A unique wilderness area that has yet to be discovered fully.
THE needle of the compass shudders as it swivels resolutely south-west to the Waterberg Region – vast, peaceful, incredibly beautiful and more than three million years old. Situated in the magnificent Waterberg Mountain Range.
This region is a harsh but rewarding area of startling beauty, a beauty which lies in its superb vistas, mountain gorges, clear streams and rolling bushveld hills, all rich in indigenous species of plant and animal life – including the ‘Big Five’. This is an area where the heat is quenched, and aching muscles soothed by the mineral baths of the myriad hot spring resorts.
The Waterberg (‘Water Mountain’) is a unique wilderness area of South Africa yet to be fully discovered. One of the country’s lesser known geographical wonders and bluish in colour, the range supports a biome spanning over 15.000 km², offering breathtaking valleys far from the madding crowd of the bustling tourist centres.
If jumping out of an aeroplane at high altitude with a parachute is your thing, then skydiving is guaranteed to blow your hair back! Experience the freefall… fantastic panorama views guaranteed! Bookings must be made well in advance though.
Hot Air Ballooning
Experience the wonder of a lighter-than-air flight over the Lowveld game areas adjoining the Kruger National Park and experience ballooning at its best. Flights take place over Kapama Game Reserve and other lodges and reserves with suitable terrain, and the experienced pilots and guides ensure a safe, enjoyable and informative adventure over ‘Big Five’ country.
A microlight is a very light, usually single-seat, aircraft with either fixed or flexible wings. Various areas in Limpopo offer microlight flights, but the Mopani region is well known for its microlight flights over game areas.
Many of the parks and game reserves within the Limpopo Province, offer airstrips allowing visitors to travel by small aircrafts. Helicopter flips and rides are also available around the province.
Waterberg Biosphere Reserve
The Waterberg Biosphere Reserve was formally launched in 2001. It is one of some 400 UNESCO-registered biosphere reserves established around the world. It is the only “savanna” reserve of this type in southern Africa. Waterberg Biosphere Reserve is situated within the Bushveld. The Waterberg, as the name implies, serves as a water reservoir for this arid region. It is an area consisting of low mountain ranges and escarpments with poor soils and a relatively low level of economic activity.
A visit to Bela-Bela provides a unique and invigorating family holiday in the heart of the unspoilt Waterberg. Long before the mineral waters at Bela-Bela were used therapeutically, they were discovered by the Tswana in the 1800s and named Bela- Bela, meaning ‘the water that boils on its own’.
Africa’s Big Five
The Big Five occur in many of the game and nature reserves in Limpopo. Buffalo are the most abundant of the Big Five and occur in large herds that can number up to 600 animals.
Deceptively docile, these animals are powerful and aggressive – particularly old bulls ejected from the herd who form small bachelor herds. When alarmed, a herd also tends to stampede. Buffalo are regularly preyed upon by lions.
Limpopo (Phalaborwa) is also home to the famous Amarula Cream Liqueur. The Amarula Lapa is a promotional tasting and tourist visitor centre situated 10 km outside Phalaborwa. Amarula Cream, made from the fruit of the indigenous marula tree (also known as the ‘marriage tree’ or ‘elephant tree’), dates back to 1989 and has since grown into a world leader among liqueurs.
Nylsvley Nature Reserve
Nylsvley is one of the top birding spots in Southern Africa, with at least 365 species recorded. A Ramsar site is known for “the conservation and wise use of all wetlands through local and national actions and international cooperation, as a contribution towards achieving sustainable development throughout the world”.
Nylsvley is an internationally renowned RAMSAR site, Nylsvley was recognized as a Ramsar site in 1997. Nylsvley forms part of South Africa’s largest flood-plain, the 16,000-ha Nyl River Flood-plain that stretches over 70 km from Modimolle to Mokopane.
The Makapan Valley in Limpopo is the only cultural heritage site of its kind. It has a history of the Ndebele people and resistance wars dating back 151 years.
People in this area will be conscientised of the universal value of the site as they celebrate the history and prepare for the preservation challenges as communities.
Oppikoppi Music Festival
The first festival took place in 1994 and was orientated mainly towards Afrikaans rock music and attracted over 1000 music lovers.
Oppikoppi is a colloquial abbreviation of the Afrikaans phrase “op die koppie”, which literally means “on the hill”. The camping area is at the foot of a hill, on top of which is a bar and the Sipho Gumede stage.
This stage features all the hip hop and dance acts, while the main Oppikoppi stage features all of the big acts and most of the rock
PLACES TO VISIT
The Cave of Hearths
Visitors to Mokopane should not miss the opportunity of going on a guided tour of Makapan’s Valley where extensive cultural and palaeontological deposits have played a crucial role in furthering our understanding of later human evolution and the appearance of modern man. The Cave of Hearths is one of only two Stone Age sites in the world that contain an unbroken sequence of artefacts from the Earlier Stone Age to the Later Stone Age.
Thabazimbi, meaning ‘mountain of iron’ is the Tswana name for the town and refers to the highly lucrative iron ore reef first discovered here in 1919 and mined since the 1930s when iron and steel production started. The town was proclaimed in 1953 and today the ISCOR Steelworks in Tshwane still draw much of their raw material from Thabazimbi.
Thabazimbi is also good farming country, particularly for cattle-ranching and game-farming. Nature and eco-tourism activities are equally important, and the region is fast becoming a well-known and popular destination for nature-lovers.
Vaalwater is a small town situated on the Mokolo River in the Limpopo province of South Africa.t lies at the southern edge of the rugged Waterberg Massif, which is a biosphere that contains considerable biodiversity, including numerous large mammals including some of the “Big 5”. Hunting opportunities are particularly plentiful in the northern and north-western regions of the province which includes the Vaalwater region.
A stunning bushveld environment and multicultural community and history give Mokopane a unique character. The town and immediate surroundings boast fascinating ancient caves, the ‘Big Five’, San rock art, curios, typically bushveld food and drink such as biltong (dried meat) and mampoer (a traditional – and potent – African alcoholic beverage distilled from fruit), tropical gardens and traditional dancing.
Situated on the Mokolo River (a tributary of the Limpopo) about 60 km from the Botswana border and the Stockpoort border post, this tranquil but prosperous Waterberg town is home to close on 20,000 people, offering excellent game-viewing opportunities and sports tourism, among other activities. The town was started on the farm known as Waterkloof in 1960 and was named after the original owners of the farm. Lephalale is a hunting mecca and prime eco-tourism area drawing thousands of tourists each year.
Thomas Baines, well-known explorer, naturalist and painter, tells a fascinating story of how the Nyl River received its name. Known to the locals as Mokgalakwena (‘fierce crocodile’), the north-flowing river was mistakenly believed to be the Nile by a group of Voortrekkers known as the Jerusalemgangers (‘Jerusalem Travellers’), who arrived here in 1886.
The name of the Springbok Flats is a poignant reminder of the great herds that once populated the plain. The area was also frequented by lions. Right up until the 1930s, an occasional beast still hunted the thornbush, and stories were told of early travellers who vanished without a trace.
P.O. Box 721, Bela-Bela, 0480
Telephone: +27 (0) 14 736 4328
Fax: +27 (0) 14 736 6668