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Limpopo's food terroir is to be found where the temperate plateau of Gauteng gives way to the subtropical eastern Lowveld.
Here, LLimpopo'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 and Parks
Tel: +27 (0) 15 290 7300
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 400km.
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.
Things to do
There are game farms and nature reserves across the Limpopo province that are worth visiting.
Agritourism is popular and varied in Limpopo. Enquire about farm tours with the local regional tourism office.
A visit to the Zwakala Brewery to taste their flagship beer, Limpopo Lager, is a must.
Annually, in February, Phalaborwa holds a marula festival and golf challenge.
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.