Known as the ‘Great North’, Limpopo province is home to ancient lands and pre-historic secrets. This is home to Modjadji, the fabled Rain Queen; The Stone Age and Iron age relics of Makapansgat Valley and the treasures of Mapungubwe.
Straddling the northern Kruger Park, Limpopo province boasts wildlife safaris, nature trails – untamed Africa at its finest. This is the land of wide-open bushveld, big-sky country, the ever-present thorn tree and the mystical baobab tree.
South Africa’s northernmost province, Limpopo borders onto Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Botswana thus making it the ideal gateway to Africa.
The Limpopo province celebrates a rich cultural heritage and at many archaeological sites the mysteries of the past and ancient peoples are still being unearthed. Historians reveal that the first black Africans moved across the Limpopo (into what became known as South Africa) before 300 AD.
Limpopo is renowned for its hot, yet pleasant summers and dry winters.
The weather is characterised by almost year-round sunshine. It can get very hot in summer (October – March), with temperatures rising to 27ºC (80,6 ºF) and, sometimes, even touching the mid-30s Celsius (mid-90s Fahrenheit).
The Limpopo Province is divided into four regions:
The Capricorn Region
The Capricorn region stretches from the Ysterberg, all along the foothills of the lush Wolkberg, to the tropic of Capricorn in the north.
The Bushveld Region: The Waterberg Mountains stretch along more than 5 000 km2 of spectacular vistas and scenic valleys – the ideal destination for off-the-beaten track tourism. The area is steeped in history and some artefacts found here date back to Stone Age times.
The Soutpansberg Region: across the northwest, and framing the northern border of the province, lies the Soutpansberg area. One of the main geographical features of this region is the Limpopo River, which forms South Africa’s northern border. The western section of this region is framed by the rocky spine of the awe-inspiring Soutpansberg mountain range.
The Valley of the Olifants: Travelling east, visitors will discover the rich natural heritage of the Lowveld with its claim to fame – the world-famous Kruger National Park. The Olifants Valley is teeming with a variety of wildlife. It is known for its spectacular scenery, mountains, rivers, dams, history and cultural and ethnic attractions.
| The Kruger National Park (Northern)
There are Kruger National Park fans who never venture south of the Crocodile River – they call it ‘the zoo’. The north, they say, is the real thing. This is where tourist traffic jams caused by lions or leopards are unknown, where the trees and birdlife are incomparable.Here, in the shrubby mopaneveld, sand forest and dense tropical riverine forests, you’ll find massive herds of elephant and buffalo, and rare species like tsessebe, sable, roan and eland.
Take the opportunity to climb out of your car at some of the picnic sites and spend time being quiet in the cool green cathedrals of trees. They are some of the most spectacular specimens you will ever see – ancient pod mahoganies, wild teaks, fever trees, jackal berries, water berries, nyala berries and sycamore figs.
At the close of day along the Pafuri, Shingwedzi or Limpopo rivers you stand an excellent chance of seeing a huge array of life: hippos twiddling their silly ears, whole pious conventions of yellow-billed storks wading in shallows, imperturbable Egyptian geese, crocodiles on every sandbank, pied and malachite kingfishers like hovering darts, antelope making their cautious way to the water for a drink, goliath herons poised, three banded sandplovers in a constant hurry.
Elephants become as playful as children at rivers. Time seems to move more slowly in the north, and you’ll often feel you have the whole place to yourself.