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Ribolla Open Africa Route

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The Ribolla Route is in the crown of the rainbow nation, where the Drakensberg mountain range ends. Named after the Ribolla Mountain in the Limpopo province, the route takes travellers on a journey of extraordinary myths and legends of great and ancient kingdoms. This is where the queen Modjadji makes rain, where young women dance like pythons, where rhinos are made of gold, clay pottery is made and where the best wood sculptures are found.

Limpopo is renowned for its arts, crafts and design. Some of the province's most acclaimed artists include Noria Mabaso, the late Jackson Hlungwane, Phineas Masivhelele and Sarah Munyai’s work can be found along the Ribolla Open Africa Route. In addition to local art, the route also features traditional dancers, storytellers, gardeners, and singers. Experience the culture and traditional way of life of the people of this region.

Throughout this Land of Legends people will welcome you in the traditionally hospitable African manner. You will sense compelling links with the past in the traditions and dances. This is the essence of Limpopo.

Limpopo is a malaria risk area so consult your doctor about appropriate prophylaxis. The best way to explore this route is with a knowledgeable guide, available at reasonable rates. 

Reasons to visit

Visit the sacred lake Fundudzi, which lies at the heart of VhaVenda mysticism or the Thathe Vondo Forest, with its giant hardwoods, tumbling streams with canopies of trees ferns and creepers. It contains the Sacred Forest, where one may not walk for fear of angering the ancestral spirits. Even the VhaVenda common folk are forbidden here, as it hides the burial place of the chiefs of the Thathe clan. 

The largest baobab in the country, over 3 000 years old, with a girth of 43m, is found near the Sagole Spa 35km from Nwanedi Nature Reserve in the Venda region, while Dzata Ruins and Museum of the Drum portrays the history of Venda dating back to 1400 AD. 

The Mphaphuli Cycad Reserve and hiking route on the Mutale Road near the Makonde Village is worth a visit. In the wooded foothills of the Soutpansberg, the Mphephu Resort has a picnic area, two pools and a colourful play area for children, making it an ideal family retreat. 

A variety of hiking, horse and mountain bike trails can be enjoyed including the Soutpansberg Hiking Trail (two days circular, 21km); Ben Lavin Nature Reserve (18km of walking trails); Greater Kuduland and Medike Mountain Reserve. There are a number of 4x4 routes that are extremely popular among enthusiasts, while the Indigenous Tree Sanctuary just outside of Louis Trichardt is worth a visit.

Limpopo Marula Festival
When:  2015 dates TBC
Where:  Phalaborwa
Contact Person:  Gillienne Saddie
Mob:  +27 83 661 7880
Attractions include the Marula Beer tasting supplied by local brewers, exhibitions featuring products made by Marula - soaps, candles, butter, jam, massage oils, chutneys and skin ointments. A weeklong event  covering activities including 4X4 challenge, half marathon, career fair, fun fair, Marula cuisine, youth rugby, street parade and open air festival. 

Please note:  Users are kindly advised to check with the listed contacts for any late amendments to the event information.

This far north-eastern corner of Limpopo became the home of migrant groups of people seeking peace and sanctuary. In this 'pleasant land', Venda, they found high mountains, peaceful valleys, an abundance of clear water and some of the finest indigenous forests in Southern Africa. In the silence of these forests many legends were born, telling of the spirits of the water and the sacred guardians of hidden lakes and ancient burial places.

The VhaVenda culture is steeped in the spirit world and finds expression in their dances, woodcarvings, pottery and the decoration of their buildings. The Venda people are regarded as among the finest artists in Africa and their original works are collected worldwide.

The best-known Venda dance is the domba, which is performed during initiation ceremonies. The domba drum is a prized possession, intricately carved in wood. Generations of carvers have kept this craft alive, and an open-air workshop near Mutale is worth a visit.

Thohoyandou is the former capital of what was the nominally independent 'homeland' of Venda and the proud heart of the VhaVenda people. The name means 'head of the elephant' in tshiVenda. The town is the commercial, administrative and legislative centre for the district. It is a bustling centre of commerce, well served with shopping complexes, an interesting museum and an international standard hotel and casino.

Thohoyandou is situated in the southern part of Venda, on the main road between Louis Trichardt and the Kruger National Park. This is the lush agricultural centre of Venda, with its banana plantations, acres of sub-tropical fruit, tobacco and maize lands. Coffee and tea plantations grace the higher slopes. It is a well-populated area, dotted with tidy villages. Each home expresses the character of its owner, low encircling walls being delightfully decorated with traditional motifs.

Louis Trichardt is an important commercial, industrial and residential centre in the northern region, a true 'gateway to Africa'. Situated at the foot of the densely forested Soutspansberg range near the Zimbabwean border and the Kruger National Park, in a fertile, rapidly growing agricultural area, LouisTrichardt has become one of Limpopo’s premier business and tourist destinations.

Louis Trichardt lies 100km north of Polokwane and 100km south of the Beit Bridge border post that separates South Africa from Zimbabwe. The N1 passes through Louis Trichardt and forms part of the Maputo sub-corridor. It has a population of 120 000 and 600 000 people live within a 50km radius.

The town Louis Trichardt was named after the Voortrekker leader Louis Trichardt. There is a memorial commemorating this brave man, who wanted to move as far away as possible from British rule and was part of the Great Trek in 1838. After an arduous trip Trichardt and his wife died of malaria.

The Church of the Covenant was built after the battle between the early settlers and the Venda people. Fort Hendrina was a mobile fort used during the Anglo-Boer War. Schoemansdal Open Air Museum portrays the way of life of those early pioneers.

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   Accommodation

Madi a Thavha Mountain Lodge
Madi a Thavha, meaning 'water from the mountains', is set in a beautiful and quiet valley of the Soutpansberg mountains,...

Plaas Guesthouse
The Plaas Guesthouse is a 4-star accommodation establishment situated just off the R524 on the route to Punda Maria gate...

Shiluvari Lakeside Lodge
Against a backdrop of mountains and forests, sacred lakes and Holy Forests, one discovers Shiluvari Lakeside Lodge. ...

Vuwa African Lodge
Tis lodge was established in 2001 with the aim of providing African style accommodation. The business displays African a...

Villa Grandé Lodge
Welcome to Villa Grandé Lodge... Villa Grandé Lodge is situated in the small town Louis Trichardt (Makhad...

   Activities

Musa Matchume Tourism Guiding
Musa described the business: “I am a provincial freelancer tour guide specialising in cultural tours and adventure...

Daniel Khosa - Cultural and nature tour guide
Daniel Khosa is a tour guide with exceptional knowledge of the Ribolla Open Africa route. He takes visitors on a journey...

   Arts & Crafts

Khathu's Craft Project
In 2003 Khathu initiated a project with others at their village Manini in Thohoyandou with the aim of making it a formal...

Khomanani Paper Art
“Khomanani” is a Shangaan word meaning, 'hold each other together as a unit'. Khomanani Paper Art was establ...

Khomisani Vutshila Bead Project
During the year 2000, five women from Mangove village came together and formed this project and they named it Khomisani...

Livhimbi Fine Arts and Crafts
Livhimbi Fine Arts and Crafts sells a variety of wooden jewellery and traditional headrests sculptures.  Other item...

Lucky Makamu Wood Carving
Lucky Makuma started woodcarving in 1986 after realising at school that he had this talent.  He was also encouraged...

Lucky Ntimani Wood Carving
Lucky makes items from wood. Some of his works include: Musical instruments; Sculptures; Wooden spoons; Bowls; and Door...

Luvhola Cultural Village
This attraction based on authentic VhaVenda culture at Elim offers: Special cultural evening:  A 5-hour traditio...

Mapuve Potters
Mapuve Potters sell a variety of traditional Venda and Tsonga pots, as well as minceka.   This participant is a me...

Mashamba Pottery
Mashamba Pottery offers a large variety of traditional Venda pots for sale. Other items for sale: Beadwork including ne...

Matibe Craft
Items for sale: Traditional pots; Traditional attire; A variety of baskets; Grass mats; Wooden drums; Bowls; Walking st...

Mintirho ya Ndhavuko Tourism
Items for sale: A variety of arts and crafts; Pottery; Beading.

Moses Mutavhatsindi Wood Carving
Moses is a student of Thomas Kubayi and makes a variety of sculptures and musical instruments.   This participant...

Mukondeni Pottery Project
The pottery is made from local clay from the banks of the Tshipise River. The production of big and small traditional Ve...

Mukondeni Pottery Village
Mukondeni Pottery Village was started by Sarah Munyai who was born in 1921. She started doing pottery at the age of 12 t...

Noria Mabasa
Noria was born in 1938, in Giyani – Xigalo Village.  That year there was a big initiation school for girls,Ts...

Pfananani Weaving Project
Pfananani Weaving Project is located at Tsianda Village, in the former Venda region.  This project was started by a...

Pfuxanani Youth Centre
Pfuxanani means wake each other in Shangaan/Tsonga. Pfuxanani Youth Centre was formed in 1993 by a group of youth who sa...

Phineas Masuvhelele
Phineas Masuvhelele (49) crafted a wooden drum that might go down in history books as one of the largest ever made. Masu...

Raphalalani Wood Centre
Mishack Raphalalani is also one of the best and well-known wood sculpturists in Venda. He lives at Tshakhuma Village in...

Rixile Community Co-operative
This co-operative is involved in sewing, pottery, beading, weaving, juice making and baking. These products are produced...

Thomas Kubayi Wood Carving
Thomas describes his business in his own words: "I started wood curving art at the age of eleven while I was doing stand...

Tintswalo Beads and Sewing
The Tintswalo Beads and Sewing project started in 2002 by ten dedicated women based in Mbokota Village. Although at the...

Tinyiko Art and Craft
Lucky is a carver who makes sculptures of animals and people.  Visitors are welcome to view his artworks. Items fo...

Tshilwavhusiku Special School
This project was started in 1998 by a group of educaters and public nurses.  The school sells paper machè fl...

Twananani Textile
In villages around Limpopo Province, it is the women who decorate the homes with traditional and borrowed symbols, integ...

VaTsonga Cultural Village and Accommodation
Facilities and entertainment that can be found at the cultural village include a curio shop, accommodation facilities an...

Vutshila Khomisani Project
This group started in 2000 and was registered as a company in 2010.  The group consists of 20 women doing beadwork....

Ahifaneni Sewing Project
Ahifaneni Sewing Project is located in Waterval Township, next to the post office and near the ZCC church. This project...

Amukelani Project
Hlamarisa Vuma is a disabled person who decided as a young girl to start a beadwork business specializing in Shangaan/Ts...

Chauke Art & Crafters
Chauke Art & Crafters makes lovely artworks from wood.  These include wooden sculptures and spoons.  Visit...

Churchill Madzivandila Wood Carving
Churchhill Makondelela Madzivandila was born on the 9th September 1947 at a village called Tshakhuma in Venda, which is...

David Khoza's Basket Weaving
Churchhill Makondelela Madzivandila was born on the 9th September 1947 at a village called Tshakhuma in Venda, which is...

David Murathi - Woodcarving
David Marathi’s woodcarving works mostly express the Venda culture and traditions. The artist says that he learnt...

Fhatani Excell Mulandzi Wood Carving
Fhatani makes a variety of wooden sculptures and musical insturments. This participant is a member of the Africa Craft...

Jackson Hlungwane and Grandsons Wood Carving
Jackson Hlungwane is one of the best wood sculptures ever in the Limpopo Province. Some of his best works have been sold...

John Baloyi Gallery
This gallery has a variety of works and sculptures on display from all the different artists in the area.

Justice Mugwena - Wood Carver (Sculptures)
Sculptures on sale include small and big benches for home, office and garden deco, sculptured art works that can be appe...

   Environment

Lemana Monument
Lemana College was erected by the Swiss Mission to provide teacher-training facilities for various communities in this p...

   Services

Nesther - Tourist Guide
Nester Tourist Guide specialises in cultural dances and cultural history of the indigenous ethnic groups of the area (Ve...

Rivoni Society for The Blind
A Swiss doctor at Elim Hospital named Dr. Erwin Sutter started this organisation in 1976. Rivoni Society for the blind i...

Elim Hlanganani Society for the Care of the Aged
Elim Hlanganani was established in response to a need identified. Terminally ill older persons used to be admitted to th...

Elim Hospital
Swiss Missionaries started Elim Hospital in 1899. There is a Museum within the hospital yard that is being renovated so...

Hanyanyani Brick Yard
Hanyanyani Brick Yard was established to provide quality and yet cheaper bricks to be used in the community. The brick y...

 

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South Africa - Limpopo

South Africa - Limpopo

The route, named after the uniquely shaped mountain in the Makhado District, showcases the artistic talents of many of its inhabitants, as well as dancers, storytellers, gardeners and singers.

Enquire Now

Key Contacts

Name:
Daniel Khosa

Mobile: Click here

Name:
Daniel Khoza

Mobile: Click here

Tags

arts-and-craft culture bush

 

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