The Place Of the rising Sun
Mpumalanga derives its name from the Zulu language, meaning “the place where the sun rises”. And indeed it is here where every morning the first rays of sunlight reach South Africa from the east across the Lebombo Mountains.
Mpumalanga, formerly (1994–95) Eastern Transvaal, province, northeastern South Africa. It is bounded by Limpopo province to the north, Mozambique and Swaziland to the east, the provinces of KwaZulu-Natal and Free State to the south, and Gauteng province to the west. Mpumalanga province (called Eastern Transvaal province in 1994–95) was part of former Transvaal province until 1994. Nelspruit is the provincial capital.
The province contains several distinct physiographic regions: the Highveld, a plateau ranging in elevation from 4,000 to 6,000 feet (1,200 to 1,800 metres), in the west; the forested Drakensberg mountains rising to more than 7,500 feet (2,300 metres) in the east; and the Lowveld, a bush-clad plain that slopes gently upward toward the Lebombo Mountains on the Mozambique boundary to the northeast. Much of Mpumalanga is drained by eastward-flowing tributaries of the Limpopo River.
Temperatures in Mpumalanga vary with the elevation, ranging from a mean of 61 °F (16 °C) in the Highveld to a mean of 74 °F (23 °C) in the subtropical Lowveld. Precipitation generally increases from west to east, averaging from 20 to 30 inches (510 to 760 mm) annually in the Highveld and Drakensberg to more than 39 inches (1,000 mm) in parts of the Lowveld. Most of the natural vegetation in the province consists of various types of grassland or savanna parkland, with acacia trees.
Blacks belonging mainly to the Nguni (including the Swazi and the Ndebele) make up about nine-tenths of the province’s total population. They reside mainly in rural areas and speak Bantu languages. Whites make up about one-tenth of the province’s total population and primarily speak Afrikaans.