To the east and north of Makhado lies the intriguing land of the VhaVenda people, a culturally and linguistically distinct African grouping known for their mystical legends, political independence and arts and crafts. Venda was demarcated as a homeland under the apartheid system in the 1950s, and became one of three notionally independent homelands in South Africa in the late 1970s. Of all the homelands, Venda was one of the least compromised, keeping both its geographic and cultural integrity, and largely being left to mind its own business during the dark years of apartheid. Nowadays, its boundaries have regained their former fuzziness, within Limpopo, but the region has retained its strong, independent identity.
Aside from a sprinkling of accommodation in Thohoyandou, you’ll find almost no tourist-oriented infrastructure whatsoever in Venda, but travelling here can be wonderfully rewarding.