A wildlife destination par excellence, Limpopo's rolling savannahs are home to Africa's Big Five - the lion, leopard, rhinoceros, elephant and Cape buffalo. Its monumental ranges, the Soutpansberg and Waterberg, host hundreds of bird species and walking trails that give way to vistas so beautiful, they'll bring a tear to your eye. Bordering Botswana, Zimbabwe and Mozambique, South Africa’s northernmost province is also the link that joins the country to its sub-Saharan neighbours. It's a land where it's possible to trace the very roots of civilisation at archeological sites that date back to the stone age and beyond. To put it simply, there's a wealth of incredible things to do in Limpopo.
With so much on offer, it can be hard to know just where to begin. To give you a starting point for exploring this unique South African province, we've put together our list of five of the best things to do in Limpopo.
Home to the Kruger, the world’s largest national park, Limpopo has many other less famous, but equally wonderful places to get close to nature and wildlife. Several smaller game and nature parks flank Kruger itself, including Timbavati, Kapama, Thornybush, Balule, Makalali, Karongwe and Klaserie, while the Waterberg Biosphere Reserve includes the Marakele National Park and the Welgevonden, Entabeni, Waterberg, Mabalingwe and Mabula reserves.
Nature lovers also have a choice of game or birdwatching safaris, travelling by car, horse or on foot. You can enjoy pampered luxury, budget trips or visit sustainable tourism projects that feature local culture and heritage. And you can add golf, spas, honeymoon or photography to the experience.
Want even more of a thrill? Try hiking, hot air ballooning, horse trails, river safaris, boating, quad or mountain biking, and fly-fishing. Get even more extreme with kloofing (canyoning), canopy tours, abseiling, skydiving, microlighting, rock climbing and tubing. Many of these adventures take place around wildlife, when you can walk with lions, ride among zebras or fly on an anti-poaching patrol by helicopter.
Limpopo has a great variety of landscapes and there are many trails that allow you to explore this wonderful part of Africa. Whether you want to walk, ride a bike or a horse, you’ll find one of the right length and challenge to suit, from gentle bushveld safaris and shady forest paths to strenuous mountain climbs.
Along the way, you'll spot ,any different animals and more than 600 bird species, 420 of which are native to the province. There are several trails dedicated to birdwatching, including the Soutpansberg, Capricorn-Letaba and Waterberg routes. Trails might be on private reserves or in national parks. Other trails will take you through cultural villages and craft projects, perhaps visiting a socially uplifting initiative.
The Legend Golf and Safari Resort is home to what has been described as the ‘most extreme golf hole in the world’. The Extreme 19th is the world’s highest and longest par-3 hole, where you can see a green shaped like Africa herself from a mountaintop almost 500 yards above.
It’s certainly a highlight, but there are many other memorable courses in Limpopo, including Koro Creek, Euphoria, Hans Merensky, Zebula and Mabalingwe. On many of them, you can see African wildlife as you play, an unforgettable experience. Some of the courses are part of resorts that offer spa pampering afterwards (or instead), with first-class restaurants and amazing rooms and suites.
There are over 700 rock art sites in Limpopo, featuring many beautiful paintings and engravings, with many more sites still awaiting discovery. While it is impossible to accurately date rock art, the oldest are thought to be many thousands of years old.
The majority of the art is from the ancient San (“Bushman”) people and give us valuable insights into their daily life and even religious beliefs, with the trance dance of shamans a common subject. Many animals are also shown, some very accurately and others in more abstract form, with the kudu being very important here.
Keen to find out more about travelling to the Limpopo province in South Africa? Check out the official Limpopo microsite for more inspiration.
Top Image: Lions on the road © Shutterstock