The Limpopo province...
...is the northern-most province in South Africa. It borders 3 of our neigbouring countries – Botswana, Mozambique and Zimbabwe. The northern boundary is formed by the Limpopo River which is fed by various tributaries. The confluence of the Marico and the Crocodile rivers is where the river becomes the Limpopo River. “Limpopo” has its origin in the Sepedi words diphororo tša meetse – which means “strong gushing waterfalls”.
The province comprise 10,3% of South Africa’s land mass – 125 755 square kilometres – and is home to 5,4 million people (2011 Census). Limpopo has a variety of contrasting and beautiful landscapes. These landscapes include the imposing mountains of the Wolkberg in the east, the gentle Waterberg in the west and the impressive Soutpansberg in the north. Its rich natural diversity makes it home to a variety of animals, plants and birds. Limpopo's cultural diversity provides interesting history, legends and stories.
There are 5 districts in Limpopo, each with its own unique character.
The Waterberg district is the western-most district. The Mopani district covers the eastern part of the province, including the Kruger National Park. Vhembe is in the north and Sekhukhune is to the south, while Capricorn covers the central part of the province.
The Waterberg region is an area of great natural beauty where the environment is characterised by massive stone buttresses and deep forested valleys. The area has a wealth of resources - including scenic beauty, a great variety of flora and fauna, pleasant weather, beautiful diverse cultures, and warm and welcoming people. It is also home to the Marakele National Park.
The Mopani district is the wildlife capital of Limpopo.
It is home to not only the Kruger National Park, but various private nature reserves, including the Thornybush, Balule and Klaserie. The Limpopo Lowveld is Big 5 country, and is also home to several private game farms.
The Vhembe district is named for the Venda name of the Limpopo river.
It encompasses the northern-most part of South Africa, and borders Botswana and Zimbabwe. Vhembe hosts the Mapungubwe National Park, which also forms part of the Limpopo-Shashe Transfrontier Park. The region is also host to the Vhembe UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, which includes most of the district. There is unique fauna and flora in the region, and it is host to a variety of bird species - making it a sought-after destination for birders!
The Capricorn district takes its name from the Tropic of Capricorn, which runs through this diverse landscape.
The Sekhukhune district is named after Chief Sekhukhune of the Bapedi. The region has a variety of stories to tell, and offers insight into the fascinating cultural heritage of the Ndebele and Bapedi people, whose history in this area dates back hundreds of years.
The Limpopo province is home to – amongst others:
- Kruger National Park (the northern part of the Park falls within Limpopo)
- The Mapungubwe Cultural landscape – one of the 8 World Heritage sites in South Africa
- The busiest border post in South Africa – Beit Bridge border post between South Africa and Zimbabwe
- Two transfrontier conservation areas
- The Waterberg Biosphere – a 15 000 square kilometre UNESCO designated biosphere reserve
- The world’s largest deposits of platinum group minerals
- ZZ2 – the producer of 40% of South Africa’s tomatoes and the second largest producer of avocadoes in South Africa
- The Marakele National Park
- Amarula – which originates in Phalaborwa, just outside the Kruger National Park
- 50 provincial nature reserves and several private nature reserves
- More than 420 resident bird species
- The tallest planted trees in South Africa
- The largest concentration of cycads in the world
- And many more!
The people of Limpopo:
- The people of Limpopo are generally peace-loving and friendly
- Northern Sotho is the most widely spoken language in the Limpopo province – followed by Xitsonga and Venda. English and Afrikaans are also widely spoken.
- The Bapedi people predominantly live in the central and south-eastern parts of Limpopo
- The Batswana are mainly based in the Waterberg region to the west
- The Vavhenda people can mostly be found in the Soutpansberg to the north of Limpopo, while the Vatsonga live in the east
- Ndebele people are usually found in the south western areas around Groblersdal and Marble Hall
- Many parts of Limpopo are host to Afrikaans people – mainly in farming communities – as well as some of English origins
- The cultures of Limpopo are rich in traditional arts and crafts – skills of which are passed down from one generation to the next
Some basic facts:
- The capital city of Limpopo is Polokwane (formerly known as Pietersburg)
- The province has one international airport (Polokwane International Airport) and two regional airports (Eastgate Airport near Hoedspruit and Phalaborwa Airport) that offer scheduled flights
- Limpopo’s religious orientation is predominantly Christian, with the Zion Christian Church near Moria, east of Polokwane, being the destination for one of the largest annual Easter gatherings in South Africa
- Working hours are generally from 09:00 – 17:00 daily
- All major banks are available in the main centres, with some form of banking in the form of ATMs being available throughout the province
- Major credit cards (Visa, Mastercard) are accepted in most places, though in remote areas it is advisable to carry some cash
- Cellphone signal is generally available, except in deep rural and remote areas
- Internet connectivity is on the increase, with wifi services and Internet cafes being widely available in main centres
- The weather in Limpopo is generally pleasant, though it can get very hot in summer in low-lying areas to the east and along the Limpopo river. Winters can get cold in the high-lying areas, though it is usually pleasant in the lower areas to the east. Limpopo has a summer rainfall, with some parts of the mountainous areas receiving rainfall throughout the year.
- Dress code in the province is generally informal
- Agriculture, mining and tourism are the main drivers of economic activity in Limpopo