Limpopo province is South Africa’s northern most province and shares borders with Mozambique, Zimbabwe as well Botswana, making it the ideal gateway to Africa. Named after the Limpopo River that flows along its northern border, the province is rich in wildlife, natural beauty and historical as well as cultural treasures.

With its great variety of wildlife, birds and scenic splendour. It is one of South Africa’s prime ecotourism destinations.

The province is linked to the Maputo Development Corridor through the Phalaborwa Spatial Development Initiative. This is a network of rail and road corridors connected to the major seaports, therefore opening up Limpopo for trade and investment. This is complemented by the presence of smaller airports. These airports are found in centres such as Phalaborwa and Musina, as well as the Gateway International Airport in Polokwane. Polokwane is the capital city, which lies strategically in the centre of the province.

The Great North Road, running through the centre of the province, strings together a series of towns such as BelaBela, with its popular mineral spa; Modimolle, with its beautiful Waterberg mountain range; Mokopane; Polokwane; Makhado, at the foot of the Soutpansberg mountain range; as well as Musina, which is well-known for its majestic baobab trees. The crossing into Zimbabwe is at Beit Bridge. Phalaborwa and Thabazimbi are Limpopo’s major mining centres, while the town of Tzaneen in the picturesque Magoebaskloof is known for its tea plantations, forestry products and tropical fruit.

The province is in the Savanna Biome, an area of mixed grassland and trees, generally known as bushveld. Natural resources include more than 50 provincial nature reserves and several private game reserves. The largest section of the Kruger National Park is along Limpopo’s eastern boundary, which borders on Mozambique.

Several museums as well as national monuments bear testimony to the ancient people and fearless pioneers who braved the unknown. Living museums include the Bakone Malapa Museum near Polokwane and the Tsonga Open-Air Museum near Tzaneen. Mapungubwe (“Place of the Jackal”) Hill, some 75 km from Musina, is a world heritage site. It served as a natural fortress for its inhabitants from about 950 AD to 1200 AD.

Limpopo Climate

Three distinct climatic regions can be identified in the province. These are the:

  1. Lowveld (arid and semi-arid) regions
  2. Middle veldt, highveld, semi-arid region
  3. Escarpment region having sub-humid climate with rainfall in excess of 700 mm per annum.

The climatic conditions in the province allow for double harvesting seasons, which results in it being the largest producer of various crops in the agricultural market. Sunflowers, cotton, maize and peanuts are cultivated in the Bela-BelaModimolle area. Bananas, litchis, pineapples, mangoes and pawpaws, as well as a variety of nuts, are grown in the Tzaneen and Makhado areas. Extensive tea and coffee plantations create many employment opportunities in the Tzaneen area. The Bushveld is cattle country, where controlled hunting is often combined with ranching.

The climate in the Limpopo Province is quite hot since the area is bisected by the tropic of Capricorn. Those who choose to visit this northern tip of the country will find that they can enjoy long sunny days and dry weather on most days.

January is the hottest month in Limpopo with an average temperature of 23°C and the coldest is June at 13°C. The wettest month is November with an average of 100 mm of rain. The Limpopo Province experience almost year-round sunshine.

Blessed with year-round sunshine, it can get hot in the summer months (October-March), averaging 27 degrees Celsius. Winter is a sunny season of chilly mornings, warm midday’s, dry afternoons and cool to cold nights. The Lowveld, i.e. the Phalaborwa area, can be as hot as 45 degrees Celsius during summer.

Limpopo Agriculture

Given the fact that 89% of the population of Limpopo Province is classified as rural, agriculture plays a major role in the economic development of rural areas of the province.
Limpopo produces a wide range of agricultural products. The area is a potato belt and known for its superior quality potatoes for high-end markets. It also produces 75% of the country’s mangoes; 65% of its papayas; 36% of its tea; 25% of its citrus, bananas and litchis; 60% of its avocados and two thirds of its tomatoes. Other products include coffee, nuts, guavas, sisal, cotton, tobacco, sunflower, maize, wheat and grapes. In addition, more than 170 plantations produce timber. Most of the higher-lying areas are devoted to cattle and game ranching, earning a reputation for quality biltong (salted, dried meat), which is a popular South African delicacy.

Limpopo, with 10% of South Africa’s arable land, produces a wide range of agricultural produce. Chief among the field crops in 2015/16 during the drought: dry beans (10%), soy beans (5%), grain sorghum (14%), dry beans (10%), wheat (10%) and sunflower (6%) (DAFF, 2017). Cotton, groundnuts and maize are also produced.

Half of the country’s game farms are in the Limpopo province (WRSA, 2012). Amongst the other livestock, it hosts 18% of the country’s goats and 7% of its cattle (DAFF, 2017). It also produces 6% of the country’s eggs (SAPA, 2015).

Limpopo is the natural resource treasure chest of South Africa, if not the whole of southern Africa. It boasts some of the greatest reserves of agriculture, mineral and tourism resources many of which remain hugely under-exploited. The province is also linked to the Maputo Development Corridor through Phalaborwa Spatial Development Initiative, a network of road and rail corridors connecting to the major seaports will open up Limpopo and surrounding regions for trade and investment. This is complimented by the presence of airports in major centres of the province including Ellisras, Makhado, Musina, Phalaborwa, Mokopane, Thabazimbi, Tzaneen, Thohoyandou and Bela-Bela as well as the Gateway International airport in Polokwane.

In terms of Agriculture Limpopo could be described as the garden of South Africa and or the whole continent, given its rich fruit and vegetable production. The province produces 75% of the country’s mangoes, 65% of its papaya, 36% of its tea, 25% of its citrus, bananas, and litchis, 60% of its avocados, two thirds of its tomatoes, 285,000 tons of potatoes. Other products include coffee, nuts, guavas, sisal, cotton and tobacco, timber with more than 170 plantations. Apart from all these, there is cotton, sunflower, maize, wheat cultivation as well as grape. Most of the higher lying areas are devoted to cattle and game ranching, earning a reputation for quality biltong, a popular South African delicacy of salted, dried meat.

Limpopo won 13 LandCare Awards from the 8th national Biennial LandCare Conference hosted in Bloemfontein, Free State Province from 25 to 27 September 2018. This comes after Limpopo Province produced five champions in some categories, four runners up and four third positions in others.

Limpopo Industry and Mining

Limpopo also has abundant mineral resources, making mining the critical sector of the province’s economy by contributing 22% of the gross geographic product. Metals include platinum, chromium, nickel, cobalt, vanadium, tin, limestone as well as uranium clay.

Other reserves include antimony, phosphates, fluorspar, gold, diamonds, copper, emeralds, scheelites, magnetite, vermiculite, silicon, mica, black granite, corundum, feldspar as well as salt. The Medupi power station, a new dry-cooled, coal-fired power station, is under construction near Lephalale. It is also expected to create around 40 000 job opportunities.

Limpopo Tourism

Limpopo is a tourist attraction destination.

Limpopo is renowned as the Province of peace. It is endowed with bountiful natural resources, including 54 provincial reserves and many private game reserves. A few hours from Gauteng, the Province boasts the Waterburg mountain range, supporting the thriving farming and game ranching, nature reserves and resorts.

Heading further north into the Province there is Polokwane – the capital of the Province, with an excellent growing infrastructure, a modern international airport and offering a wealth of diverse cultural experiences.
East of the city the R71 takes you to the subtropical part of the Valley of the Olifants, the verdant Magoebaskloof Valley.
Further eastwards takes you into the heart of the ‘big five’ parks of the country and some of the prime game farms in Africa, including the Kruger National Park – majestic in extent and abundant in wild life.
The hot climate makes Limpopo a pleasant year-round holiday destination. During summer – that is in the months October to March – it is hot with brief afternoon showers, providing a cooling effect for evenings. In winter – from May to September – the mornings are crisp, the days are dry and sunny and the evenings cold and clear.

Fauna and Flora

All creatures large and small, from the massive hippopotamus to the diminutive mongoose are found in their unspoilt natural habitat. The spectrum of game species include large populations of giraffe, kudus, gemsbok, nyala, water buck, klip springer, impala, a blue wild beest and zebra, white lions that are truly white lions not albinos.

For instance, in Timbavati Private nature reserve, elephants, buffalo, rhinoceros, leopards, cheetahs, red duiker, samango, monkeys, bushbuck, bushpigs and a countless others. There also more than 300 species of birds including the endangered species like vultures at Moletjie Nature Reserve 20 kilometres north west of Polokwane.

The magnificent cycad forest near Tzaneen, the Modjadji Cycad (Encephalartos transvernosus) of the Rain Queen is one of the largest cycads in the world and it is a protected species.

The Baobab tree, which is found only in Limpopo in the country, is an awe inspiration to the visitor. They are hundreds of years old and mostly found on the Northern part of the province. They are well preserved in the Baboab Tree Reserve in the Mussina Nature Reserve.

The Big Five occur in many of the game and nature reserves in Limpopo. Buffalo are the most abundant of the Big Five and occur in large herds that can number up to 600 animals. Deceptively docile, these animals are powerful and aggressive – particularly old bulls ejected from the herd who form small bachelor herds. When alarmed, a herd also tends to stampede. Buffalo are regularly preyed upon by lions. Elephants live in tightly-knit family groups led by a matriarch. The bulls remain solitary or may band together to form bachelor herds. A fully-grown elephant weighs around 6 000 to 7 000 kilogram and is the largest terrestrial animal. When there are young in the herd, the adult female may become aggressive and it is advisable not to venture too close to the herd. The leopard is a shy nocturnal animal that hunts mainly at night. This, and the fact that it prefers dense riverine areas and craggy hills, explains why it is often not easily spotted. The leopard hides its prey in trees from other predators and is often seen resting on a branch in a tree. It is the most wary and stealthy of the big cats, yet can be incredibly bold. Lions are the largest of the African cats and live in prides of varying size controlled by one or more dominant males. An adult male weighs about 180 kilograms and a female, 135 kilograms. Lions live for up to 20 years. The lion’s roar, normally heard at dawn and dusk, can easily be heard within a radius of many kilometres. The rhinoceros is classified as either white or black, although there is no real colour difference between the two species. White rhino are generally larger with a flattened or square mouth and feed on grass. Black rhino have a pointed mouth that they use to strip leaves and break twigs. Rhino weigh up to 1 500 kilogram. The rhino’s horn is formed from matted hair and skin.

Tel: +27 (0) 15 293 3600
E-mail: info@golimpopo.com

Limpopo River

The Limpopo River rises in the interior of Africa, and flows generally eastwards towards the Indian Ocean. It is around 1.600 km long (or 1.770 km according to another source).

The Limpopo is the second largest river in Africa which drains to the east after the Zambezi River. It flows in a great arc, first zig-zagging north-east and north, then turning east and finally south-east. At this point it serves as a border for about 640 km, separating South Africa on the south-east bank from Botswana in the north-west and Zimbabwe on the north.

The main tributary is the Olifants/Letaba river (Elephant River). The port town of Xai-Xai (Mozambique) is on the river near the mouth. Below the Olifants, the river is permanently navigable to the sea, though a sandbar prevents access to large ships, except at high tide.

Limpopo Population

Capital: Polokwane
Principal languages:

  • Sepedi 56,0%
  • Tshivenda 17,1%
  • Xitsonga 16,6%

Population: 5 799 090
Percentage share of the total South African population: 10,4%
Area: 125 755 km2
Source: Stats SA’s Mid-year population estimates 2017 and Community Survey 2016

Limpopo – Culture

The population of Limpopo consists of the following several ethnic groups distinguished by culture, language and race:

The Northern Sotho (Sepedi) : Approximately 57 per cent.
The Tsonga (Shangaan) : Approximately 23 per cent
The Venda : Approximately 12 per cent.
The Afrikaners : Approximately 2.6 per cent
The English : Approximately half a per cent

Notes:

Limpopo Department of Sport, Arts and Culture crowned the best Arts and Culture Department in the country during the 2018 SATMA Awards.

In the northern part of the Limpopo Province of South Africa, between the Blue Mountain and Limpopo River, dinosaur footprints and archaeological findings are evidence of the rich and ancient history of this isolated area. This area is home to a tribal community of more than a million Pedi people.

Previously called the Northern Province, Limpopo is a land of beautiful and contrasting landscapes, which is typical of Africa. Hence it has become a favourite destination for leisure and adventure travelers worldwide.

Come to a region of infinite scenic beauty with a great diversity of both natural and man-made attractions, rich cultural heritage and an abundance of wildlife and nature-based tourism opportunities.

Our network of protected areas and nature reserves is amongst the best on the African continent. Through these nature reserves, we seek to preserve our natural heritage for future generations and for sharing with the international community.

We have spectacular mountain scenery, which beckons hikers, climbers and bikers, while mystic cultural destinations intrigue both local and international tourists. The game viewing is absolutely fantastic and possibly the best in the country – hence we are the preferred Eco-tourism destination in Southern Africa.

Limpopo National Parks

Limpopo is home to numerous nature reserves and National Parks. South African National Parks (SANParks) is the body responsible for managing South Africa’s national parks. SANParks was formed in 1926. The best known park is Kruger National Park. The Kruger National Park, which is also the oldest (proclaimed in 1898), and the largest, at nearly 2.000.000 hectares (20.000 km2). The Kruger Park and Table Mountain National Park are two of South Africa’s most visited tourist attractions.

Whether you’re planning adventurous game drives, a rural camping retreat, bird watching or tranquil hours spent angling, here are some icons and highlights which should not be missed, when visiting Limpopo.

Kruger National Park. (70% of which is in the Limpopo province) Game reserve in Limpopo, bounded in the north by the Limpopo River, in the east by Mocambique, in the south by the Crocodile River and in the west by a surveyor’s line.

Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park

The Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park is a joint initiative between Mozambique, South Africa and Zimbabwe.

The establishment of the Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park is a process that will link the Limpopo National Park in Mozambique, Kruger National Park in South Africa, Gonarezhou National Park, Manjinji Pan Sanctuary and Malipati Safari Area in Zimbabwe, as well as two areas between Kruger and Gonarezhou, namely the Sengwe communal land in Zimbabwe and the Makuleke region in South Africa.

LIMPOPO PROVINCE – SOUTH AFRICA

Previously called the Northern Province, Limpopo is a land of beautiful and contrasting landscapes, which is typical of Africa. Hence it has become a favourite destination for leisure and adventure travellers worldwide.

Come to a region of infinite scenic beauty with a great diversity of both natural and man-made attractions, rich cultural heritage and an abundance of wildlife and nature-based tourism opportunities.

Our network of protected areas and nature reserves is amongst the best on the African continent. Through these nature reserves, we seek to preserve our natural heritage for future generations and for sharing with the international community.

We have spectacular mountain scenery, which beckons hikers, climbers and bikers, while mystic cultural destinations intrigue both local and international tourists. The game viewing is absolutely fantastic and possibly the best in the country – hence we are the preferred Eco-tourism destination in Southern Africa.

Limpopo Province is located in the far Northern part of South Africa and shares borders with three neighboring countries: Botswana, Zimbabwe and Mozambique. For this reason, the Province is also known as the gateway to other African countries. The Province also shares provincial borders with Gauteng, Mpumalanga and North West provinces.

Limpopo landscape and vegetation varies from one area to the other. The vegetation ranges from Tropical Forests, Bush and Shrubs to semi-desert areas with small trees and bushes. The landscape also ranges from mountainous to flat land.

Limpopo is divided into five regions, strategically located according to the cultural inhabitants. Capricorn is the central region predominantly occupied by the Bapedi People. Waterberg is the largest region in the province with the majority of people being the Batswana people. The Vhembe region in the far north is dominated by Vhavenda and Vatsonga people. The Mopani region towards the Kruger National Park is dominated by Vatsonga, whereas the Sekhukhuni region is dominated by Bapedi and Ndebele people.

Limpopo is the only Province in South Africa with more than two cultural groups staying together in their original habitat in harmony. Other ethnic groups include the English and Afrikaner people.

English is regarded as a business language but other native languages of the province include Tshivenda, Sepedi, Xitsonga, Setswana, Isindebele and Afrikaans.

Limpopo has a predominant Christian religious society. However there are other traditional religions such as Islam and Hinduism.

Most of the businesses operate normally from 09:00 a.m. to 17:00 p.m and also accept credit cards (e.g. Visa). National Banks are also available and they offer services of international standards, e.g. FNB, Standard Bank, Nedbank, African Bank and ABSA.

Five Regions of Limpopo

Capricorn District

Blouberg Local: Cities/Towns: Alldays
Lepelle-Nkumpi Local: Cities/Towns: Zebediela
Molemole Local: Cities/Towns: Dendron, Morebeng (Soekmekaar)
Polokwane Local: Cities/Towns: Polokwane

Mopani District

Ba-Phalaborwa Local: Cities/Towns: Gravelotte, Leydsdorp
Greater Giyani Local: Cities/Towns: Giyani
Greater Letaba Local: Cities/Towns: Modjadjiskloof
Greater Tzaneen Local: Cities/Towns: Haenertsburg, Tzaneen
Maruleng Local: Cities/Towns: Hoedspruit

Sekhukhune District

Elias Motsoaledi Local: Cities/Towns: Groblersdal, Roossenekal
Ephraim Mogale Local: Cities/Towns: Marble Hall, Schuinsdraai Nature Reserve
Fetakgomo – Greater Tubatse Local: Cities/Towns: Burgersfort, Ohrigstad, Steelpoort
Makhuduthamaga Local: Completely rural in nature, dominated by traditional land ownership.

Vhembe District

Collins Chabane Local: Cities/Towns: Malamulele
Makhado Local: Cities/Towns: Makhado
Musina Local: Cities/Towns: Musina
Thulamela Local: Cities/Towns: Thohoyandou

Waterberg District

Bela-Bela Local: Cities/Towns: Bela-Bela, Pienaarsrivier
Lephalale Local: Cities/Towns: Lephalale
Modimolle-Mookgophong Local: Cities/Towns: Modimolle, Mookgophong (Naboomspruit), Vaalwater
Mogalakwena Local: Cities/Towns: Mokopane (Potgietersrus)
Thabazimbi Local: Cities/Towns: Amandelbult Mine Town, Thabazimbi

Limpopo’s capital

Polokwane (previously Pietersburg), lies in the heart of the Capricorn region. The district has an internal airport, and is linked to Gauteng by one of the best stretches of the N1 in South Africa. It has the third-largest district economy in the province, and is predominantly rural in nature.