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
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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