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GGeologists say Lake Fundudzi in Limpopo's northernmost reaches is one of a very few in the world to have been formed by landslide. Regardless of how it was formed, for centuries Lake Fundudzi has been safeguarded and is sacred to the Vhatatsindi, the People of the Pool.
Chief Ntsandeni Netshiava, his father, and grandfather before him, were the only people who could give permission to strangers to approach.
Because of this, Lake Fundudzi tourism has been slow in developing. It’s a site worth seeing and now that there are new roads, it’s becoming more popular.
HHaving said that, you should still pay your dues as locals before you have done for centuries. When there, perform the ukodola: when you first see the lake, turn your back to it, then bend down to look at it upside down through spread legs. If you really need some blessings, walk down to the lake and throw a few strands of your hair in the water and the ancestors will be especially pleased.
TThese ancestral spirits, the Vhatatsindi, or People of the Pool, are said to be guarded by a white crocodile. Their mood affects the colour of the lake and they control the rainy season. Nearby the Venda python God watches over.
It would be considered the height of rudeness to swim in the lake without permission, so there’s no need to bring your swimsuit. Also, be mindful and don’t litter – if you throw anything into the river, the spirits will get mad and in the morning you will find it on the bank.
On sacred ground, take time to engage with the local people and listen to their stories.