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The bustling South African town of Komatipoort is where the Kruger National Park and the Mozambique border post beckons. Komatipoort lies at the crux of two rivers dividing the two countries and is a short 15km drive from the crocodile bridge entrance to Kruger. The town is an important farming centre too, with large scale production of cattle and tropical fruit.
The name Komatipoort is a combination of Swazi and Afrikaans, roughly translated as the place of river cows and the town was originally established both as a customs post and a railway junction on the border between South Africa and Mozambique.
Komatipoort is one of the hottest places in the country and even the winter days regularly exceed 25° Celsius. The town is easily reached from Pretoria and Johannesburg via the N4 national highway and its central location is ideal for holidaymakers wanting to combine a safari and beach vacation.
Top 6 reasons to visit Komatipoort
1. Expect to see hippo and crocodile along the river banks bordering the Kruger National Park crocodile bridge entrance. The southern areas of the park are regularly frequented by wild dog packs and the king of the beasts, the lion.
2. Named after one of the largest elephants that resided in the Kruger Park, Kambaku Komatipoort Golf Course is a beautiful 9-hole course created by farm owners who provided the land and constructed the course. Most holes have river frontage visited by elephants, hippo and crocs.
3. The popular Big 5 MTB Race is an annual mountain biking winter race that begins and ends in Komatipoort. The route runs via fruit plantations and along the Kruger Park fence, and distances range from an easy 10km to a challenging 60km distance.
4. Join a fishing party to the Komati River to test your skill at landing an aggressive tiger fish. These sharp-toothed fish are powerful swimmers and strong tackle is needed to successfully haul in 8-10kg fish commonly found in this river.
5. Komatipoort hosts an exciting prawn festival annually. The prawns arrive from neighbouring Mozambique and are renowned for their quality. The festival has live bands to entertain the crowds and good beer to accompany the shellfish delicacy.
6. If you have the time, travel into Mozambique to visit the country’s magnificent beaches to swim, snorkel or reef dive, otherwise take an island-hopping tour offered by several local boat operators.
The Komatipoort Aerodrome outside the town accepts incoming flights via OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg. The Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport in Nelspruit (Mbombela) is a 115km drive from Komatipoort. Hire a car from Terence Zweni Express if flying in to Komatipoort. Nelspruit has several car hire companies, otherwise order a vehicle online. Arriving in your own vehicle is the most practical option for Komatipoort, however, there are a few taxi services operating between the airports and the town.
Did you know?
During the South African War, a German named Von Steinacker was recruited by the British to blow up the railway bridge in Komatipoort. Von Steinacker recruited renegades and other riffraff to do the deed and succeeded in blocking the Boer transport link to Lourenço Marques (Maputo). After the war, he was summarily released from the British army and landed up penniless.
Mozambique President Samora Machel died in a plane crash under unusual circumstances in 1986 and close to Komatipoort. His first wife Graça was later to marry Nelson Mandela who remained with him until his death in 2013.