Going north from Polokwane along the N1, one ventures into the bushveld with its wildlife and adventure trails.
Between Polokwane & Makhado
Motumo Trading Post is a stopover option off the N1, located in the Motumo Mountains. There are several stores showcasing beading and other craft works.
+27 (0)15 288 0094
The Tropic of Capricorn Monument, a marker surrounded by mountains and bushveld, is located just off the N1. The "Koppies" (small mountains) are still regarded as sacred by nearby communities and many traditional clan rituals are held here.
The Last Post Game Reserve is a one hour-drive from Polokwane. Several camps may be found there, among which is the Camp Mocking Chat. The reserve is 14km east of the N1 at the Driekoppies exit at Bandalierkop.
+27 (0)15 287 0504
Ben Lavin nature Reserve offers fascinating archaeological sites dating to 1250 A.D., biking trails and bird-watching. The 2 500ha reserve is situated close to the Soutpansberg nearby Makhado (formerly Louis Trichardt), where visitors can go bird-watching and view game on foot, by car or mountain bike.
+27 (0)15 516 4534
A detour off the N1 along the R578 will take you to Elim. This quaint village is home to a hospital (where missionaries served for well over a century), several houses and retail shops, a small museum, and a few charming guest houses and lodges. The Venda Art Route, which essentially put Elim on the map, showcases local sculptors, artists, potters, and weavers. Products include beadwork, traditional drums, baskets, carvings and artwork that can be viewed and bought.
The Elim Hospital has a small museum that pays tribute to the work of the Swiss doctors and many missionaries who gave medical care to the people in the area. The Rivoni School for the Blind is also here and the crafts created by the students are magnificent.
Other places worth visiting around Elim are the Levubu Tree Park and the Middle Letaba Dam, both exquisite and tranquil. From here one can venture into the â€œLand of Legendsâ€ to the sacred Phiphidi Falls and Guvhukuvhu Pool. Visitors are urged to respect the fact that locals consider this tranquil place a sacred site. These sites are located on the R523 between Sibasa and the Mambedi Tea Estates that can be viewed by appointment.
+27 (0)15 556 3135
Makhado (formerly Louis Trichardt), at the centre of the Vhembe District, is an area known for its natural beauty and splendour. Makhado is situated in a region blessed with varying vegetation - savanna, bushveld and sub-tropical woodlands.
Fort Hendrina, built in 1887 and used during the Anglo Boer War, has graves of Voortrekker fighters. It is situated next to the municipal library in Erasmus Street. The Voortrekker Graves are located in the Indigenous Tree Sanctuary on the N1. The sanctuary houses over 145 indigenous trees.
The Soutpansberg is South Africa`s northernmost mountain range. The salt pans lie near the western end of the mountains. The Soutpansberg is a unique wilderness area with over 500 tree species, close on 467 species of birds, numerous mammal, reptile and amphibian species and the beautiful Swanepoel`s Widow Butterfly that is endemic to the region.
To the Venda people who live in the Soutpansberg, water is sacred. They believe that Lake Funduzi is so sacred that newcomers must turn their backs on the lake and look at the water from between their legs. Thathe Forest is another site of significance and the Venda believe that the forest is full of spirits and are cautious about entering. Ironically, the forest is good for bird-watching and avid birdwatchers can spot Chorister Robin-Chats, White-starred Robins, Knysna Turacos, Yellow-streaked Greenbuls and Orange Ground-Thrushes.