• Mbombela, formerly known as Nelspruit, was founded by the Nel brothers in the middle of a prime grazing area.
  • It has evolved from wide open spaces to a regional city and a hub for tourists.


The capital of Mpumalanga and home to the Pumas rugby team, Mbombela, has changed a great deal since its humble beginnings.

Then Nelspruit, it was founded in 1895 by the Nel brothers, who grazed their cattle along the Crocodile River in the winter. It owes much of its early success to the Eastern Railway Line.

See also: This is what Port Elizabeth looked like then and now

With the help of Mpumalanga Heritage and the society's vice chairperson, Marius Bakkes, we got to see how the city has evolved over the years.

The Nelspruit Town Hall - now a hotel.

Situated on corner Henshall Street and Samora Machel Drive/N4, it is hard to imagine that what is today known as the Orion Hotel Promenade, used to be the town hall.


Voortrekker Street and Second Avenue, in 1936 and today.


The El Madre area in the 1970s...

And now


The Post Office in Voortrekker Street, then and now.

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