What you need to know:
- Driving through the city, you will notice that it is modern with tall buildings and all, but it still has that rural feel. It is home to contemporary restaurants, museums, art galleries and jazz clubs as well as the largest shopping centre in Limpopo.
At the thought of visiting South Africa, most travellers prefer to book holidays in Johannesburg or Cape Town, which are more renowned towns. But how about touring other provinces in South Africa?
Since they made the process easier with online Visa applications, there is nothing as painful as paying that Visa fee and carrying all those documents. But this is not a ranting article though, not that the universe has seen our tears.
Before we move on, Limpopo is a province steeped in mysteries of cultural heritage, has incredible scenery and is also referred to as a place of peace and warm people.
It lies to the north of South Africa and here you can find waterfalls, forests, trout-filled rivers as well as wildlife, with the largest bit of the Kruger National Park situated along its eastern border. It is also known for its famous Baobab trees, with the biggest one in the world located here.
It will take 55 minutes on a flight from Johannesburg to Polokwane International airport. Polokwane, which means a place of safety, is the capital city of Limpopo and was formerly referred to as Pietersburg.
Modern with a rural feel
Driving through the city, one cannot help but notice how different the town is from Johannesburg. Although it is modern with tall buildings and all, it still has that rural vibe.
It has great restaurants, museums, art galleries and jazz clubs as well as the largest shopping centre in Limpopo. We were fortunate to land in the morning, so I could notice how the town is and also take videos.
After taking breakfast at MacDonald’s, it was time for a road trip to the cooler sides of Limpopo in a town called Magoebaskloof. It is a series of valleys that have been named after a tribal chief of the Tlou tribe called King Makgoba and it is situated between the city of Polokwane and the town of Tzaneen; excellent for those who love outdoor adventures.
I must warn you that if you love scenic views, then this is the kind of road trip that you want to tick on your travel bucket list. Magoebaskloof is around 60km from Polokwane and you will gaze at the scenic views of lush tracts of indigenous afro- montane forest and some of it is the Woodbush State forest, the largest one in Limpopo.
The endangered Haenertsberg grassland is also another view to look out for and this specie, which the South African National Botanical Institute rates as one of the most significant species in Limpopo.
We arrived at the Magoesbaskloof adventure, which is home for the canopy tour, a place where we would be having our zip-lining.
After a brief instruction of where we were and what we were getting into with our choice, we wore our gear and off we walked to the first point of zip lining, which was a little bit easier but the challenge kept on increasing with the next stages.
At one point, each of us had to zip line across the Groot Letaba River Gorge and traversed waterfalls. If you are keen enough and do not let fear overtake your fun, the zipline gives you an authentic bird’s eye view of the Magoesbaskloof flora.
The tours run throughout the day, although it would be best to do it in the morning to avoid overcrowding with other travelers, who might desire to do this. It took us about four hours to complete the whole activity. Other activities that can be done here include hiking, birding as well as mountain biking.
Our next stop was at the Zwakala brewery, which is next to Mina’s farm café in Haenertsburg and has a scenic view of the Magoebaskloof Mountains. Gin tourism is becoming trendy in South Africa, with the rise of gin distilleries offering to take people through the process of gin-making.
Most of them are in the Western Cape, hence doing such a trip on this side of town will give you a different experience. If you love beer, then this is the perfect place to watch and learn as Luca Tooley takes you through the process and family history.
Zwakala which means come closer’ was established in 2016, and has grown both locally and nationally. In 2019, their Lager was awarded the Best Light Beer in the country. I loved the fact that they also have a product for non-alcoholics, which I felt was thoughtful.
I must warn you that this is not a place where you come alone, but with a group of friends, and hang out as you watch the stunning views.
Although we did not spend the night here, they have accommodation too at the Zwakala River Retreat. We drove to Sun Meropa Hotel where we spent the night in readiness for activities for day two.
Should you wish not to do any other activity and maybe tour around the town, the hotel is the entertainment centre in Polokwane. It has a diverse selection of activities and events for the family such as a reptile park, go-karting and adventure golf.
250 years of Basotho
Many events take place at the venue, so be sure to check out their website whenever you travel to the place and find which suits you. The next day we toured Bakone Lapa open-air museum.
It is one of the museums where you can learn about how life was for the Basotho 250 years ago. The thing about museums is that they open your eyes to understanding a destination and why things are the way they are.
We learnt how to traditionally make fire, pottery, ground maize, and brew beer. The museum is more than a cultural village; there is a hiking trail, a bird sanctuary, a game reserve and outdoor recreation areas.
A bit further from the museum, one can take a photo at the tropic of Capricorn, a line of latitude that passes through Mozambique, South Africa, Botswana, and Namibia from the Indian to the Atlantic Ocean.