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"WHAT'S ON" IN MPUMALANGA
The area is crisscrossed by a network of excellent roads and railway connections, making it highly accessible to the tourist. Because of its popularity as a tourist destination, Mpumalanga is also well served by a number of small airports. Mpumalanga South Africa falls mainly within the Grassland Biome.
The Escarpment and the Lowveld form a transitional zone between this grassland area and the Savannah Biome. Long sweeps of undulating grasslands abruptly change to the thickly forested ravines and cascading waterfalls of the escarpment, only to change again to present the subtropical wildlife splendour of the Lowveld. The escarpment and the Lowveld have always been popular tourist attractions.
Now that new borders have been drawn for this province, only the southern, albeit most popular, part of the Kruger National Park is within this province.
Nelspruit is the legislative capital of the province. This town is the administrative and business centre of the Lowveld and provides a perfect base from which to explore the province.
Witbank is the centre of the local coal-mining industry; Standerton, in the south, is renowned for its large dairy industry; Piet Retief in the south-east is a production area for tropical fruit and sugar; while a large sugar industry is also found at Malelane in the east. Ermelo is the district in South Africa which produces the most wool; Barberton is one of the oldest gold-mining towns in South Africa; and Sabie is situated in the forestry heartland of the country.
The green gold of Sabie and Graskop provides a large part of the country's total requirement for forestry products. These forestry plantations are also an ideal backdrop for eco tourism opportunities, with a variety of popular hiking trails, myriad water-falls, patches of indigenous forest and a variety of nature reserves. The biggest of these is the Blyde River Canyon Nature Reserve, where God's Window provides unforgettable vistas of the Lowveld. An oasis is provided by the mineral springs at Badplaas.
The Panorama Route, one of the scenic highlights of any tour through South Africa, proceeds along the escarpment. In the expanse of the Lowveld lies the Kruger National Park, the world's biggest game reserve. The Panorama Route in Mpumalanga includes some magnificent tourist destinations, such as: The Bourke's Luck Potholes, The Sudwala Caves, God's Window, the Three Sisters, Pilgrim's Rest (with its historical restored buildings filled with curios of the highest quality, as well as the history of the Gold Rush in South Africa), The Lydenburg Heads as well as a variety of Trout Farms and Trout Fishing venues.
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The Panorama Route is a must for all tourists to Mpumalanga Province.
Chrissiesmeer is the largest natural freshwater lake in South Africa. It is famous for its large variety of aquatic birds, especially flamingos.
The Sudwala Caves, deep in the dolomite rocks of the surrounding mountains, is a worth- while tourist stop. This evergreen comer of the country has enormous tourism potential.
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HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) is a variant virus of HTLV-1 (Human T cell Leukemia-Lymphoma Virus 1) and is the causative agent of AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome).
AIDS first surfaced in June 1981 as result of reports from the Los Angeles area, to the Centre of Disease Control, of a type of pneumonia caused by a fungus in homosexual males. Africa is the hardest hit by this disease and poverty and ignorance are major factors contributing to the spread of the virus.
Poverty and unemployment leads to people with nothing to do and so promiscuity increases. This promotes a drift to urban centres looking for employment and as the individual's circumstances get more desperate so prostitution becomes more widespread.
Cultural beliefs and customs and a lack of understanding of the dangers of unprotected sex through ignorance leads to the disease being spread more rapidly.
The fact that the disease can lie dormant with no outward symptoms showing, belies the urgency of a radical change of attitude towards multiple sex partners and unprotected sex.
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Schedule of forthcoming rememberance parades and functions for Barberton, Nelspruit, Sabie and White River Shellholes
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