|Location: South Africa » Mpumalanga » South Kruger Park » Hoedspruit|
Hoedspruit - Gateway to the Kurger National Park
Hoedspruit ("hat creek") acquired its name when, after a long trek over the mountains into the heat of the Lowveld, one of the pioneers removed his hat and threw it into the cool waters of the Sandspruit River and decided to stay. Hoedspruit is situated in Mpumalanga near to the Kuger national Park. With its ever-present views over the Drakensberg escarpment, and situation abutting the Kruger National Park, Hoedspruit is surrounded by beautiful game-rich countryside and has a distinctive rural charm.
Where at first there was only an outpost shop, a bank agency and a rondavel serving as a station building, there is today a friendly town with numerous businesses and a growing population. Hoedspruit, on the Selati Railway line from Phalaborwa to Kaapmuiden, is at the heart of the Central Lowveld, and is conveniently situated to explore the regions attractions.
Hoedspruit is the seat of the Maruleng Municipality (literally "Place of the Marula"). This tree (Sclerocarrya birrea) is a common sight in the region. Female trees yield a characteristically fragrant fruit in summer months which has a distinctive skull-shaped hard nut, which gives the tree its latin name. A particular favourite of a number of species including giraffe, kudu, eland, and baboons, the trees also have a reputation for making elephants drunk. There is some dispute on this point, and it appears that the tuskers may in fact suffer from indigestion due to consuming vast quantities of the fruit when it is abundant.
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