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TThe Pedi Living Culture Route in South Africa’s Limpopo province lets you explore the history and traditions of the Pedi people. The ancestral kraal and traditional village will introduce you to local artists and crafters, while you get a grounding in Pedi mythology and folklore.
Start your journey along the Pedi Living Culture Route near the Ledingwe Cultural Village – beneath the statue of the great King Sekhukhune, standing sentinel before the timeless Tjate Valley.
This is where the Pedi nation arose – a site rich in Iron Age history for modern archaeologists to explore – and the traditions and history of this people, their heritage and lifestyle, unfold as you journey on. For casual tourists, the sense of history is palpable; for those with an interest in archaeology, the thousands of pots, necklaces, tools and bones unearthed at sites in this region constitute a treasure trove.
After a symbolic washing of hands at the great king’s statue, you can explore the provincial heritage site that is the Tjate Valley, where the history of the Pedi empire is related by qualified guides. They’ll tell you the epic tale of the great Battle of Sekhukhune in 1879; a titanic struggle between the Pedi, British and Swazis. It’s no surprise that this land was fought over: the graves of Pedi, Boer and British soldiers in various locations attest to that.
The Ledingwe Cultural Village is next on the tour, presenting visitors with a snapshot in time: a glimpse into the traditional Pedi life of old. Here, under the great tree where the community traditionally thrashed out important decisions, you can sense the age-old sense of community.
This village is also a place to be enthralled by the multicoloured imagery of Pedi artists and crafters, and to find souvenirs and gifts for the folks at home.
The Sekhukhune district, set amid several nature reserves, has no shortage of natural attractions – visitors should definitely see the foot-shaped rock called Lenao la Modimo in Sepedi: or ‘God’s Footprint’. Roossenekal is a village nearby with accommodation options – and also a wonderful place for botany enthusiasts to take in the spring display of rare yellow arum lilies.
TTravel tips & Planning info
Who to contact
Limpopo Tourism Authority
Tel: +27 (0)15 293 3600
How to get here
Roossenekal is about 3 hours’ drive from both Johannesburg and Pretoria, via the R555 and R577. From Johannesburg, you can get to the R555 by taking the N12 East through eMalahleni (formerly Witbank), and from Pretoria take the N4 East, which joins the N12 at eMalahleni. Continue along that road and follow the signs onto the R555 at Middelburg. Approximately 85km after Middelburg, look out for the turn-off to the R577, which will take you to Roossenekal.
Best time to visit
Spring (September to November) is best, as it coincides with the blooming of rare yellow arum lilies in the fields outside Roossenekal.
Self-drive is best for getting around Limpopo and taking in the sights at your own pace, while individual attractions along the Pedi Living Culture Route can be explored on foot. There are, however, also guided tours available.
Things to do in the area
Visit the surreal foot-shaped rock near Ledingwe Cultural village, known as God's Footprint.
Tours to do
Take a guided tour of the Ledingwe Cultural Village. There are also history tours relating to the South African War (formerly known as the Second Anglo-Boer War) on offer in the area.
Length of stay
Give yourself a day to fully explore the Pedi Living Culture Route.
Where to stay
There are a number of lodges and B&Bs in the pretty little village of Roossenekal.
What to eat
Traditional Pedi food at the Ledingwe Cultural Village.
Colourful beaded cloth and other local crafts at the Ledingwe Cultural Village.