Self-drive trip into Limpopo, South Africa
Description of Self-drive trip into Limpopo, South Africa
This tailor made, 12 day self-drive trip takes you into Limpopo, one of South Africa's most beautiful, but least visited provinces. Here, you’ll discover diverse wildlife, dramatic scenery, a long history and a vibrant traditional arts scene. This is a place of seemingly endless savannahs, craggy mountains, wildlife reserves, wonderful accommodation and traditional villages.
Enjoy a wealth of different experiences on this trip, from spotting the Big Five in Welgevonden Game Reserve (which is also malaria free) to enjoying the sandstone landscapes, ancient baobab trees and herds of African wildlife in Mapungubwe National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. While at Mapungubwe, you can also see ancient rock paintings made by San bushmen and climb to the confluence viewpoint alongside the Limpopo River to see where South Africa, Botswana and Zimbabwe meet. Learn about the Venda and Tsonga traditions and lifestyles while staying in the Soutpansberg Mountains and at Leshiba Wilderness, stay in the remarkable Venda Village Lodge, a unique place full of sculpture and artworks, created with acclaimed Venda artist, Noria Mabasa.
This is a wonderful tour through the fascinating Limpopo region, with drive times of no more than four hours and frequently much less, and several days spent at each of the four unique accommodations, so you have time to relax and explore.
PlanetAt the first lodge, guests are encouraged to buy a young tree and plant it in the reserve therewith contributing to making the area "greener". For every tree sold, the lodge will plant an extra tree.
The final lodge is located in a rural part of Limpopo Province on top of a mountain. With no Eskom power, relatively low rainfall and logistical problems transporting goods up and down the mountain, a decision was taken in 1993 to find a way to ensure it’s long-term sustainable development. In other words, develop a modern form of “farming”, unlike that which characterizes the surrounding area. Currently, there are over 50 solar panels for lighting and power as well as three solar boreholes; bricks are produced on site and there is an established organic garden for fresh produce.
Having identified the lodge’s main asset as its amazing bio diversity of flora and fauna, a unique farming opportunity presented itself to research and develop the potential of the medicinal and aromatic plant types that occur here.
Fresh vegetables are supplied to the local staff, their extended families, which is is ongoing which helped establish a Permaculture garden, an indigenous tree nursery and organic food growing and skills – training centre, the eductae local people in organic food growing. Innovative new ideas such as vermiculture, harvesting of rainwater, recycling of grey water systems etc, have all been included in the design. The on-site Indigenous Knowledge skills training centre provides an essential base for skills development of personnel, research and development.
The lodge also has over 380 indigenous tree species and includes a high number of medicinal plant species. Warburgia salutaris, (the Pepperbark), which occurs at the lodge, is one of the main trees being investigated for the treatment of HIV and Aids. The name 'salutaris' refers to 'saluting your health'. It has been developed as a treatment for oral thrush and it is also an immune booster known to work on gastric, chest and blood problems.
Lippia javanica (Fever tea) also grows prolifically at the lodge. This plant is a natural insecticide and is being used in malaria prevention. Candles are produced using the oil extracted from this plant and these candles are being sold commercially.
Regular Permaculture workshops are run to train staff and members of the local community in order to expand on this practice.
The lodge also utilizes rhino, giraffe, zebra and impala dung for the making of recycled paper produced by Handcrafted Paper. They run a veld management program, stopping bush encroachment, clearing large tracts of land and encouraging grass growth to sustain the rhino and horse breeding projects.
As part of their farming practices, they also run a controlled burning project to stimulate new grass species and keep the land open for grazing.
PeopleOne of the lodges used is strongly committed to sustainable tourism and it has qualified for Fair Trade in Tourism South Africa (FTT) which was awarded to them in November of 2009. Fair Trade Tourism encourages and publicizes fair and responsible business practice by South African tourism establishments.
They do this by offering a certification programme (and supporting activities) that endorses tourism establishments that meet stringent criteria, including fair wages and working conditions, fair operations, purchasing and distribution of benefits, ethical business practice and respect for human rights, culture and the environment.
Anothe lodge has established a strong commitment to support the development of Arts and Crafts in Northern Limpopo and to preserve and protect cultural heritage and indigenous knowledge. They directly support about 25 artists and crafters with product development, production processes, business development and marketing. Products of Venda, Tsonga and Northern Limpopo individual artists and crafters and craft groups are for sale in the local Craft Art shop amongst other places and are now starting to spread across South Africa.