Known for its huge rivers, splashing hippos and immersive culture, Limpopo is one of the most interesting, and abundant provinces in South Africa. Just a short distance from Jozi, the former Northern Province is one of wild bushveld, big five, and amazing experiences. Here are the top ten reasons why you just have to take a Sho’t Left and visit this beautiful region for yourself.
The Big 5
Limpopo is known for its incredible wildlife. Not just found in the Kruger Park, South Africa’s amazing animals are showcased in a number of smaller and sometimes private game parks dotted around the province. For some reason the wildlife seems bigger and more exciting in the place of strong, gushing waterfalls, enormous trees, open sky, and never-ending wilds.
As Limpopo is bordered on its various sides by Botswana, Zimbabwe, and Mozambique it is known as the Gateway to Africa. You can stay in the province, and be able to take day trips to the surrounding countries. This opens up your possible experiences tenfold.
Places to see include The Mapungubwe Heritage Site and The Ribolla Cultural Route, which together combine both the old and the new. The Mapungubwe Heritage site dates back to the Iron Age, complete with San rock art. The Ribolla Cultural route, on the other hand, explores traditional young artists in their home villages. One can view their pieces as well as see how traditional Venda people live.
The Oppikoppi music festival is well known among South Africans who enjoy good quality music, a great time and lots to eat. World class acts brush shoulders with some lesser known ones, all set in the sleepy town of Northam. If you love camping and awesome people, this is the weekend getaway for you.
Magic and Mysticism
Limpopo has more than its fair share of legends and mysteries. If you like stories which give you goosebumps, be sure to visit Lake Fundudzi & Thathe Vondo Forest. Whispered stories of a great white crocodile, a giant python and a village of cursed people at the bottom of a lake can all be discovered with informative and interesting guided tours. Not to mention the Cave of Hearths, where rock art and a human mandible show testament to some of our earliest ancestors.
The flowers are incredible
The Magoebaskloof Spring festival is a riot of colours and a feast for the eyes. The centrepieces are the amazing number of orchids grown by the Magoebaskloof Hotel, but in spring many other plants put on a living painting as well. The hotel itself was built in the 1930s, but was almost completely destroyed by fire in 2004. Of the original building only the Post Box Pub, the Dickie Dagge conference room and one wing of rooms survived.
The mountains are ancient
The Waterberg is one of the oldest mountain ranges in the country, and was the first biosphere to be declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in South Africa. You can find everything from diverse bird species, to big game and even bigger trees in the Waterberg Biosphere. History abounds as well, with some of the sites dating back to primitive man. For those who like spelunking, there is no shortage of caves to explore, just make sure that you do it with a guide and not alone!
The water is warm
Bela Bela is close to Jozi and easily accessible via the N4. Formerly Warmbaths, the region is well known for its resorts full of natural hot springs. Relaxing in the steaming mineral water is not only good for the skin but the soul as well.
The trees are huge
Baobabs are possibly Africa’s biggest tree. It is said that the gods dropped the tree out of heaven and it landed on the earth upside down, which is why the branches look like a root network. In any case, Baobabs are awe-inspiring to behold with some being over 1000 years old and actually big enough to fit a very small pub into. Be in awe of the Marula tree, a majestic piece of nature that stands tall at approximately 15 metres. The tree is high in vitamin C and is also used in Amarula Cream liquor—a well-known South African liquor brand.
The people are royalty
The locals of Limpopo have a queen known as the Rain Queen, the hereditary queen of Balobedu. The position of the Rain Queen is matrilineal, meaning succession to the throne is bestowed onto the eldest daughter. Currently, there is no Rain Queen as the last queen passed away in 2015. The next in line to the throne is expected to be crowned when she turns 18.