Limpopo is known for its eco-tourism, wildlife and the Kruger National Park, which is one of Africa’s largest game reserves. The economy is supported by tourism, agriculture and mining. Polokwane is the capital city and is often visited by tourists; the city also hosted the 2010
FIFA World Cup games.
Limpopo is South Africa’s northernmost province and borders with Botswana, Zimbabwe and Mozambique to the north. The province formed part of the Northern Transvaal area prior to 1994 and was renamed Northern Province in 1995. The name remained until 2003 when the province was named after the famous Limpopo River which runs through it on its borders with Botswana and Zimbabwe for 640 kilometers. The name “Limpopo” means “waterfalls” in the Zulu language.
Land size: 125,754 square kilometers
Population size: 5,630,500 people
Population race breakdown: 96.7 black African, 2.6% white, 0.3% Indian/Asian, 0.3% coloured
Languages spoken: 52.9% Northern Sotho, 17% Tsonga, 16.7% Venda, 2.6% Afrikaans
Top 3 Game Reserves in Limpopo
The Kruger National Park
The Kruger National Park is South Africa’s most well-known national park and safari destination. Activities such as game drives and wildlife trails which Africa has become famous for can be experienced in the park. It is also the largest game reserve in South Africa, spanning over two million hectares, which is an area larger than that of Israel. The Kruger Park is the home of the Big Five (rhino, lion, leopard, buffalo and elephant), the Little Five (rhino beetle, ant lion, leopard tortoise, buffalo weaver and elephant shrew) and the Big Six Birds (martial eagle, kori bustard, pel’s fishing owl, ground hornbill, saddle-bill stork and lapped-faced vulture). The atmosphere is rich with amarulas, baobabs and thorn trees; with many activities available for tourists to enjoy. The Kruger Park now also forms a part of the Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park, which links the Kruger to game reserves in Zimbabwe and Mozambique.
Valley of the Olifants
The Valley of the Olifants is situated on the Olifants River, to the south of Limpopo Province. It encompasses the Northern Drakensburg Mountains and looks strikingly different to the rest of the province with lush vegetation, scenic mountains and beautiful valleys. The valley has various walks, horse trails and museums to visit, and has several lodges and guesthouses for tourists to stay in.
Marakele National Park
Thabazimbi also attributes its charm from The Marakele National Park which is situated around Thabazimbi’s characteristic Waterberg Mountains. This national park was however involved in some controversy, being a holding for some Tuli Elephants which were supposed victims of animal cruelty
Top 3 Places to go to in Limpopo
The city which was originally called Pietersburg is the largest urban area in Limpopo. Polokwane means “place of safety” in the Northern Sotho language. It has rail networks connecting it to other major cities in the country and an airport, Polokwane International Airport. The roads and national highways connect to neighbouring Zimbabwe and Polokwane is situated halfway between Johannesburg and the Zimbabwean border. Popular destinations within the city include the Polokwane Bird and Reptile Park, the Bakone Malapa Northern Sotho Open-Air Museum, the Modjadji Rainforest, The Irish House and Cheune Crocodile Farm.
Tzaneen is the second largest city in Polokwane and the home of about 30,000 inhabitants. The area has numerous tourist attractions which include the Haenertsburg Mountain Plain and Village, Tzaneen Dam and the Pekoe View Tea Estate. There are also numerous small game reserves close by situated between Tzaneen and the Kruger National Park, which is situated only 100 kilometers from the town. The Vervet Monkey Foundation, the home and care centre for over 600 monkeys, is also situated close to the town. Popular activities in Tzaneen include game and nature viewing, hiking, cycling and fishing.
Bela-Bela is also known as Warmbaths because of the geothermic hot springs around which the town was built. “Bela-Bela” also means “the pot that boils” in the Tswana language. The Tswana people were among the first to settle in the area in the nineteenth century and were followed by the Afrikaans Voortrekkers in 1873. Visitors to the area can enjoy swimming and soaking in some of the spring’s pools and enjoy healing massages at one of the area’s local resorts.
Visiting Limpopo has become tantamount to game drives, wildlife and experiencing South Africa’s natural heritage. The province’s many attractions are a must-see for anyone wanting to experience the wild and wondrous side of Southern Africa.