Tzaneen & Far North

Enjoy wild game-viewing, adventurous safaris and a sense of authentic Africa in this beautiful region of open plains and jagged escarpments.

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The Limpopo province actually includes the northern half of the Kruger National Park. However – for ease of understanding – we cover those camps and private game reserves under our Kruger pages.

Here we are referring to the far northern parts of Limpopo. This is certainly unspoilt Africa at its best with sleepy country towns, ancient civilizations and the proud culture of the Venda people.  You can enjoy adventurous safaris, the ruins at Mapungubwe, hiking in the Soutpansberg or cultural visits to the Venda people.

There are 3 areas clients tend to visit and these can be combined to make a complete tour.

Tzaneen

One possibility is to head north from Johannesburg to Tzaneen. Perhaps staying in the Waterberg en route. Tzaneen is a beautiful upland region of fruit orchards and tea plantations.

We recommend a couple of days in Tzaneen with its magnificent views of the plains below. You can meander along the Magoebaskloof Pass and visit the lovely Debegeni Falls. Alternatively why not brave the Magoebaskloof treetop canopy tour. Heade to the curious Cycad forest, home of ‘Modjadji’ the legendary rain queen. Plus the indigenous cloud forests offer a variety of hiking and walking trails.

We recommend Kings Walden Garden Manor for excellent cuisine, stylish rooms and romantic gardens cascading over several terraces.

From there you can head east to the northern Kruger or south to the Drakensberg Escarpment and the private game lodges of the Timbavati and Thornybush. Tzaneen also makes the perfect stopover between Mashatu and the Kruger. Or you can use it as a springboard into the Venda region…

Soutpansberg & Venda

This is often an area reserved for second or third time visitors, being more remote. But if you have an adventurous and inquisitive spirit and would like to learn more about African cultures, we recommend it to anyone.

Activities include hiking in the Soutpansberg mountains or browsing among the many arts & crafts markets. (As the Venda people are famous for their craftwork.) Take one of the artists’ routes and see local potters, wood carvers, textile weavers and bead makers all in their own villages. There are also some fantastic community tourism initiatives spearheaded by Transfrontier Camps. They have established 4 comfortable yet simple camps where you can learn more about the Venda culture and way of life in an uncontrived way. Some also offer a spot of game-viewing as well.

Limpopo Game Reserves

Aside from the well-known game reserves of the Timbavati , there are two game reserves we recommend.

One is the starkly beautiful Mashatu Game Reserve  This is actually in Botswana but as it can only be accessed from South Africa  – with its own tiny border post – we play fast and loose with borders! As well as game drives, Mashatu offer adventurous safaris with hiking, mountain biking and horse riding on offer. They are also well-known for their photograhic safaris.

En route you can visit South Africa’s newest National Park at Mapungubwe, home to an ancient civilization which rivalled Great Zimbabwe in its time. Or you can combine Mashatu with The Outpost , a private concession in the far northern Kruger. There is an easy tarred road to the northern gate.