The Top 7 Best Nelspruit Attractions

Traveling is all about seeing and doing the most you can before your time is up at your holiday destination. We have put together a list of the highest-rated Nelspruit Attractions we think should be visited by not only tourists but even locals. Sometimes you can get caught up in the buzz and forget to take a moment and look around at some of the most astounding places on earth, right here in the ‘small’ city of Nelspruit. Our luxury Shandon Lodge is conveniently located in the hills of Nelspruit with attractions and activities in every direction.

Kruger National Park

The Kruger National Park remains one of the highest-rated Nelspruit attractions, with good reason. This National Park covers a mind-blowing 1.95 million hectares. Featuring 147 species of mammal including the famous Big Five, 517 species of birds roaming the African sky and 126 species of reptiles soaking up the sun. You can enjoy this journey from the comfort of your own car, or you can go full out safari and book a tour. There are restaurants at most of the camps which makes for a good spot to grab lunch!

A recent TripAdvisor review from Sandra C gives us some really good tips:

“The Kruger Park or surrounding lodges are always a must for anyone who wants to get away for a day or weekend and see the beautiful bush and wildlife. The Park is so green and lush after the rains. Saw so many Zebra and Giraffe. I managed to see a few other wildlife as well as birdlife species. Some days you are blessed enough to see all Big Five as well as many other animals. The two places I enjoy having a meal at are, The Cattle Baron and the Take-Aways shop at Skukuza, as well as the Mug n Bean at Lower Sabie, the food is fresh and delicious!

A few tips:

Always be vigilant and take into account the animals that roam around while you drive and do not speed! ALWAYS make way for the animals and DO NOT drive right up close to Elephant, Rhino or Giraffe, give them a chance to move along as to not agitate them. And also, do not talk loud or shout, as not to startle the animals.”

A pair of Zebras in the Kruger National Park - Nelspruit Attractions - Shandon Lodge

Image Source: wikipedia

Sudwala Caves

These caves lie in the Drakensberg escarpment and are the oldest known caves in the world. The caves feature a stalagmite and stalactite feature of over 200 million years old. These caves were used by historian African farmers as a shelter for them and their cattle. There are guided tours every 10 minutes, which last for about 30 minutes. These regular guided tours take you 600 meters in and 150 meters underground. When you are done looking at some ancient rock formations head over to the other side, where you will find a Dinosaur park filled with life-sized replicas of these ancient creatures.

A recent Google Review from Christopher Chiriga:

“An awesome place to visit. For the adults, the scenery and views are just amazing. The caves are the main attraction & well worth the entry fee that you pay. It’s better to go in with the tour guide, because they make the experience much more interesting. There is also a butterfly park & a dinosaur park which could appeal to the kids. There is vehicle access to the foot of the cave and then some steep steps to get to the cave entrance & viewing decks.”

The sudwala Caves- Nelspruit Attractions - Shandon Lodge

Image Source: Sudwala Caves

Chimp Eden

The Jane Goodall Chimpanzee Eden Sanctuary is a sanctuary for mis-handled chimps from all over the world. This amazing institute is giving these animals the life they deserve with big, bushy enclosures and a lot of good company! The sanctuary offers guided tours at 10h00, 12h00 and 14h00, giving visitors the chance to hear the crazy life stories of the Chimps. Chimp Eden was established in 2006 and is so far the only Chimpanzee sanctuary in the country.

A recent Google Review from Mathilda:

“Amazing experience! We could see the chimps from very close. The guide was feeding them and talking to them during the tour which entertained them a lot. This is a great NGO that rescues those chimps. Most of them have a very sad story. I highly recommend you to come and visit them as you will have a lot of fun and help the organisation to continue their great project.”

5 Sitting chimps at Chimp Eden - Nelspruit Attractions - Shandon Lodge

Image Source: Chimp Eden

Panorama Route

The route is known as one of the best scenic routes in the country by many. Centered around the Blyde River Canyon; the third largest canyon in the world. This route features numerous well-known waterfalls such as The Mac Mac falls, Lisbon falls, Berlin falls and many other stunning works of art by nature. Noteworthy spots you should stop at along the route; Gods Window, Berlin Falls, Bourke’s Luck potholes and the Blyde River Canyon. We recommend taking some cash with you on the route as most places don’t accept card machines.

A recent TripAdvisor review:

“A must-see for anyone visiting South Africa. The views are breath-taking, wherever you go. Lots of waterfalls that can be visited up close. Interesting little towns in the area that offer cultural experiences and good food.”

Travellers taking in the Panorama Route view - Nelspruit Attractions - Shandon Lodge

Image Source: walkersons

Lowveld Botanical Gardens

The Lowveld Botanical Gardens offer some spectacular views, even for those that aren’t that into plants. One of the main attractions of the gardens has to be the Crocodile and Nels river coming together, creating an array of water shows for guests. The gardens feature a suspension bridge and extended walkways that give guests the opportunity to get as close to the lush canopy as possible. Read more here about the Botanical Gardens Nelspruit

A recent TripAdvisor review:

“We spent a day at the botanical gardens, we had a wonderful time, the gardens are green and very well maintained, if you need to get away from the city, and just find some inner peace and soul cleansing, then the Botanical Gardens is the place to go! Well done, and keep up the good standard.”

A pond in the lowveld botanical gardens - Nelspruit Attractions - Shandon Lodge

Image Source: Pathfinda

Queen Rose Hiking Trail

The Queen Rose Hiking Trail isn’t just any hiking trail – Some people consider this to be the most stunning place on earth. Located in the Nelshoogte Forest Reserve in Barberton, Mpumalanga. This 2-day hiking trail is roughly 21km long and can be hiked, mountain biked or slack-packed. The trail has a fair demand for fitness and requires a decent pair of hiking boots. Spectacular views and an unforgettable journey await you. Read more about the Queen Rose Hiking Trail

A recent Google review from Armand Heymans:

“Really relaxed hiking trail with some very nice views. Not challenging but there are some steep climbs and ropes and chains to climb. It is worth it though for the views and the chance to swim in the various pools. The accommodation is basic but there is a generator and hot showers. Nice braai areas and a lapa for the rainy nights, The owners are really friendly and the roads can be handled by a sedan.”

Image Source: Willie Botha


Kaapsehoop is a very small town located in the Drakensberg escarpment above Nelspruit. This picturesque little town has gravel roads and lanterns lighting passages with small shops and restaurants in every direction. Kaapsehoop is home to many wild horses; They will definitely be seen in the town, roaming the streets and sometimes visiting the restaurants. Grab some drinks from the local bar after hiking up the mountain and experiencing the breath-taking views of the Barberton Valley.

A recent TripAdvisor review:

“Kaapschehoop is a “Neverland” – It feels as if you’re on a different planet. Experience peace and tranquillity, which is difficult to find anywhere. I will always go back to the rocks, maple trees, waterfalls…all part of this beautiful town”

Horses in Kaapsehoop - Nelspruit Attractions - Shandon Lodge

Image Source: longcreek