Mbombela (formerly called Nelspruit) is the capital and most populous municipality. Situated mainly on the high plateau grasslands of the highveld, the land rises in the northeast to mountain peaks and the high escarpment of the Drakensberg Range, then plunges in places to low-lying areas of the lowveld.
There is a large petrochemical industry in the highveld region, as well as manufacturing. Gold, platinum, and coal are important mineral resources. Corn, wheat, and other grains are grown in the cooler highveld areas, while sugar, citrus and a variety of subtropical fruits are common crops in the subtropical lowveld. There is also sheep farming and forestry. Tourism is important, with Kruger National Park a popular destination. The principal languages are Swati (Swazi) and Zulu.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2023, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
See more Encyclopedia articles on: South African Political Geography