Tzaneen & North Limpopo

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

Overview

Enjoy wild game-viewing and adventurous walking on a northern Kruger safari. Or gain a sense of authentic Africa and the arts and crafts culture of the Venda people in this beautiful region of open plains and jagged mountain escarpments.

A safari in Limpopo certainly offers unspoilt Africa at its best. Visit sleepy country towns, ancient civilizations and the proud culture of the Venda people. here you can enjoy adventurous northern Kruger safaris to Pafuri Camp or The Outpost. Or you can explore the ruins at Mapungubwe. This was home to an ancient civilization which rivalled Great Zimbabwe in its time.

Tzaneen

South of these areas, is Tzaneen. This town within a beautiful upland region of fruit orchards and tea plantations.  You can meander along the Magoebaskloof Pass and visit the lovely Debegeni Falls. Alternatively you may like to brave the Magoebaskloof treetop canopy tour. Head to the curious Cycad forest, home of ‘Modjadji’ the legendary rain queen. Or visit the indigenous cloud forests. These offer a variety of hiking and walking trails.

From Tzaneen you can head east for a northern Kruger safari, either to Pafuri. Or to the Klaserie, Timbavati and Thornybush Game Reserves which are an easy drive away.  Or you can head south to the Drakensberg Escarpment or you can use it as a springboard into the Venda region.

Magoesbaskloof treetop canopy tour, near Tzaneen

Soutpansberg & Venda

The Soutpansberg & Venda region in the far north is often an area reserved for second or third time visitors. As it is one of the more remote areas of South Africa. 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 taking one of the artists’ routes and see local potters, wood carvers, textile weavers and bead makers all in their own villages. Your base would be

Perhaps stay at Leshiba Wilderness Lodge to enjoy hiking in the Soutpansberg and cultural interactions with the Venda people. Or visit Mada a Thavi Lodge which supports the arts and crafts of the region.

Venda arts and crafts

From this region, it is a comparatively easy drive north to Mashatu Game Reserve.

Features

Why you may love it

  • Bordering Botswana, Zimbabwe and Mozambique, the Limpopo Province is tucked away at South Africa’s most northern tip.
  • Ancient rock art and fossil discoveries in the province are from the Stone Age, making Limpopo an incredibly rare and historically significant site.
  • The province is also incredibly rich in wildlife. A section of the famous Kruger National Park falls within its borders.
  • Some of the world’s oldest and largest baobab tree species are found here.
  • Tzaneen is located in lush, tropical surroundings and is home to Limpopo's highest mountain, the Iron Crown Mountain, lying more than 2200 m above sea level.

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Natasha’s review of Kings Walden Garden Manor

Kings Walden is still our favourite place to stay in this relatively remote part of South Africa. Tzaneen is one of the most scenic places to stay as a stop-over between the Waterberg, Mashatu or the northern Limpopo area and the game lodges of the Greater Kruger Park.

However with Kings Walden, it may not suit everyone. The gardens reek of romance. And yet there is no denying that they have some maintenance issues to deal with. The new owner/manager Bridget as taken back ownership of her beloved family home, which has been operating as a boutique guest lodge under overseas ownership for some years. And she is keen to upgrade the rooms. (For example some areas need a fresh coat of paint. So for now, you get comfortable accommodation in an unarguably romantic setting.

The garden, which they are most famous for, does need some attention. But as it is in the style of a romantic English terrace garden,it is still a magical feature nonetheless.

At the moment they only offer 5 of their 6 rooms. As one of the rooms is being used by Bridget. Room 3 can take a triple and Rooms 5 & 6 are inter-leading. These two rooms overlook the garden and pool, whereas other rooms overlook the lawn and gardena.

They are known for their food. Dinner is a 4 course meal, with options changing on a nightly basis. (So pre-booking for dinner is essential). The dinner was good and very well presented and we especially thought their breakfast was very good as well.

Bridget is a lovely hostess and usually shares a bit of the property/family history with guests. Dining areas are swopped around, so depending on the weather, outside dining now offers a much better view, overlooking the iconic lightning tree. The table setting at dinner added a great ambience to our meal.

The rooms dont have air-conditioning, but this hilly area above Tzaneen is remarkably cooler, because of the elevation, than the heat that we felt in town. The ceiling fan was sufficient even in December (summer).

Conclusion - If you only want ultra-modern and all mod-cons then Kings Walden may not be for you. However if you like a little bit of romance and history and can trade this for a fresh paint of coat, then we recommend Kings Walden!

Cedarberg : Natasha Jantjies
Did you know
  • TzaneenTzaneen's name is derived from a Northern Sotho word 'Tsaneng', which means gathering place or 'Tsana' (basket of hills).
  • SizeTzaneen is Limpopo's second largest town after Polokwane.

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