A Colourful Experience

Discover the rich culture, history and nature of the Soutpansberg,
Northern Limpopo, South Africa.
Traversing Limpopo from Highveld to Lowveld

To Kruger National Park (Phalaborwa Gate)

This is a self-drive route from Giyani to the Phalaborwa Gate of the Kruger National Park. It takes the visitor through interesting parts of the Lowveld, and a blend of culture, nature and history.

The route starts in Giyani, with its pleasant local vibe, the friendly Tsonga people and busy and colourful markets. Drive out of Giyani on the R81 towards Polokwane. Shortly after leaving town, turn left towards Tzaneen on the R529. After 50 kilometers, turn left where the roadsign says: Eiland Spa. Cross the bridge and turn left at the junction. After 10 kilometers, the road enters the Hans Merensky Nature Reserve. The typical lowveld bush can be enjoyed here by foot. The reserve has impressive herds of giraffes and zebras. Various walking trails are available. Next door is a holiday resort, Eiland Spa, with a small convenience shop, restaurant and swimming pool. Also inside Hans Merensky Nature Reserve is Muti wa va Tsonga Open Air Museum, A replica of an ancient Tsonga homestead with an interesting exhbition centre. Guided tours are available and entrance is free.
 
Driving out of the Nature Reserve, follow the road towards Tzaneen for 25 kilometers. A roadsign indicates the entrance to the Kaross studio and cafe. This is the production centre of South Africa's most famous embroidery brand. Kaross™ is an embroidery initiative started in 1989 with a few (five) Shangaan embroiders and Irma van Rooyen, a visual artist, as creative director and founder. Sitting on a Kaross™ (blanket) the ladies started creating works of art own to themselves and their cultural background. The objective was to create pieces of excellent quality, and a fresh approach to handwork. Over the past 18 years Kaross™ became the voice of 1000+ Shangaan people and their communities in the Letsitele/Giyani area of the Limpopo Province. The staff can show the visitor around in the studio and there is a nice restaurant, serving various home made dishes and juices.
 
Back on the main road, continue for 10 kilometers. Turn left on the R71 towards Phalaborwa. After 30 kilometer, near the small town of Gravelotte, turn right on a gravel road towards Leydsdorp, to see one of the biggest Baobab trees in Limpopo. Follow the road for 2 kilometers and turn right to access the parking and picknick site near the tree.
 
On the main road, follow the R71 by turning left into Gravelotte. Continue for 70 kilometers towards Phalaborwa. 10 kilometers before town, turn right on the R530 to visit the Amarula lapa. Amarula Lapa is the official home to South Africa’s best loved liqueur, Amarula Cream. The Lapa is a promotional tasting facility that offers visitors the opportunity to enjoy an ice cold glass of Amarula Cream whilst learning more about the history and uses of the legendary Marula tree as well as the versatility of the product at hand. Production tours are held of the Primary Production plant during the harvesting season that annually runs from January to March. Visitors are invited to come and enjoy a chilled glass of this sought after ambrosia at the Home of Amarula Cream Liqueur. The facility stocks a unique range of Amarula branded clothing and curios as well as vast quantities of Amarula Cream.
 
On Silonque farm, 6 kilometers North of Phalaborwa, Afrikania Pottery designs and sells beautiful contemporary ceramics.
 
Originally a mining town, it has developed over the years into a tourist attraction. PMC's open cast mine is Africa's widest man-made hole at almost 2,000 meters wide. Tourism and wildlife play a dominant role in the life of this town. It is the only town in South Africa that borders the Kruger National Park, the Mozambiquan border is only two hours away. The Hans Merensky Golf Estate is situated on the edge of town. Other places to stay are Sefapane Lodge and La Lechere Guesthouse.
 

Loops

- Hoedspruit Cheetah Project
- Panorama Route / Blyde River Canyon (Alternative Route to Gauteng)
 

Places of interest

- Tsongakraal Open Air Museum/Hans Merensky Nature Reserve
- Kaross Weavers
- Leydsdorp Baobab
- Amarula Lapa
- Afrikania Pottery
- Sefapane Lodge
- La Lechere Guesthouse
 
 
Distance:
Tour guide: No
Level of adventure: low
Car: normal car