is a governmental organisation responsible for maintaining wilderness areas and public nature reserves in Mpumalanga Province, South Africa.

Sabie River river in South Africa and Mozambique

The Sabie River is a river in South Africa that forms part of the Komati River System. The catchment area of the Sabie-Sand system is 6,320 km2 in extent. The Sabie is one of the most biologically diverse rivers in South Africa, with generally good water quality.

Blyde River Canyon Nature Reserve Biosphere reserve in South Africa | designated in 2001

Blyde River Canyon Nature Reserve is situated in the Drakensberg escarpment region of eastern Mpumalanga, South Africa. The reserve protects the Blyde River Canyon, including sections of the Ohrigstad and Blyde Rivers and the geological formations around Bourke's Luck Potholes, where the Treur River tumbles into the Blyde below. Southwards of the canyon, the reserve follows the escarpment, to include the Devil's and God's Window, the latter a popular viewpoint to the lowveld at the reserve's southern extremity.

Kowyn Pass

Kowyn Pass is situated in Mpumalanga province, on the R535 road between Graskop and Bosbokrand, South Africa. The pass was completed on 3 October 1959. It descends from an altitude of 1,448 metres above sea level near Graskop, to 500 metres at Bosbokrand, which implies an average slope of 1:14.

Blyde River river in South Africa

The Blyde River, Motlatse River, or Umdhlazi River is a river in the Mpumalanga and Limpopo provinces of South Africa. It has a northwards course in steep-sided valleys and ravines of the Mpumalanga Drakensberg, before it enters the lowveld region of the Limpopo province. It has its ultimate origins at around 2,000 m altitude in the Hartebeesvlakte conservation area, to the north of Long Tom Pass. It runs through the Blyde River Canyon.

Bushbuckridge Local Municipality Local municipality in Mpumalanga, South Africa

Bushbuckridge Local Municipality is a third-level administrative division in the Ehlanzeni District of Mpumalanga in South Africa. Commercial farming, which consists of pine /bluegum plantations, Tobacco, cotton, sub-tropical fruits and vegetables are farmed in the municipality's countryside. The municipality includes part of Kruger National Park. Bushbuckridge is the largest local municipality in Mpumalanga, both in terms of land and by population size.

Sekhukhuneland Natural region in South Africa

Sekhukhuneland or Sekukuniland is a natural region in north-east South Africa, located in the historical Transvaal zone, former Transvaal Province, also known as Bopedi.

Kiepersol Place in Mpumalanga, South Africa

Kiepersol is a village falling under Mbombela Local Municipality in the Mpumalanga, province of South Africa.

Panorama Route

The Panorama Route is a scenic road in South Africa connecting several cultural and natural points of interest. The route, steeped in the history of South Africa, is in Mpumalanga province, centred around the Blyde River Canyon, the world's third largest canyon. It features numerous waterfalls, one of the largest afforested areas in South Africa, and several natural landmarks. The route starts at the foot of the Long Tom Pass just outside Lydenburg, following the natural descent from the Great Escarpment to the Lowveld, and ending at the border of the Mpumalanga and Limpopo provinces near the Echo Caves.


  1. 1 2 3 4 Census 2011: Census in brief (PDF). Pretoria: Statistics South Africa. 2012. ISBN   978-0-621-41388-5. Archived (PDF) from the original on 13 May 2015.
  2. "Mid-year population estimates, 2019" (PDF). Statistics South Africa. 31 July 2019. Retrieved 31 December 2019.
  3. "Sub-national HDI – Area Database – Global Data Lab". Retrieved 13 September 2018.
  5. "Private Safari Lodge".
  6. Ernst., Schmidt (2007). Trees and shrubs of Mpumalanga and Kruger National Park. Lotter, Mervyn., McCleland, Warren., Burrows, J. E. (John Eric), 1950-, Burrows, Sandie, 1959-, Hempson, Dave., Amm, Mike. (2nd ed., rev. and updated ed.). Johannesburg: Jacana Media. ISBN   978-1-77009-375-1. OCLC   309666362.
  7. "Mpumalanga Province Freight Data Bank > Industries > Agriculture, Hunting & Forestry". Retrieved 1 February 2019.
  8. Mpumalanga in brief: The economy of the province Archived 13 May 2006 at the Wayback Machine (URL accessed 30 April 2006)
  9. "Barberton" Archived 28 September 2011 at the Wayback Machine , Mpumalanga South Africa, (URL accessed 30 April 2006)
  10. "Coal", South Africa Country Analysis Brief, Energy Information Administration. (URL accessed 30 April 2006)
  11. "Kruger National Park", South Africa Explored.
  12. "Mpumalanga news". Archived from the original on 26 January 1998.
  13. Mpumalanga Haute Cuisine

Coordinates: 26°S30°E / 26°S 30°E / -26; 30