The Segarona Heritage Experience was developed to link the Pilansberg National Park and the Madikwe Nature Reserve. The word ‘segarona’ is a seTswana word meaning heritage, which is fitting as the area is full of Tswana culture and history. Most of the route area is made up of rural villages and pre-urban settlements where visitors can stop and interact with the local communities and experience their hospitality.
The route forms a triangular shape, connecting the major tourism hubs of the Pilanesberg through the Bakgatla territory and connects with Madikwe Nature reserve. Derdepoort and Zeerust, the gateway into Botswana complete the triangle at Groot-Marico, where it connects with the Pilanesberg.
The route stretches from the Pilanesberg complex of the Moses Kotane Local Municipality in the Bojanala district to the world-renowned Madikwe Game Reserve where the annual Heritage Park walk takes place. With both the Pilanesberg National Park and Madikwe Nature reserve being malaria free and Big 5 territories, the route has lots to offer nature enthusiasts.
Reasons to visit
The route offers a range of attractions from the luxury of Sun City to the luxurious five-star game lodges in Pilanesberg and Madikwe. There are many other options for accommodation on the route however, including bush tented camps, guesthouses and lodges to fit any budget.
The unique dolomitic ecosystems such as the Groot Marico Eye, the source of the Limpopo River located just outside of Groot Marico, are home to several varieties of indigenous fish such as kurpers and aquatic invertebrates such as caddis and mayflies and seed shrimps that are found nowhere else in the world.
Birdlife of the savannah plains abounds and the numerous species attracted to the seasonally inundated pans contribute to the rich avian diversity of the route area. Vultures and other birds of prey can be seen within the route’s nature parks while a wide variety of mammals are found in the route’s reserves and protected including leopard, rhino, lion, elephant, buffalo and roan and sable antelope. A number of reptile species are found in the province, including the African rock python and black mamba.
The Marico River is one of the few perennial rivers in this part of the country. The eye is a fountain (17m deep) with the purest and cleanest water that is actually bottled at the soure. It is a favourite spot for scuba diving and camping. The Marico Bushveld Dam, also known as Riekertsdam, forms part of an irrigation scheme which provides farmers with water during the dry seasons. This dam is also used extensively for water sports like fishing, skiing, sailing etc. There is a well-equipped caravan and camping park right next to the dam.
Groot Marico became famous for a special drink, called Mampoer, made from local fruit and also known as 'moonshine'. It is very high in alcohol content. The method of testing if the mampoer is strong enough is to put a match to it. If is bursts into flames it is regarded well enough.
The 76, 500 hectares of Madikwe encompasses a variety of eco-systems and lies 90km north of Zeerust. Madikwe was established in 1991 with the purpose of not only protecting our invaluable natural wildlife, but also allowing local communities to benefit from conservation and tourism projects. The game reserve boasts the Big Five, cheetah, Cape hunting dog, spotted hyena, giraffe, zebra and many species of antelope and herbivores.
Nedbank Golf Challenge
When: 4 - 7 Dec 2014
Where: Gary Player Country Club, Sun City
Tel: +27 800 237 422
The golf course at the Gary Player Country Club, since its opening in 1979, has been acknowledged as South Africa’s premier championship test of golf. The home of the Nedbank Golf Challenge since 1981, this immaculately groomed layout has received rave reviews from the world’s top golfers, who agree that it is both demanding and fair. This course has been consistently rated as the best in South Africa, and compares with the best in the world.
Biekie Bosman Festival
When: 2015 dates TBC
A celebration of the stories of the writer Herman Charles Bosman, complimented by four local storyreaders and storytellers. Mampoer distilling, sound journey and good food will be some of the other activities of this special weekend.
Sound & Silence Retreat
When: 2015 dates TBC
Where: RiverStill Guest Farm, Groot Marico
Contact Person: Teresa
Mob: +27 72 744 9071
Relax and enjoy nature walks, sound journeys and rejuvenate with the sounds and silence of the Marico Valley.
When: 2015 dates TBC
Where: Groot Marico
Contact Person: Santa at the Information Centre
Tel: +27 14 503 0085
Mob: +27 83 272 2958
This event includes performances, music, workshops, lectures, good fun, food and meeting local Maricojaners who share the love of stories and making music.
Mapungubwe Arts and Cultural Festival
When: 2015 dates TBC
Where: Polokwane Cricket Club
The Department of Arts & Culture, who are the organisers of the annual Mapungubwe Arts & Cultural Festival expressed pleasure with the attendance of the festival. The festival included musicals by local singers – Jonas Gwangwa, Big Nutz, Judith Sephuma and an international R&B artist Kenny Latimore. Patrons were spoilt for choice as some events ran simultaneously. Polokwane Cricket Club was alive.
The documented history of the route area dates back to the arrival of Voortrekkers in the 1800s, including their conflicts with local tribes over land and the way missionaries influenced the local people of the area. During the liberation struggle the area was used as a gateway to exile for many liberation heroes.
The villages connected by this route are rich in the struggle history and also hosted some of the current leaders of our country. Clans found along the route include the Bakgatla-ba-Kgafela, Bakwena Ba Morare, Baphalane, Bakubung, Batlhako, Bapo Ba Mogale, Batlhako Ba Matutu, Baphiring, Amahlubi. All are Batswana tribes except for the Amahlubi who moved to the area from the Eastern Cape in Alice in search for better grazing land.
Kaditshwene (Place of the Baboons) Village Ruins
Kaditshwene is historically considered a capital of the Bahurutshe nation and the largest Batswana settlement in Southern Africa with a population of 16,000 to 20,000 around the early 1800s. The large population of Kaditshwene is evidenced by extensive settlement remains that include house foundations, stone walls, ash middens, as well as evidence of a metal working industry. The Kings enclosure is believed to be on the Bloemfontein farm.
The rugged, almost impenetrable bush of the northern Marico district conceals an archaeological wonder. Giving lie to Victorian beliefs that black people were incapable of building anything substantial, the Kaditshwene ruins are mute testimony to an advanced civilization.
The ruins are believed to be the largest Iron Age stone-built city in South Africa. In 1820 this city was larger than Cape Town. It was the manufacturing, trading and cultural capital of the Bahurutshebetween 1600 and 1823.
Settled communities throughout Southern Africa, mined iron, copper, tin andgold. They made metal tools, weapons and jewellery which they traded, together with other products across southern Africa and even as far as China via the Arab merchants of the east coast. Copper was mined throughout the region, including at the Melville koppies (hills) in Johannesburg and the North West Province.
The different communities traded widely with the metals and most of them used it for manufacturing. When the Scottish missionary, Reverend John Campbell visited some of these communities in 1820, they told him of traders from across the ocean, who had long, straight hair. The Iron Age people were agro-pastoralists who had a sophisticated social system and lived in large stone-walled towns. They were the people who introduced an advanced civilised lifestyle to South Africa.
History of the Royal Bafokeng Nation
The listing of a platinum company of such magnitude is a rare event in South Africa, but what makes this particular listing unique is the history of the Bafokeng Nation.
In the 1860s, around the time diamond mining started in Kimberley, white farmers began to settle in the Rustenburg valley and register farms in their own names, ignoring the traditional rights of ownership enjoyed by the Bafokeng people for many centuries. Fearing the seizure of Bafokeng land, Kgosi August Mokgatle - then king of the Bafokeng - realised the Bafokeng would need to purchase farms to retain property to which they were, in essence, already entitled. Lacking funds, he ordered the young men of his tribe to make the trek to Kimberley to work in the diamond mines, bringing their savings home to be pooled in a community fund.
Legally prevented from acquiring property in their own name, the Bafokeng then sought the aid of Lutheran missionaries who would hold the title deeds on their behalf. In this manner, the Bafokeng nation began to acquire property as early as 1869, and over the next 30 - 40 years amassed some 900 hectares in the region. Over time the title deeds held by the missionaries were transferred to government to be held in trust for the Bafokeng nation as a collective.
Subsequently in the 1920s, geologist Hans Merensky discovered outcrops of the Bushveld Complex in the Rustenburg valley, and as luck would have it, a substantial portion of his ore body lay below land owned by the Bafokeng.
Over the next 70 years, there were several attempts to dispossess the Bafokeng of their land. Mines were constructed and the extraction of PGM and other minerals took place. Although the RBN contest that they were not paid sufficient royalties, they were able to retain their legal title and continued to acquire adjoining farms in the region. In the late 1990s following the abolition of apartheid, the royalty structure was revised and the Bafokeng began to receive royalties of higher value.
Funds generated from the mines have been re-invested in the community and in their investment vehicle, Royal Bafokeng Holdings (RBH). The Bafokeng have used their income to build schools, roads, clinics and other infrastructure in the region, while RBH has grown to a company managing some R30-billion in assets.
Groot Marico takes its name from the nearby Madikwe River, corrupted by the first Voortekkers in the area into Marico. The Afrikaans word Groot (Big), as locals quickly point out, has nothing to do with the town’s size, but refers to the river. The region was occupied by the Mangope faction of the baHurutshe, who established a town at Borutwe, or Mangope’s siding. Their territory encompassed the Groot Marico River Valley. In the 1850s this faction of the baHurutshe opted to migrate out of the South African Republic and settled with the independent baTswana in what became firstly Bechuanaland and later Botswana. This was partly due to the exactions of the Boers, who had taken up residence in the fertile lands of the Groot Marico valley. This valley and the irrigable lands within it, allowed for the later cultivation of tobacco, citrus fruits and lucerne.
The town was founded on a farm Wonderfontein owned by Francois Joubert and situated on the N4 between Swartruggens and Zeerust, en-route to Botswana. Town status was granted in 1948 and its popularity may be credited to the famous South African writer, Herman Charles Bosman whose famous stories played off in this area. Consequently, Groot Marico has become virtually synonymous not only with the name of Bosman, but also with the area known as the Bushveld that straddles the area between Rustenburg and Zeerust in the North West Province.
Moses M Kotane (Political Activist)
Born from a devout Tswana origin Christian family in 1905 in Tamposstad, Rusternburg district of Transvaal, Kotane was largely self-taught with only a few years of formal education. He was an insatiable reader and enrolled at a Communist-run night school in Johannesburg where he became known for his ability to master some of the most abstruse political writings. He started work at age 17 andtried his hand at many jobs including baking, domestic work, mining and photography.
He joined African National Congress in 1928 but disappointingly found it ineffective. In the same year he joined the African Bakers’ Union, an affiliate of the new Federation of Non-European Trade Unions then being built up by the Communist Party. In 1929 Kotane joined the Communist Party of South Africa (CPSA) and soon became both the vice-chairman of the trade union federation and a member of the party's political bureau, where he became a full time functionary in 1931. He was party to the start of Umsebenzi, a Communist paper then edited by Edward Roux. Because of his ability, Moses was offered an opportunity to go to the Soviet Union, so for a year in the early 1930s he studied at the Lenin School in Moscow.
In 1935, because of an ideological dispute with Lazar Bach, then chairman of the CPSA, Kotane was removed from the party's political bureau. He was later restored to his position, however, and in 1939 he became general secretary of the party, a post he continued to hold through the CPSA's subsequent phases of legality, illegality and exile.
In 1943 he was invited by A.B. Xuma to serve on the Atlantic Charter committee that drew up African Claims and in 1946 he was elected to the ANC national executive committee, a position he held until bans forced his nominal resignation in 1952. When the Communist Party was banned in 1950, Kotane moved from Cape Town, which had been the party's headquarters, to Johannesburg, where he opened a furniture business in Alexandra Township. He was one of the first to be banned under the Suppression of Communism Act, but he ignored his bans to speak in support of the Defiance Campaign in June 1952 and was arrested with one of the first batches of defiers.
In early 1963 he left South Africa for Tanzania, where he became the treasurer-general of the ANC in exile. In elections held in Tanzania in April 1969 he was returned to the national executive committee. He later suffered a stroke and went for treatment in Moscow, where he remained until his death in 1978.