food terroir of limpopo The Old Coach House Limpopo

Limpopo’s fertile soils bring forth a range of distinct and diverse ingredients, hospitality traditions, cooking methods and recipes. The essence of Limpopo’s foods is reflected in the history and culture of the cooks and the climatic and environmental conditions in which they stir their pots.

Did you know?

Agriculturally speaking, Limpopo is the food basket of South Africa.

Limpopo's food terroir is to be found where the temperate plateau of Gauteng gives way to the subtropical eastern Lowveld.

Here, Limpopo's rich soils yield crops of maize, coffee, peaches, litchis, papayas, tomatoes, potatoes and tea plantations. Add venison, cattle and sheep and you will see why this province has plates piled high with flavour.

Between Limpopo’s plentiful past and delicious present is the food terroir of Limpopo. In the hot northern bushveld scrubland are some of the provinces most intriguing ingredients, such as the traces of indigenous spices including lunonya seeds (which taste similar to caraway) and mufhoho (a grain which tastes similar to mustard seeds) found in pot fragments at Mapungubwe World Heritage Site, or Limpopo’s most talked about foodstuff: the mopane worm, eaten roasted by the VhaVenda, who consider it a delicacy.

Around Makhado, Levhubu and Venda, look out for guavas, macadamia nuts and naturally growing pawpaw, litchis, avocados and mangos.

In the heart of the subtropical fruit region, Polokwane yields sweet citrus fruits, and quaint Haernertsberg’s cool climes produce raspberries and blueberries, and the creamy delights of Wegraakbosch’s organic seasonal cheeses.

In the valleys around the Ebenezer Dam, vast pineapple plantations give way to avocado and mango trees, while Tzaneen, the home of the "easy-peeler", is where bananas, and soft-skinned citrus grows. 

When in the Waterberg, stop for biltong, boerewors, and venison to store away for cold winter evenings. Near Modimolle, keep a cooler box ready for Geluksfontein’s award-winning goat’s cheese, and locally grown watermelons, peaches, and export table grapes.

Culinary contrast is the essence of Limpopo foods. Try soured maize and mukusule wild spinach, and wash it all down with the heady cream-liqueur concoction that is Amarula, or for the truly brave, mampoer – a local white brandy-spirit not unlike moonshine.

Travel tips & Planning info

Who to contact

Limpopo Tourism & Parks
General enquiries (International)
+27 (0) 15 290 7300
E-mail: info@golimpopo.com

Wegraakbosch Dairy              
Tel: +27 (0)15 276 1811 
Email: nippersylvia@gmail.com

Geluksfontein Dairy
Tel: +27 (0)83 704 4229
Email: info@goatsmilk.co.za

Amarula Lapa
Tel: +27 (0)15 781 7766
Mobile: +27 (0)73 870 3108
Email: amarulalapa@iafrica.com

Kuhestan Organic Farm
Tel: +27 (0)82 903 7593
Email: info@kuhestan.co.za

Coach House
Tel: +27 (0)15 306 8000
Fax: +27 (0)15 306 8008
Email: gmcoach@orion-hotels.co.za

How to get here

SA Airlink flies from Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban to Polokwane, and from Johannesburg to Phalaborwa and Hoedspruit. Charter flights are available to Tzaneen airport. To self-drive, take the N1 North from Johannesburg to Polokwane, about 400kms.

Best time to visit

The weather is good all year round. Late spring and early autumn are particularly pleasant. Summers can be extremely hot. Limpopo winters are cool, dry and sunny.

Around the area

There are game farms and nature reserves across the Limpopo province worth visiting.

Tours to do

Agritourism is popular and varied in Limpopo. Enquire about farm tours with the local regional tourism office.

Get around

A hire car is recommended. Most roads and key tourist attractions are well marked. Alternatively, make use of a local guide, tour operator. Remote areas of Limpopo may require a 4x4 vehicle.

What will it cost

The price of a meal in Limpopo varies from venue to venue. Outside of 5-star establishments, meals are generous and well-priced.

What to pack

Limpopo, a sunny province, can be very hot in summer. Sun protection is essential.

Where to stay

Keen foodies would enjoy a weekend break at Khuestan Organic Farm, which has 4-star accommodation and offers Persian cooking classes.

What to eat

Subtropical fruits, avocados, nuts, and venison.

What's happening

Annually, in January, the Waterberg grape festival takes place, and in February, Phalaborwa holds a marula festival.

Best buys

Seasonal sub-tropical fruit, Amarula liqueur, Coach House nougat products, Kuhestan fruit jams and flower cordials, cheese from Wegraakbosch and Geluksfontein.