Rain Queens Baobabs and Elephants
The Valley of the Olifants Route takes you through the scenic heart of Limpopo province, highlighting the treasures of this ancient land. See the world’s biggest baobab tree, visit the village of the Rain Queen and explore the vast stretches of bush where elephants have roamed for centuries.
The Land of the Silver Mists
The little village of Haenertsburg lies at the heart of the ‘land of the silver mists’ as locals call the Magoebaskloof area.
Picnic in cool green forests, nibble on organic cheeses, stroll around azalea and cherry gardens. Try your luck at trout fishing, cool off in a waterfall, take a hike into the hills. There are cosy pubs, friendly restaurants and roadside stalls selling fruit and local fare.
From Haenertsburg, the Magoebaskloof Pass winds down the mountain towards Tzaneen. You can visit the beautiful Debegeni Waterfall, in the heart of thick indigenous forests.
Don’t miss the incredible views from Pekoe View, set high above tea plantations. Arrange for a picnic and spend the day at Kings Walden whose gardens were voted the ‘ Most Romantic Garden of the Decade’ by a leading décor magazine. Check out the home of the famous Coach House nougat on a tasting tour!
The Realm of the Rain Queen
From Tzaneen it is a pleasant drive to Modjadji village - home of the legendary Rain Queen. Even the great Zulu warrior King Shaka quivered in fear at the mention of Modjadji’s name.
Queen Modjadji fled Zimbabwe in the early 1800’s, taking with her the powerful ‘rain magic’. Settling in a sumptuous setting of cycads, Modjadji started her own matriarchal tribe, the Lobedu.
You can also visit a slope of rare cycads (Transvenosus encepholartus) that only occur here and date back to the time of the dinosaur.
The Biggest Baobab
You won’t believe the size of this one! Nearby Modjadji village is the town of Modjadjiskloof and the home of the world’s biggest baobab. The Sunland Baobab is 6 000 years old and over 40m in circumference! And its hollowed out trunk has been turned into a quaint pub.
Nothing embodies the spirit of Africa like the baobab. In South Africa, these giants are found mainly in Limpopo, which has snapped up the tree as one of its tourism icons.
An Ancient Iron Age Culture
Vast tracts of wilderness stretch out beyond the sub-tropical town of Tzaneen. The closest entrance into the world famous Kruger National Park is through the Phalaborwa gate.
And if you thought the Iron Age had something to do with piles of laundry, check out the fascinating Masorini Iron Age Museum just inside the entrance to the park. The area is an Iron Age archaeological site occupied during the 19th century by the Mojela, who were a sub-group of Sotho speaking baPhalaborwa people. They traded metal, food and ivory products with other communities across the Lowveld and as far as the Mozambican coast. The village has been partially restored and you can wander around the huts on the terraced hillside, imagining what life then was like then.
Where Elephants Roam
Herds of elephants have roamed for centuries in the area known today as the Kruger National Park. Visit the Elephant Hall at Letaba Camp within the park to find out more about human-pachyderm relations. On display here are replicas of the tusks of some of the Kruger’s Famous Tuskers.
As fences go down between Mozambican and South African Parks, the Kruger will become part of the Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park, which will eventually measure a staggering 100,000 km squared. Off-road adventurers can also head for Mozambique through the Giriyondo Gate via Massingir Dam. The park is being developed for birding, lake cruises, tiger-fishing and rugged 4 x 4 adventure drives.
It is also part of the Kruger to Canyon Biosphere Reserve (K2C) which aims to acknowledge and protect the Greater Kruger bioregion and the eastern savannah and escarpment of South Africa – a vast area of vital ecological importance. The K2C bridges Limpopo and Mpumalanga provinces and is also at the interface of the Eastern Transvaal Drakensberg Escarpment and Central Lowveld.
The Wild Heart of Limpopo
If you’re into rugged off-road adventure, one of the most exciting short breaks from Polokwane is the African Ivory Route; a self-drive trail through the wild heart of Limpopo province. Stay in a choice of rustic, self-catering bush camps that follow in the footsteps of historical characters like rain queens and elephant hunters. The bush camps are located within nature reserves with awesome scenery and wilderness. To avoid disrupting ecosystems, the roads are basic and cater for 4x4s.
- Limpopo tourism: www.golimpopo.com
- M agoebaskloof Tourism: www.magoebaskloof.com
- T zaneen tourism: www.tzaneen-info.co.za
- C oach House Hotel: www.coachhouse.co.za
- K ings Walden Gardens : www.kingswalden.co.za
- K ruger National Park : www.parks-sa.co.za
- Modjadji & Baobab: www.golimpopo.com
- Mapungubwe: www.mapungubwe.co.za
- Kruger to Canyon Biosphere: www.kruger2canyon.com
- Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park : www.greatlimpopoparks.co.za
- The African Ivory Route: www.ivoryroute.co.za