Name Mbombela Stadium
Year completed 2009
Home to To be confirmed
Trivia Work was delayed on the project as the land used was occupied by a school that had to be relocated first. The stadium has 1,030 toilets. Spectators at the front of the stands will be closer to the pitch than anywhere else at the tournament
The new Mbombela Stadium is a 46,000-seater arena located 5km west of town in Mataffin. The Mbombela - which means 'many people in a small space' - has been nicknamed the 'Giraffe Stadium' because of the 18 roof supports designed to look like the inhabitants of Kruger National Park, one of Africa's largest game reserves. Just off the N4, access by car or bus should pose no problems. Organisers have designated four park-and-ride sites: Nelspruit Rugby Club, Nelspruit High School, Bergvlam High School and the Agricultural Research Centre. The Fan Park is set to be housed up at the Agricultural Showgrounds.
Where to go, what to see The waves of shoppers from Mozambique and Swaziland will not be the only foreigners heading for World Cup venue Nelspruit in the summer of 2010. Formerly known as the Eastern Transvaal, this area is around 360km east of Johannesburg on the N4 highway and plans are well underway for the town to welcome some 250,000 football fans from all over the world for the greatest show of them all. At the heart of South Africa's hot and dry Lowveld, wedged between the Drakensberg mountain range and Mozambique, Nelspruit's main claim to fame is its proximity to the country's ultimate wildlife destination, Kruger National Park, yet it would be a little short-sighted just to regard it merely as an over-developed trading post or stopping-off point for tourists. While not exactly a recognised focal point of South Africa, this town does have its strong points: an olde worlde charm, plenty of green open spaces and a vast array of excellent food options. When the sun shines here - which it often does - you could almost be in one of those neat and pretty Californian valleys. Besides the football action - four first-round matches in total - there should no shortage of entertainment for the visitors to Nelspruit. Set on the banks of the Crocodile River to the north of downtown, the meticulously-tendered Lowveld National Botanical Garden makes for a relaxing oasis of tropical vegetation and natural waterfalls and offers a great place to eat in the Makulu Manzi restaurant. The gardens are on Route 40, about 2km north of the junction with the N4, and the entrance fee is R10. Close by and yet a world apart is the Emnotweni Casino, a Belle Époque structure equipped with all the mandatory slot machines, roulette wheels and craps tables, while next door is Nelspruit's best shopping mall, the glitzy Riverside, complete with supermarket, a wide range of stores, coffee shops and restaurant chains aplenty. Bairro does tasty burgers, steaks and ribs; Spur is in the same ballpark; and, as its name suggests, Milky Lane specialises in ice cream. Adrenaline junkies will not have to look far for their fix as there is abseiling at the Ekhukhenyeni Outdoor Centre on the outskirts of town and, if you head north to the town of Graskop, the 'Big Swing' awaits, a 68m bungee jump into the gorge. A little north-west of town is the popular Croc River Reptile Park and anyone interested in primates will jump at the chance to go to Chimpanzee Eden, a 15-minute drive out of Nelspruit on the R40 to Barberton. Thirty-five kilometres to the west of town are the Sudwala Caves, which, at 2,000 million years old, are the most ancient known to man. However, there's no getting away from the fact that the Kruger National Park, the largest game reserve in the country, is the biggest draw of all. Covering two million hectares and larger than Israel, it really is the promised land for lovers of wildlife, awash with scores of elephants, lions, leopards, hippos and a further cast of thousands. With the highest concentration of animals, the southern part is the most popular and that is good news for visitors to Nelspruit, which is about 60km to the east of the Malelane entrance gate on the N4. Lowveld Tourism in the Crossing Mall on the corner of the N4 and General Dan Pienaar Street take bookings for Kruger trips and other excursions such as to the Blyde River Canyon. No one is likely to go hungry in Nelspruit as quality fresh produce abounds and practically every food fad is catered for. There's everything from Chinese, Greek, Italian and other ethnic eateries to succulent barbecued meat and vegetarian fare, which is influenced by nearby Mozambique. There is no signature dish, but you'll find a raft of high-quality goodies, notably African wild spinach, fantastic game, freshwater trout and prawns. The region is well-known for producing citrus and tropical fruits and nuts, specialising in mango, banana, avocado and pecans. Costa do Sol, a Portuguese joint on Paul Kruger Street, may not boast the most fancy décor but it has seafood fit for a king. Then there is the hilltop Orange Restaurant on Du Preez Stret, which provides not only dramatic views across the town from their veranda but also a nice line in classic French cuisine with a modern touch. Only open for a couple of years, it already boasts an enviable reputation and they do a seriously tasty breakfast. For bush-style ambience and hearty unpretentious cooking, try the Lakeview Country Restaurant a little to the south-west of town on the Kaapschehoop Road. Back in Nelspruit, Brown Street is where the fast-food sizzles. The unimaginatively named Pub on Jones Street is far better than it sounds, top-class in its pub grub and lager. Compact and logically set out, Nelspruit's town centre is easily navigated on foot, but hiring a car is pretty much essential to derive maximum benefit from this strikingly picturesque part of the world. Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport is 20km north of town off the R40 to White River. Intercity buses end up at the Promenade Hotel in Louis Trichardt Street. The train station is slightly north-west of that on Andrew Street, while good hotels are to be found in the Riverside area and on Marloth and Du Preez Streets in the centre. Nelspruit is a town well worth discovering in South Africa's World Cup summer.