Born out of the following vision, “to create a safe, future fit green asset founded on strong partnerships, promoting conservation, social cohesion and cultural vibrancy that drives progress through integration, entrepreneurship and dialog.” aligns with that of the City of Mbombela’s Climate Change Response Policy, and aims to stimulate the establishment and conservation of green spaces in and around the Riverside precinct that serve everyone

The Greater Riverside Biodiversity Initiative (GRBI) is a programme to establish an interconnected web of green spaces approximately 280 hectares in extent in the Greater Riverside area of Mbombela that serves the city, its people, and the economy alike. The GRBI aims to stimulate the establishment of green spaces that serve everyone. These spaces will increase the city’s resilience to climate change, conserve and enhance biodiversity value and generate opportunities for true social and ecological regeneration through the establishment of sustainable and catalytic green spaces within the existing (but neglected) Greater Riverside greenbelt.

The GRBI has been set up as a Not-for-Profit Company (NPC) to manage the clearing, conservation, and activation of the green areas in the GRBI.  The founding steering committee, which is in the process of becoming the board, consists of a number of experienced environmentalists.


To create a safe, future fit green asset founded on strong partnerships, promoting conservation, social cohesion and cultural vibrancy that drives progress through integration, entrepreneurship, and dialog.

“GRBI will create an exceptional asset for the citizens of Mbombela in a sustainable way and establish a new and existing destination for the City”


The master planning for the GRBI envisages potential entertainment, recreational and leisure activities for the green space and could include a tea garden, coffee shop and pop-up market facilities, cycling and walking trails, a ‘Trim Park’, zip-lining and other suitable outdoor and recreational activities. In addition, research and environmental awareness/education facilities, a meditation garden and facilities for occasional events are also envisaged.


“The GRBI will create safe corridors that separate human and vehicular traffic, establishing a more human-friendly and healthier urban environment”


The Riverside Reserve is a great urban park to enable the vision of the GRBI “The heart and soul of the GRBI”

Riverside Reserve a 50 hectare plus contiguous area north of the Riverside precinct that includes the Nels River and significant biodiversity and beauty waiting to be opened up and turned into a great urban park. This is a large area that will anchor the GRBI together with the Botanical Gardens in the east and provide a unique opportunity to create something significant and impactful.

The offerings envisaged for the Riverside Reserve at this stage include:

  • Leisure and Adventure offerings including walking and cycling tracks and trails, open areas including picnic and recreational areas as well as restaurant and coffee shop(s);
  • Environmental and education facilities; and
  • Arts and Culture Centre, including admission/ticketing offices and ablution facilities


Every once in a while, an opportunity presents itself for a community to leave a lasting legacy. The GRBI is one such opportunity for the community of Riverside and the City of Mbombela. An opportunity to recognise and celebrate the environmental beauty and value we have with two magnificent rivers running through the Riverside precinct and city. It is an opportunity where organised active citizenry can collectively make a difference by conserving, preserving and opening up a network of amazing green spaces for the benefit and enrichment of the community.

Should you be interested in getting involved with this initiative please contact

Shivon Wiggins on 082 441 8147

OR for more information.