The Limpopo province is the fifth-largest province in South Africa. It offers wildlife reserves, scenic landscapes, ancient forests and mineral springs, fascinating cultural heritage and bushveld with an abundance of wildlife. There are many tourist attractions in Limpopo, learn more about them here!
Learn more about the Limpopo province.
36 of The Most Exciting Tourist Attractions in Limpopo
Whether visitors are interested in museums, history, cultural or natural attractions, there are many things to do in Limpopo. The map below shows most of the attractions in Limpopo mentioned in this article:
- 36 of The Most Exciting Tourist Attractions in Limpopo
- Kruger National Park
- Makapansgat Valley
- Modjadji Cycad Reserve
- Marakele National Park
- The Rhino Museum
- Polokwane Game Reserve
- Mapungubwe National Park
- The Baobabs
- The Waterberg Biosphere
- Lake Fundudzi and the Thathe Vondo forest
- The Debegeni Waterfall
- Nylsvley Nature Reserve
- The Ivory Route
- Visit Haenertsburg
- Spending Time with Elephants
- The Venda Art Route
- White Lions
- Polokwane Museum
- Bakone Malapa Museum
- Polokwane Art Museum
- Mogalakwena Craft Village: A Cultural Attraction in Limpopo
- Arend Dieperink Museum
- Tsonga Kraal Museum
- Letaba Elephant Museum
- The Woodbush State Forest
- Cyril Jackson Observatory
- The McNeil Clivia Collection
- Nyani Tribal Village
- Swadini Reptile Park
- The Hugh Exton Photographic Museum
- Water Sports on The Limpopo River
- Attractions in Limpopo: Hunting
- The Moholoholo Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre
- The Hot Mineral Springs of Bela-Bela
- Mystic Monkeys and Feathers
- Where to stay in Limpopo
Kruger National Park
The Kruger National Park is South Africa’s most prominent and best-known national park and game reserve. The northern part of the Kruger National Park is in the Limpopo province. Both local and foreign visitors love visiting the park for its wildlife, including the Big 5 and over 500 species of birds.
The Makapansgat Valley is a world heritage site that offers the most complete and extended record of hominid occupation. Visitors can find limestone caves and diverse plant and animal life here. The lime works are 3.32 million years old. The Valley also has many ancient mammal remains and fossils providing evidence of an early human-like primate ancestor, dating back to the Osteodontokeratic Culture, the time before they made stone tools from teeth, horns and bones.
The ga-a-washa cave, or historic cave, demonstrates the battle between the Boere and the Langa and Kekana people. Chief Mugombane, his tribe, and cattle stayed in this cave for over a month. Many died from hunger and thirst. During this battle, they shot Piet Potgieter. The Cave of Hearths & Hyena shows a complete record of human habitation from the Early, Middle and Later stone ages up to the iron age. Some relics found during excavations include brass and musket balls. The Buffalo Cave had many fossils of ancient and extinct buffalos, pigs, monkeys, horses, antelopes, and other carnivores. The Rainbow Cave, below the historic cave, displayed signs of human occupancy and early occupants’ controlled use of fire.
Modjadji Cycad Reserve
Another of the Limpopo attractions is the Modjadji Cycad Reserve, which offers 560 hectares of wild forests with more than 12 000 cycads. Some cycads have reached a height of 13 metres and have cones weighing 34 kg. The Forest is the home of the Rain Queen, Modjadji.
Visitors can see one of the world’s largest collections of rare and endemic Modjadji cycad when they hike through the reserve. The Rain Queen protects these cycads since they are billions of years old.
The Modjadji are descendants of Monomotapa, who ruled the Karanga people of Zimbabwe in the 15th century. After a royal scandal, Monomotapa’s daughter, Princess Dzugugnini, flew with her son to southern Africa. She took secret recipes for potions to make rain with her. These powers pass on through each generation.
The last rain queen, Queen Makobo, died in 2005 of Aids. Queen Makobo was the sixth Rain Queen. Although she had a daughter, her father was a “commoner”. The community does not recognise her as the heiress to the crown.
Marakele National Park
Although not as well-known as the Kruger National Park, the Marakele National Park in the Waterberg Mountains is another Limpopo attraction worth visiting. It offers a similar bushveld experience as the Kruger Park and access to the Big 5, but visitors can also see the world’s largest colony of Cape Vultures at the Kransberg Mountain. The bird life here is terrific; visitors can see the Verreaux and Wahlberg eagles. Consider visiting the unfenced Bontle campsite and trying the three-day eco 4×4 trail at the top of the mountains.
The Rhino Museum
The Rhino Museum is the only museum in the world dedicated to rhinos. Clive Walker established the museum to tell the story of the evolution of the rhino, which has roamed the earth for over 30 million years. The Rhino Museum wants to raise awareness of rhinos and the challenges that may lead to them becoming extinct. The museum is in Vaal Water in the Waterberg region.
Polokwane Game Reserve
The Polokwane Game Reserve is one of South Africa’s largest municipally-owned game reserves. What differentiates it from other game reserves is that you can cover most of it on foot. There are multiple hiking trails in the reserve.
Visitors can view the white rhino and over 21 species of other animals in the reserve. The reserve also protects the Pietersburg Plateau false grassland, one of the few remaining examples of a highly localised vegetation type that houses indigenous birds.
Mapungubwe National Park
Visitors can find the Mapungubwe National Park in Northern Limpopo. It offers one of the most important sites of Iron Age ruins and is a World Heritage Site. The site is at the meeting point of the Limpopo and Shashe Rivers meet, near the borders of Zimbabwe and Botswana. Between 900 and 1300 AD, the area on Mapungubwe Hill represented the most prominent kingdom on the sub-continent, which became abandoned in the 14th century.
Visitors can see some preserved remains in the Mapungubwe National Park, a UNESCO Cultural Landscape. Some of the famous artefacts uncovered here include the famous gold rhino (now at the University of Pretoria) and a bowl dating back to 1200 AD.
Visitors can view game in the park, including elephants, white rhinos and buffalo. Visitors can also tour the Mapungubwe Cultural Landscape and the Mapungubwe museum to learn more about the area’s history and view the remaining artefacts, such as San rock paintings and fossiled dinosaur footprints.
These trees are giant “upside-down trees”, with their branches looking more like roots. Visitors can find them north of the Soutpansberg mountains in the Limpopo province. These trees store water, and many animals, such as elephants and eland, chew their bark during the dry seasons to access water. Their flowers bloom at night, and bats pollinate the flowers.
The largest recorded baobab tree is the Sunland Baobab in the Modjadjiskloof on a farm called Sunland. It has a height of 22 metres and a diameter of 47 metres. Carbon dating estimated the age of the Sunland Baobab tree as approximately 1060 years. There is a unique pub, the Big Baobab Tree Bar and Wine Cellar, inside the tree.
The Waterberg Biosphere
The Waterberg Biosphere is southern Africa’s first savanna biosphere reserve. It covers 15 000 square kilometres. The Waterberg Biosphere’s name is from the many waterfalls, streams, fountains and rivers that flow from the area’s mountains, including the Moepel, Swaershoek, Hoekberg and Sand River mountain ranges.
The Waterberg Biosphere has archaeological evidence of the Stone Age but has some of the most beautiful savannah scenery in South Africa. It is one of South Africa’s most successful conservation projects and offers a stunning malaria-free area from where visitors can watch wildlife. There are several game reserves in the Biosphere, including Marakele, Lapalala, Keta, Kwalata and Welgevonden.
Lake Fundudzi and the Thathe Vondo forest
Lake Fundudzi is one of the few actual inland lakes in South Africa, and the Thathe Vondo forest surrounds it. It is a sacred place for the People of the pool or the Vhatatsindi (the Venda people). When the lake is full, it is 5 km by 3km. An ancient landslide created the lake by blocking the Matula River. The local people protect Lake Fundudzi, and visitors can only visit when visitors receive permission.
When visiting Lake Fundudzi, the local tradition is to turn your back on the lake and look only at it from between your legs.
People often call Magoebaskloof the Land of the Silver Mist. Magoebaskloof comprises a dense forest area in the Northern Drakensberg. It is a hiking and birding paradise with eucalyptus and pine plantations, Afro-montane forests and green valleys. Visitors can find the largest remaining section of an indigenous montane forest here and visit the Debengeni Falls.
A must-drive route is the Magoebaskloof Pass, which connects Tzaneen and Haenersburg, and has many S-bends and hairpin corners. While driving the pass, visitors may find it full of fog or mist as it ascends to Magoesbaskloof.
The Debegeni Waterfall
Visitors can find the Debengeni Waterfalls in Magoebaskloof, just outside Tzaneen. The waterfall is beautiful and cascades over rocks. It is an excellent spot to picnic or braai under the giant trees. Visitors can also swim in the icy cold water to cool down on a hot summer’s day.
Nylsvley Nature Reserve
The Nylsvley Reserve is an internationally renowned Ramsar site. The reserve is 4 000 hectares big and features the Nyl River floodplain. The Nyl River floodplain is South Africa’s largest floodplain, with a length of 70 km, between Modimolle and Mokopane. The best time to visit the floodplain is in summer, when it is the flood season, although flooding does not always occur. When there is a flood, over 80 000 birds of 370 species create their homes in the wetland. There is at least one bird hide in the Nature Reserve at Vogelfontein.
The Ivory Route
The Ivory Route is over 2000 kilometres long and follows the Limpopo River in an arc. It connects the land area with the Indian ocean. The route follows the migration route of elephants and used to be an important trade route.
Visitors can do 4×4 driving here with many dust eddies, paths and hidden tracks to make the experience memorable.
Haenertsburg is a quaint village perched on the edge of an escarpment in Limpopo. They established it during the gold rush. It is perfect for winding down and enjoying the rolling grasslands and mountainous areas. A fun thing to do is visit the Cheerio gardens and market in Haenertsburg. The cheerio gardens have hundreds of Japanese flowering cherry trees.
Spending Time with Elephants
The Limpopo province offers several places where visitors can interact with African elephants. Visitors can learn about elephants’ family structures, hierarchical structures and feeding patterns while spending time with them. Visitors can also do an elephant-back or horse-back safaris to view wildlife from the back of an elephant or horse.
The Venda Art Route
The indigenous people of Limpopo are the Venda people, who are known for their creativity and beautiful arts and crafts. The Venda Art route, also called the Venda Bender trail, is a self-drive route taking visitors through the main Venda area. While driving the route, visitors can stop to meet artists, visit their workshops and learn about their inspiration.
It is unusual to see the African White Lion. The Limpopo province offers several conservation centres in the Waterberg area where visitors can see white lions. Visitors can learn about the reasons for the white colour of the lions and the history of these lions.
Moschke, a German immigrant, built the Polokwane Museum in 1906. He sold the museum to Mr JA Jones in 1920. Mr Jones names the museum the ‘Irish House’.
The building is in a Late Victorian style and became a museum in 1986. It features art from sculptors and artists like Danie de Jager, Hennie Potgieter, John Baloyi, Nara Mabasa and Jackson Hlungwane.
Bakone Malapa Museum
Another cultural attraction in Limpopo is the Bakone Malapa Museum. The museum’s name consists of Bakone (the name of a local ethnic group) and Malapa (homestead). The focus of this museum is on the traditional life of the Northern Sotho people. The museum links to an archaeological site with stone walls from the 17th century. At the museum, visitors can learn and see demonstrations of Northern Sotho cultural traditions, such as thatching, pottery, skin work and hut building. There is a small shop selling souvenirs.
Polokwane Art Museum
Visitors can find this modern art museum in the Library Gardens Complex. During the peak season, from August to December, visitors can experience a range of exhibitions. Annually in August, the Polokwane Art Museum displays the work of Limpopo artists. This museum has over 1200 pieces of art and is one of the most extensive municipal art collections in South Africa. The museum has outdoor features, including the Industrial Art Park and the Bronze and Steel sculptures all over Polokwane, with the main display in the City Plaza.
Mogalakwena Craft Village: A Cultural Attraction in Limpopo
Another cultural attraction in Limpopo is the Mogalakwena Craft Art Development Foundation. It started in 1994 to create work opportunities, promote traditional arts and crafts and promote the restoration of craft art skills. The organisation provides training in skills like sewing, cement work, candle making, beadwork and embroidery.
The Village has a renovated farmhouse housing The Artist’s Retreat, the Writer’s Cottage, a Manager’s House, Garden Studio, vegetable garden, a primary health support centre and a training development centre.
Arend Dieperink Museum
The Arend Dieperink museum covers the history of Vredenburg (previous names: Pieter Potgietersrus, Potgietersrus), now called Mokopane and the surrounding areas. It also houses valuable artefacts, including a replica of a traditional bushveld house used by white South African farmers and dinosaur fossil materials. The building that houses the museum was originally a school. Visitors can view Piet Potgieter’s grave here.
Tsonga Kraal Museum
The Tsonga Kraal Museum, also called the Tsonga Open-Air Museum, is located in the Hans Merensky Nature Reserve. This is one of the best cultural attractions in Limpopo and shows the cultural products and buildings of the North Tsonga tribes. Visitors can see the traditional homestead of a Chief with his eight wives, which formed the focal point of a kraal. The tribe built the huts using traditional materials, such as Mopane poles and clay from anthills. The huts were arranged in a pattern, but some variations occurred.
Letaba Elephant Museum
Another Limpopo attraction is the Letaba Elephant Museum in the Kruger National Park at the Letaba camp. This museum features a life-size elephant statue, a full-sized elephant skeleton, and elephant tusks from the Kruger National Park’s most extraordinary elephants. The museum’s displays show how elephants have evolved as a species. Visitors can find large murals and even elephant embryos in the museum.
The Woodbush State Forest
The Woodbush State Forest is Limpopo’s largest indigenous Forest. Within the Forest, visitors can find some of the tallest trees on the African (over 80 metres). These trees are the tallest group of cultivated eucalyptus in the southern hemisphere. Visitors can visit the Alexander O’Connor Memorial, a former District Officer for the Forest, Alexander O’Conner.
Cyril Jackson Observatory
One of the unexpected attractions in Limpopo is the Cyril Jackson Observatory. Cyril Jackson built a small stone building near the Haenertsburg Village in 1955. While there, he made several discoveries, which resulted in him becoming one of South Africa’s leading astronomers. He discovered over 72 asteroids and three comets named after him.
The McNeil Clivia Collection
Gorden McNeil started collecting clivias in 1962 when he bought some from G.I.Blackbeard of Grahamstown in the Eastern Cape. He planted them in a shaded area of the Lekgalameetse Nature Reserve in the wild Drakensberg Escarpment.
The McNeil Clivia collection is one of the best-known collections in South Africa. It is a wild garden with a small stream with shade from immense indigenous trees. The clivias bloom annually from the end of August to the beginning of October.
Nyani Tribal Village
One of the best cultural attractions in Limpopo is the Nyani Tribal Village. Visitors can learn about the history and culture of African tribes at the Nyani Cultural Village. Visitors start their experience in a boma theatre by watching a show called “Limpopo Pathways” with the costumes, dances and songs of the Shona, Venda, San (Bushmen), the Tsonga, the Balobedu (Modjadji the Rain Queen), BaHananawa (Tswana) and the Pedi. The show includes dances from the Swati and Zulu tribes because they influenced the history of the Limpopo province.
Swadini Reptile Park
One of the many animal attractions in Limpopo is the Swadini Reptile Park. The Park has daily demonstrations featuring indigenous and exotic snakes, crocodiles and other reptiles. Visitors can take their pictures with a boa and refresh themselves in the tea garden while watching spider monkeys play.
The Hugh Exton Photographic Museum
The Hugh Exton Photographic Museum is in a Dutch Reformed church in Polokwane. The collection features over 23 000 cultural and historic photos by Hugh Exton. The photos cover a variety of topics, including the birth and growth of Polokwane, industries, clothing, famous town residents and architecture. Hugh Exton took these photos from 1890 to 1945.
Water Sports on The Limpopo River
Visitors can participate in various water sports on the Limpopo River, such as canoeing and fishing.
Attractions in Limpopo: Hunting
Visitors can take part in seasonal hunting expeditions when game farms cull the animal population.
The Moholoholo Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre
One of the must-do attractions in Limpopo is the Moholoholo Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre near the Kruger National Park. They established the centre in 1991. It cares for various injured, abandoned, or poisoned wildlife and birds. It is also a globally renowned wildlife education centre. Visitors can see animals, such as Wild Dogs, Honey Badgers, Serval, Leopard and Lynx and birds, such as eagles and vultures. Visitors may touch a cheetah or feed an eagle. After rehabilitating the animals and birds, the centre returns them to the wild.
The Hot Mineral Springs of Bela-Bela
Bela-Bela is a popular health and holiday resort town. Bela-Bela is a Northern-Sotho name meaning “Boiling-Boiling”. This name fits the town since they discovered hot water springs in the 1800s. The town’s previous name was Warmbaths or Warmbad.
The hot mineral springs are one of the most popular natural attractions in Limpopo. The springs bubble approximately 22 000 litres per hour with a temperature of around 53° C. The water is rich in calcium carbonate, sodium chloride and other salts that have healing properties.
Mystic Monkeys and Feathers
Visitors can visit the Mystic Monkeys and Feathers to see over 38 species of monkeys and many exotic birds, including the Angolan black and white Colobus and the Bearded Saki. They also have cheetahs, tigers and white lions. There are also fennec foxes and black spider monkeys.
Where to stay in Limpopo
Polokwane is a central location from where visitors can explore all the attractions in Limpopo. Here are some options: