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Open Africa

Rixile Culture to Kruger Route


Baleni Sacred Salt
Salt harvesting at Baleni starts by leaving a gift at the foot of the Leadwood tree (called Motswiri) to thank the ances...



Below is a list of accommodation establishments along this route. Bookings and enquiries can be made directly with the establishment.

Rosana Guesthouse
Rosana Guesthouse offers accommodation in five bedrooms with three bathrooms. There are a couple of garages on the premi...

Arimagham Guesthouse
Arimagham is situated only five minutes drive from the entrance to the Kruger National Park and they have the following...

This business was built as a response to the identified needs of tourists to be able to not only see, but also interact...

Bed in the Bush
The main house is a welcoming oasis that soon lures you into a relaxing mode amongst the sounds of the African bush. The...

Royal Game Guesthouse
This guesthouse has been awarded a gold accreditation by SATOUR. They were also awarded a 4-star grading from the T...

Bothabelo B&B
Bothabelo B&B offers luxurious and peaceful accomoodation only 3km from the Kruger National Park. It is quietly situ...

Elegance Guesthouse
Elegance Guesthouse was the home of Mr. and Mrs. Karl Süllwald and their family. Mr. Süllwald, a German immigr...

Elephant Walk Accommodation and Tours
Elephant Walk is a very popular B&B and backpackers visited by guests from all over the world. It is only two m...

Elridge Mountain Lodge
Elridge Mountain Lodge offers comfortable and affordable accommodation in Giyani. Activities in the area: Hiking; G...

Forever Resorts - Impala Inn
Impala Inn is situated only three minutes from the Hans Merensky Country Club, one of Africa's unique golf courses, wher...

Kremetart Guesthouse
Kremetart Guesthouse is a TGCSA 2-star graded, as well as AA Travel Guide Quality Assured Recommended guesthouse and is...

La Lechere Guesthouse
La Lechere Guesthouse offers a luxury and peaceful haven situated only 5km from the Kruger National Park. Quietly situat...

Malembe Guesthouse
All the rooms are air-conditioned and every room has DSTV, coffee or tea making facilities and bathroom facilities. The...

Mashamba Country House
Mashamba Country House offers accommodation in a spacious bedrooms with: Air-conditioning; DSTV; Warm water; and T...

Mopani Guesthouse
Do you have to stay over in the fast growing Giyani? Do you want to stay in comfort when you visit the Limpopo Province?...

Riverside Guesthouse
This guesthouse offers accommodation in the main house in four bedrooms with two shared bathrooms. DSTV is available in...

Tambotie Guesthouse
Tambotie Guesthouse consists of two spacious double rooms with private bathrooms, air-conditioning and televisions in ea...

Tihosi Guesthouse
Tihosi (meaning ‘King’ in Xitsonga language) Guesthouse is an established guesthouse that has been in operat...

TSAR Hotels
TSAR Hotels, all Hollywood glamour and style in a sleek and modern setting, is situated in a prime location in the heart...

Uncle Tom's Guesthouse
Uncle Tom's Guesthouse provides safe parking and a lock up gate and also have a swimming pool and braai (barbeque) facil...

Vahlavi Guesthouse
Vahlavi Guesthouse offers B&B accommodation in single, twin, double or family bedrooms. Vahlavi Guesthouse has luxur...

Xisaka Guesthouse and Conference
'Xisaka' means 'nest' in the xi-Tsonga language, a fitting name for this thatched guesthouse and conference centre locat...

Sunbird Lodge
The lodge has the following facilities on offer: Swimming pool; Unique African bar; Lapas; Excellent braai (barbeq...

Kaia Tani Guesthouse
Kaia Tani Guesthouse is situated in the heart of Phalaborwa. Lush gardens with abundant birdlife surround this African t...

Loerie Lodge Corporate Guesthouse
Loerie Lodge Corporate Guesthouse is situated on a double property and consists of two types of accommodation. The mixtu...

Mhangy's Rock Resort
Mhangy’s Rock Resort can accommodate up to 18 visitors in nine rondavels that are scattered around the proper...

Masorini Bush Lodge
Masorini Bush Lodge can accommodate 16 guests at a time. They offer either self-catering A-frames with en-suite bat...

Thomo Heritage Park
Thomo Heritage Park offers accommodation in Iron Age huts. Visitors can indulge in traditional Tsonga cuisine and e...

Oasis Lodge Giyani
Nestled in the CBD of Giyani, Oasis Lodge Giyani is a true oasis of the lodging business in this exciting town of the da...

Sefapane Lodges and Safaris
Sefapane Lodges & Safaris has been providing guests with our brand of Limpopo hospitality for 25 years. Our location...

Baleni African Ivory Routes Cultural Camp
Baleni Cultural Camp has five stand-alone thatched rondavels, each with two ¾ beds, chairs and a bedside stand. L...

Hans Merensky Hotel & Spa
An oasis of rare tranquillity and beauty. Situated on the border of the world renowned Kruger National Park, the Ha...


Below is a list of arts and crafts outlets and projects on this route. Booking and enquiries can be made directly with the business.

Jumbo River Safaris
A houseboat like this is ideal for game-viewing as the game concentrates on the river bank to come and drink water. Will...

Makomba Ndlela Traditional Dancing
Makomba Ndlela Traditional Dancing is a group of 16 elderly women. They specialize in authentic and unique traditional s...

Africa Unlimited Tours
Africa Unlimited’s expeditions, safaris and tours are for travellers who want to experience true African bush, bea...

   Arts & Crafts

Below is a list of arts and crafts outlets and projects on this route. Enquiries can be made directly with the business.

Greater Giyani Jewellery Project
This project started in 2004. Greater Giyani Jewellery manufacters the following quality products: Necklaces; Earin...

Khomisani Cultural Group
Khomisani Cultural Group offers a range of arts and crafts for sale. Visitors are welcome to visit and see their work on...

Ndengeza Xizambani Community Project
This business was started by a group of unemployed women and youth from the local community who wanted to bring change t...

Njombo Community Project
The Njombo Community Project started off with 15 unemployed women that do sewing and embroidery. They received trai...

Nyanyuka Mangulwani Traditional Dancers
This group started in 1984 with only dancing acts. Later they emerged to sewing traditional garments. This is an organis...

Pfunekani STC
Pfunekani is a local initiative that provides crafters an outlet at which to showcase their goods from. They offer a goo...

Afrikania Pottery
Afrikania is a pottery business based in Phalaborwa. The products they make are unique to the area as they only make use...


Below is a list of environmental attractions on this route. Booking and enquiries can be made directly with the business.

Dzhumeri Masonja Processing Centre
The aim of the Dzhumeri Masonja Processing Centre is to encourage and promote: Mashonja; Fish farming; Organic vege...

Edzisani Tourism Institution
Edzisani Tourism Institution's mission is to establish a self-sustaining, continuing education program to retain student...

Palabora Foundation
The Palabora Foundation was established in 1986 and has been operating in local communities since then. The foundation i...

   Food & Drink

Below is a list of restaurants and other food and beverage outlets on this route. Bookings and enquiries can be made directly with the establishment.

Amarula Lapa
The Amarula Lapa is situated approximately 10km outside Phalaborwa in Limpopo Province and is on the same premises as th...


Below is a list of services on this route. Enquiries can be made directly with the business.

Chayalala Traditional Healer
This traditional healer will demonstrate the throwing of bones and the interpretation behind the act. Visitors can learn...

Xibutahi Trading Enterprise
Xibutahi Trading Enterprise is a tour operator in Giyani.

Leka Gape Shelter
As a non-profit organisation, Leka Gape mostly cares about socially disadvantaged people in one of the poorest regions o...

Bollanoto Tourism Centre
This centre is able to provide tourists with information on a range of activities in and around Phalaborwa.

Giyani Tourism Information Centre
The centre provides information for tourist and visitors in the Greater Giyani District municipality assist in SMME deve...

Mathonsi - Cultural Dancer and Local Tour Guide
Mathonsi is a cultural dancer and musician who organises various cultural events in the Giyani region. There are various...

Namakgale Tourism Information Centre and Tour Operator
Namakgale Tourism Information Centre and Tour Operators came into being after Clive was inspired by the African Dream Pr...

One Love Travelling Agency
One Love Travelling Agency is a tourguiding agency that can arrange anything from accommodation bookings to car hire and...

Sure Turn Key Travel
Sure Turn Key Travel offers the following services: Airline reservations; Accommodation; Car hire; Tours; Destina...

Vaendzi Travelling Agency
Vaendzi Travelling Agency can arrange accommodation, flights and car rental.


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The word rixile means 'rising of the sun' or 'the dawn of day'. The route, situated in the Limpopo province of South Africa, meanders between the small town of Giyani and Phalaborwa, the only town with a gate into the Kruger National Park. Giyani lies at the heart of the Tsonga speaking region and culture is expressed through craft, music and dance. 

The Limpopo Province is rich in cultural history and there is much to do in this land of myths and legends. The game viewing is possibly the best in the country and it is one of the most renowned eco-tourism destinations in Southern Africa. The province’s impressive mountain scenery beckons hikers, climbers and bikers, while mystic cultural destinations intrigue both local and international tourists.

Phalaborwa is known as the town of two summers, with average temperatures of 23°C throughout the year. Tourism and wildlife play a dominant role in the life of this town. Tourists are never more than half an hour’s drive away from destinations such as game farms and lodges, game sanctuaries and nature reserves. The Gateway Airport in Phalaborwa receives daily scheduled flights from Johannesburg to Phalaborwa.

Reasons to visit:

These are ancient lands. Some of the oldest and most comprehensive remains (and evidence) of prehistoric human habitation can be found at the Makapans Caves near Mokopane. Further along the time scale you find the unique history of the Stone Age San. Today their culture exists largely as spirits in the form of immaculate rock artwork, archaeological relics and in the tradition of storytelling.

Baobabs, also referred to as the 'upside-down tree', are a distinctive feature of the province. According to local legend these trees were uprooted and cast back to Earth by angry gods.

There is an abundance of Marula/Maroela trees in the area. The Marula tree is a handsome, medium-sized tree of wooded savannah and belongs to the mango (Anacardiaceae) family. The abundant crop of fruit, high in vitamin C, is a source of jelly and jam as well as the basis for potent liquor. This has been commercialised in recent times as Amarula Cream - one of South Africa's most successful exports. Elephants are fanatical about the grey bark of Marulas and, when they occur at high densities, can eliminate entire communities of these valuable trees through destructive ring-barking.

A local delicacy worth trying when visiting the region is cooked or fried Mopane worms. The mopane worm is a large, edible caterpillar that forms the basis of a multi-million rand trade in the Limpopo Province and Southern Africa.

Cultural tours are becoming increasingly popular and a number of tour operators in the area offer visitors a unique glimpse of different cultures including traditional reading by sangomas (traditional healers), the opportunity to taste Mopani worms and drink traditional maroela beer and traditional tribal dance and music performances. The famous Phalaborwa Hans Merensky Golfing Estate is about one kilometre from the centre of town. The golf course is one of few in the world where wild animals roam the fairways.

The Man'ombe Nature Reserve is worth a visit and is also the site where the Venda chief, Man'ombe is buried. It is believed that on the top of the mountain there is a spring water fountain that never dries up. 

Baleni Sawutini is a traditional salt panning site located close to Giyani where you can still see how this ancient practice is being utilised today. At the Dzimbanyeka Mountains and Old Ruins, the royal kraal of the Va-Venda chiefs can be seen. The kraal, constructed completely out of rocks and caves that were previously inhabited by humans, can also be seen. 

Historical sites worth a visit in Giyani include the old library, the old parliament building, tribal prisons e.g. Makhuva and Hlaneki Prisons, Waterval Bridges and the Ngove Peace Pole.

Magoebaskloof Mountain Bike Classic

When:  7 November, 2015
Where:  Stanford Lake College, Waterberg, Capricorn, Vhembe, Mopani & Sekhukhune
Contact Person(s):  Steve Willson - Senior Adventure Facilitator
Tel:  +27 15 276 6130
Cell:  +27 82 637 3651
The Magoesbaskloof Mountain Bike Challenge came about after Gray Braadvedt and Rudi Viljoen sparked the brilliant idea of hosting a mountain biking event in the beautiful surrounding of the Limpopo province, an area spectacular with immaculate scenery and some of the most perfect bike trails within the country. Drawing in the community and opening up gateways to the local tourism and creating helpful benefits to local charities, the first event kicked off with great success. This year the event brings you that same fun and thrill seeking adventure that will lift your spirits in the wind and have you enjoying the sport that you love!

Miss Limpopo 2015 - Beauty Pagent 

When:  12 December, 2015
Where:  Meropa Casino, Waterberg, Capricorn, Vhembe, Mopani & Sekhukhune
Contact Person(s):  Matlakala Bopape - Miss Limpopo Trust Chair
Tel:  +27 15 291 4836

Spring Festival:

When:  19 - 27 September 2015
Where:  Haenertsburg Village, Cheerio Gardens & Magoebaskloof Hotel - Waterberg, Capricorn, Vhembe, Mopani & Sekhukhune
Contact Person(s):  Anne-Marie Brook / Linda Miller 
Cell:  +27 82 883 4449 (Anne-Marie) / +27 82 575 5738 (Linda)
Join us for our annual Spring Festival in Haenertsburg Village, Cheerio Gardens and the Magoebaskloof Hotel. A glorious experience in one of South Africa’s best kept secrets – Haenertsburg / Magoebaskloof.

*Information correct at the time of publication - prospective event participants are advised to contact the organisers for any possible updates.

Phalaborwa, meaning 'better than the South', owes its existence to the Ba-Phalaborwa people that started mining copper and iron ore deposits in the area hundreds of years ago. Part of their ancient workings has been traced to two 'koppies' (hills) just outside of Phalaborwa, Sealene and Kgopolwe, which have been declared National Monuments.

There is archaeological evidence that the Phalaborwa region was occupied by metalworking communities during at least two periods in the last 1200 years. Both phases of occupation (the 9th-13th and 17th-20th centuries) coincided with trade along the East Coast of Africa. There are approximately 53 metal working sites dotted around the Phalaborwa region.  

Metalworking sites in Phalaborwa:

The majority of the sites in Phalaborwa are associated with the syenite hills that stud the area. The settlement style of the metalworkers indicates a geographical separation of primary (ore smelting) and secondary (iron forging and copper smelting and forging) metalworking activities. The metalworkers and their families lived on terraces located on the hill slopes and level ground. Iron and copper smelting furnaces were located far from the living quarters. Iron forge furnaces, on which iron bloom was forged, were built close to where people lived. This pattern is consistent with an ideology in which smelting was practised with ritual and associated with many taboos. Smelting was done away from villages so that menopausal women could not attend or interfere with these activities. Medicinal holes in iron smelting furnaces and certain iron forge furnaces served as receptacles for 'medicine' such as human hand bones. Other possible 'medicines' included remains from aardvark, lions and neonatal sheep. Some of these medicines were used to appease the forefathers to ensure a successful smelt.

Geographical separation of smelters' working areas from residential areas may indicate that smelters were “married” to their furnaces during smelting periods and consequently abstained from sexual intercourse with women during times of iron and coppers smelting. The metalworking process was also regarded as a metaphor for human sexual intercourse, fertility and fecundity. Metalworking eventually became entrenched in the political, social, religious and other aspects of the lives of metalworkers.

The Masorini heritage site close to the Phalaborwa gate was also once inhabited by a group of the Ba-Phalaborwa people. These people made a living by manufacturing and selling iron artefacts during the Iron Age. The site has old shafts and stopes from which ore was extracted in the early days. Local legend has it that the iron was beaten into assegai heads and primitive hoes and used as a form of currency among the Ba-Phalaborwa tribes.

International interest in the 1950s resulted in the establishment of large-scale mining operations in the area. The town itself was established in 1957 after rich phosphate-bearing ore was discovered on the hill known as Loole Kop. Loole Kop has vanished under the onslaught of man and machine. All that remains is an open cast mine. The mine has become a unique tourist attraction as the big hole that was left behind has a diameter of just less than two kilometres. A visit to the view point and the mine museum is a must. The wealth of minerals in the area is attributed to a series of volcanic eruptions 2000-million years ago. The cone of the eruption has long since vanished but the pipe, an astonishing geological feature measuring 19 square kilometres, is still intact. The pipe is filled to an unknown depth with minerals such as phosphates, copper irconium, vermiculite, mica and gold. Although much has happened since, the original Ba-Phalaborwa people still live in the Greater Phalaborwa area. Many of their traditions and original way of life are still intact.

Gazankulu was the designated homeland of the Shangaan and Tsonga people in South Africa under the apartheid regime. It was divided over two territories west of the Kruger National Park, and its capital was at Giyani. It did not accept independence from South Africa, but was granted self-government in 1973. However, like the other nine homelands, the rest of the world did not accept it as a state, and since 1994 it has formed part of the Limpopo Province. 

The Shangaan (or Machangana) are descendents of the Nguni group, and specifically from the Ndwandwe group, which fled eastwards under the leadership of Soshangane in the wars that followed the death of Shaka Zulu's mother in 1827. Soshangane's forces conquered some of the Tsonga people of Mozambique, hence the duality of the name. The traditional Shangaan-Tsonga believes in a Supreme Being (Tilo, or Heaven) and in the presence of the spirits of the ancestors but, unusually, there is no actual ancestor-worship. They have a rich folklore and are noted for their stories, of which 200, together with 1 900 proverbs, have been recorded. 

The Shangaan and Tsonga people are fond of beadwork and fabric embroidered with beads became the customary dress of the women; other distinctive ornamentation was the pierced earlobe and the face tattoo. Some of these traditions, however, have been eroded by Western-style progress, but many aspects of traditional life still remain today. Dancing plays a prominent part in their culture and many traditional dancing groups still exist and perform in the area today. 

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Open Africa Routes

A route is a cluster of travel attractions, accommodation, tour operators, local artisans, guides and restaurants. It brings people together from all levels of community to promote travel to their area. You select what interests you on a route and create your own itinerary.

South Africa - Limpopo

South Africa - Limpopo

The route, situated in the Limpopo province of South Africa, meanders between the small town of Giyani and Phalaborwa, the only town with a gate into the Kruger National Park.

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Key Contacts

Wisani Sikhalela

Telephone: Click here
Mobile: Click here

Mark Glanvill

Telephone: Click here
Mobile: Click here


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