Witbank is situated in the Cultural Heartland of Mpumalanga. The name Witbank is Afrikaans for ‘White Ridge’ and named after a rocky outcrop of white sandstone where wagon transport drivers rested many years ago. Years ago, travellers discovered coal in this area. Of course, once the coal was discovered, farmers arrived with their wagons to cart away the coal. Once Paul Kruger’s railway line reached this area in 1894, it solved all transport problems and the first coal mines started to operate.
Witbank soon developed into a town in 1903 and today it has developed into a rather large and bustling city where dairy, potatoes, maize, sheep and sweet potatoes are farmed. On 3 March 2006, Witbank was officially renamed eMalahleni, meaning "place of coal".
Witbank is in a coal mining area with more than 22 collieries in the municipal radius. There are a number of power stations (such as the Duvha Power Station), as well as a steel mill (Evraz Highveld Steel and Vanadium Limited) nearby which all require coal. Kusile Power station is the newest and current big game changer in the immediate Witbank area.
Two national highways, the N4 from Pretoria and the N12 from Johannesburg, converge at Witbank and then continue to Komatipoort, on the border of Mozambique.
Witbank boasts plenty of recreation to suit all preferences. Witbank is home to the well known Witbank Dam. This dam is known as the largest municipal dam in the southern hemisphere and boasts a catchment area of more than 3 540 square kilometres! Of course, this magnificent dam is ideal for numerous exciting water sports such as skiing and fishing. Relax and watch the vibrant bird life in the area or enjoy a hike on one of the many beautiful hiking trails.
Witbank also offers opportunities to go parasailing, golfing, scenic hiking and adrenaline pumping 4×4 trails. This city is also near to the popular Kruger National Park where excellent game viewing of the Big 5 can be enjoyed.
Witbank is the home town of the Witbank Black Aces football team. The Witbank Skydiving Club is one of the better-known clubs catering for this form of recreation and has been in existence for 30 years. Hiking trails and bushveld walks are offered by various enterprises in the surrounding area.
Real estate information
Apart from a few hotels, there are many guest houses. These vary from the utilitarian to the luxurious, and also cater for many of the business travelers visiting Witbank as well as those travelling to Nelspruit, Swaziland and Mozambique.
A casino complex is accessible within a few hundred meters from the N4 highway, providing two hotels, cinemas, ten-pin bowling and restaurants as well as the traditional gambling facilities. The Highveld Mall is built immediately next to the casino and is a retail hub for locals as well as for many residents of towns in the vicinity.
To accommodate the rapid growth of the city, properties in Witbank are fast being developed, bought by investors, coal mining companies and real estate developers.