Welcome to the captivating Capricorn region, nestled in the heart of the Limpopo Province. This remarkable destination showcases a breathtaking blend of diverse landscapes, including expansive grassy plains, lush bushveld, mist-covered mountains, extraordinary geological formations, and a plethora of plant and animal life, creating an unparalleled experience for nature enthusiasts and adventure seekers alike.
At the heart of the Capricorn region lies its renowned bushveld, stretching from the Ysterberg along the lower reaches of the Wolkberg Mountains to the tropic of Capricorn in the north. This distinct name is derived from a geographical landmark along the N1, just north of Polokwane, the major city of the Capricorn region. Immerse yourself in this natural wonderland, where cultural villages, game reserves, dense forests, picturesque dams, and captivating San art await your exploration.
Did you know that the Capricorn Region of Limpopo offers a harmonious blend of serene mists, flourishing vegetation, hidden afromontane forests, enchanting kloofs, rolling grasslands, and undulating mountain slopes? Whether you seek moments of tranquility or exhilarating adventures, this region caters to your desires.
History and culture thrive in the Capricorn region, evident through its array of archaeological and historical sites, significant Voortrekker heritage, ancient fossils, preserved bones, and remarkable artifacts. Visitors are drawn to this land for the thrilling hiking trails, exhilarating game viewing opportunities, and unforgettable 4×4 adventure safaris, where the spirit of exploration comes alive.
The African Ivory Route, once associated with the legendary exploitation of elephants and their ivory, has transformed into a series of semi-permanent tent camps scattered throughout the Capricorn region, with active participation from local communities. This remarkable route extends beyond, traversing a rough 1500 km path along Limpopo’s Golden Horseshoe, characterized by vast plains of bushveld, majestic mountains, and captivating wildlife.
Your journey through the Capricorn region is filled with endless possibilities. Polokwane, the bustling commercial hub, awaits your exploration. This charming city boasts wide jacaranda-lined streets adorned with fine examples of historical architecture. Be sure to visit the center of town, where regular art exhibitions showcase the region’s vibrant creativity.
As you venture further, discover the hidden gem of Haenertsburg, nestled on the slopes of the Wolkberg and Drakensberg mountains. This idyllic hamlet is a perfect stopover en route to the world-renowned Kruger National Park. Marvel at its natural beauty, enjoy its warm hospitality, and explore its charming streets.
Just a short distance away, the town of Mokopane (formerly known as Potgietersrus) invites you to delve into its rich Voortrekker history. Uncover the stories of the early pioneers and immerse yourself in the captivating tales that shaped this extraordinary region.
Popular Activities and tourist attractions in and near the Capricorn region
The Capricorn region in Limpopo offers a myriad of activities, tourist attractions, and points of interest that will captivate every traveler. From thrilling wildlife encounters to cultural experiences and breathtaking natural wonders, this region has it all.
Game Reserves and Safaris
Explore the vast wilderness of the Capricorn region through exhilarating game drives and guided safaris. Mabalingwe Nature Reserve, Entabeni Game Reserve, and Lapalala Wilderness Reserve are just a few of the reserves where you can spot the Big Five and other fascinating wildlife species.
Modjadji Cycad Reserve
Discover the ancient cycads in the Modjadji Cycad Reserve, known as the largest concentration of a single cycad species in the world. These unique plants, often referred to as “living fossils,” have cultural significance and offer a stunning sight amidst the lush greenery.
Venture into the magnificent Blouberg Mountains, where hiking trails lead you through rugged landscapes and scenic viewpoints. Take on the challenge of conquering the Blouberg Peak, offering panoramic vistas that stretch as far as the eye can see.
Step back in time at the Makapansgat Caves, renowned for their archaeological and paleontological significance. These limestone caves preserve evidence of early human occupation and fossils of extinct animals, providing a window into the region’s ancient history.
Polokwane Art Museum
Immerse yourself in the vibrant arts scene of Polokwane by visiting the Polokwane Art Museum. This cultural hub showcases an impressive collection of contemporary and traditional South African art, offering insight into the local artistic expression.
Experience the rich heritage and traditions of the local communities by visiting cultural villages in the Capricorn region. The Bakone Malapa Open-Air Museum and Kiba Cultural Village provide immersive experiences where you can learn about traditional customs, music, and crafts.
Wolwekrans Eco Lodge
For a unique eco-tourism experience, head to Wolwekrans Eco Lodge. This tranquil retreat nestled in the scenic mountains offers activities such as birdwatching, hiking, and rock climbing. Relax in eco-friendly accommodations while immersing yourself in nature’s embrace.
Polokwane Bird and Reptile Park
Discover a diverse array of bird species and reptiles at the Polokwane Bird and Reptile Park. Walkthrough aviaries and reptile enclosures allow you to observe and learn about these fascinating creatures up close.
Zebediela Citrus Estate
Indulge in a sensory delight at the Zebediela Citrus Estate, one of the largest citrus estates in the southern hemisphere. Take a guided tour to learn about citrus cultivation, taste fresh fruits, and enjoy scenic views of the expansive orchards.
Kruger National Park
While not directly in the Capricorn region, the world-renowned Kruger National Park is within easy reach. Embark on a safari adventure in this iconic park, where you can spot an abundance of wildlife, including elephants, lions, leopards, rhinos, and buffalo.
From thrilling encounters with wildlife to immersing yourself in the rich culture and exploring the region’s natural wonders, the Capricorn region in Limpopo promises an unforgettable journey of exploration. Prepare to be enchanted by its diverse offerings and create lasting memories in this captivating destination.
Popular Destinations in The Capricorn Region
When visiting the captivating Capricorn Region in Limpopo, Magoebaskloof stands out as a must-visit destination. This picturesque area offers enchanting accommodation options with stunning views and close proximity to the majestic Drakensberg Mountains, providing visitors with a unique perspective of this remarkable part of South Africa.
Nestled at the foot of the northern tip of the Drakensberg range, Magoebaskloof is located approximately 58 kilometers from Polokwane. Renowned for its breathtaking landscapes, this region is a haven for hikers and nature lovers. Dramatic scenery and expansive afromontane forests, among the most extensive in South Africa, dominate the landscape. Misty mornings, melodic bird calls, and towering mountain peaks create a symphony of natural beauty, while vibrant gardens throughout the district come alive in spring, filling the air with the fragrant scents and vivid colors of azaleas, orchids, citrus trees, cherry blossoms, and jacarandas.
Indulging in the local tropical fruits, such as mangoes, bananas, and avocado pears, is an absolute must. Magoebaskloof is home to some of the most splendid tea plantations, and a visit to Sapekoe’s Middelkop Tea Estate, conveniently located next to the R71, is highly recommended. Immerse yourself in the beauty of the Pekoe View Tea Garden while enjoying a cup of tea and savoring the breathtaking views.
For avid hikers, the Magoebaskloof hiking trail presents an exciting adventure. This 50-kilometer circular trail takes you on a journey through extensive indigenous forests, sparkling mountain streams, and fragrant pine plantations. With options ranging from two to five days, you can tailor your hike to suit your preferences. Along the trail, prepare to be mesmerized by awe-inspiring scenery, encounter remarkable natural wonders like the ‘huilklip’ (a rock that emits a resonant sound when struck), and spot fascinating wildlife such as samango monkeys, bushbuck, bush pigs, and an impressive array of bird species, particularly in the Grootbosch forest.
Nature enthusiasts and birdwatchers will find two forest areas in the Magoebaskloof region particularly captivating. The vast Woodbush forest, known as one of the best birding spots in the country and a haven for the elusive black-fronted bush shrike, promises incredible sightings. The smaller Swartbos forest also offers unique birdwatching opportunities. If you happen to be in the area during spring, don’t miss the delightful festival featuring an arts and crafts market, adding a vibrant touch to your visit.
Magoebaskloof in the Capricorn Region beckons you with its idyllic landscapes, captivating hiking trails, lush tea plantations, and vibrant festivals. Immerse yourself in the natural wonders and cultural richness of this remarkable destination, and create cherished memories that will last a lifetime.
Nestled at the foot of the escarpment in Limpopo lies a charming town formerly known as Duiwelskloof or Devil’s Gorge. Today, the town has been renamed Modjadjiskloof, paying homage to the Rain Queen, Modjadji, who holds a mystical place in the traditions of the Balobedu people residing in this captivating, densely wooded region. The tranquil forest drives that wind through the area hint at the mysticism and allure that surround the legendary Rain Queen.
The Balobedu people have a unique matrilineal succession system, where the eldest daughter of the Rain Queen automatically assumes the mantle of leadership. Endowed with special powers, the Rain Queen possesses the ability to control clouds and rainfall. Currently, there is no reigning queen as the former queen, Makobo Modjadji VI, passed away at the young age of 27 in 2005, leaving no heir to the throne. According to tradition, the queen communicates with her people through male councillors and indunas, relinquishing any public appearances and forgoing marriage. Instead, she bears children with her close relatives and is cared for by her “wives” who come from various villages in Ga-Modjadji. Prior to her death, she appoints her eldest daughter as her successor before taking poison.
One of the most popular tourist attractions in Modjadjiskloof is the Modjadji royal palace. Located in close proximity to the Royal Modjadji Nature Reserve, this palace offers visitors a glimpse into the rich cultural heritage of the Balobedu people. The nature reserve itself is a true gem, boasting some of the world’s oldest and largest cycad specimens within its unique natural forest.
The reserve’s allure extends beyond the impressive height of the cycads, which can reach up to 13 meters, and the weighty cones that can tip the scales at 34 kilograms. The mist that often blankets the area adds an ethereal touch, creating an atmosphere of otherworldliness. Exploring the reserve feels like stepping into a magical realm, where ancient plants thrive amidst the misty ambiance.
Modjadjiskloof in the Capricorn Region invites you to immerse yourself in its enchanting atmosphere. Delve into the captivating history and traditions of the Balobedu people, visit the Modjadji royal palace, and wander through the mystical landscapes of the Royal Modjadji Nature Reserve. Prepare to be captivated by the beauty, legends, and natural wonders that abound in this extraordinary part of South Africa.
Nestled in the heart of the Waterberg, about two hours northeast of Pretoria and not far from Polokwane, lies the town of Mokopane, formerly known as Potgietersrus. This vibrant destination offers a rich tapestry of history, natural wonders, and exciting attractions for visitors to explore.
For many years, Mokopane, affectionately known as Potties by both the local black and white communities, served as a vital farming support town. It played a pivotal role in supporting one of the country’s most prosperous farming communities, where farms flourished with bountiful yields of mealies, tobacco, wheat, and cattle. The town experienced a period of prosperity with the presence of a significant tobacco co-op and a general co-op. However, its fortunes were largely dependent on consistent rainfall, which sustained agricultural success.
The droughts of the 1970s posed significant challenges to Mokopane. With no local dams to support farmers and declining water tables rendering boreholes impractical, farming became less profitable. Furthermore, the removal of tax concessions and subsidies, coupled with the deregulation of the international agricultural market, made it increasingly difficult for farmers to compete globally. As a result, many farms shifted their focus from traditional crops to game farming. Today, tourism plays a vital role in Mokopane’s economy, attracting visitors to its diverse range of attractions.
One of the notable highlights in Mokopane is the Makapansgat Caves, a designated World Heritage Site. These caves bear witness to a tumultuous past. During a brutal raid in 1854 by the Voortrekkers who settled in the area, the local tribe sought refuge in the caves, enduring a 30-day siege that resulted in the tragic loss of two thousand lives due to starvation. Despite its somber history, the caves hold immense archaeological significance. They have revealed remnants dating back over three million years, including evidence of controlled fires and the remains of Australopithecus africanus, an ancestor of modern humans.
Mokopane boasts a diverse array of attractions that cater to different interests. The annual Kierieklapper festival is a lively celebration that showcases the local culture and heritage. The Arend Dieperink Museum provides a fascinating insight into the town’s history and offers a collection of artifacts and exhibits. Nature enthusiasts can explore the scenic Doorndraaidam Nature Reserve, home to abundant wildlife and offering opportunities for outdoor activities such as hiking and birdwatching. The Mokopane Biodiversity Conservation Centre is a must-visit for those interested in the region’s unique flora and fauna. Additionally, visitors can embark on thrilling Big Five game viewing experiences and discover captivating San rock paintings that provide a glimpse into the area’s ancient cultural heritage.
Mokopane beckons travelers to immerse themselves in its captivating blend of history, natural wonders, and vibrant attractions. Delve into the town’s past, marvel at the ancient caves, explore the rich biodiversity, and partake in the festivities that make Mokopane a truly remarkable destination in the heart of the Waterberg.
Whether you seek luxurious lodges or budget-friendly accommodations, Tzaneen offers a wide variety of options for tourists exploring South Africa. Described as an alluring subtropical garden town, Tzaneen is the second largest town in the Mopani district of Limpopo. It is nestled at the foot of the majestic Wolkberg Mountains, situated in the northern expanse of the Drakensberg range.
The magnificent Wolkberg Mountains provide a breathtaking backdrop to the town, which is renowned for its thriving subtropical vegetation. Tzaneen is a veritable haven for the cultivation of avocados, nuts, citrus fruits, mangoes, bananas, litchis, coffee, tea, and cotton. The abundance of these crops contributes to the region’s vibrant agricultural landscape.
Beyond its own allure, Tzaneen serves as an ideal base for exploring the wider region, particularly the nearby Magoebaskloof. What sets Tzaneen apart is the ever-changing scenery that captivates visitors. Lush vegetation, sprawling plantations, majestic mountains, and the presence of one of the world’s largest baobab trees (located at the Sunland Nursery between Duiwelskloof and Ga-Kgapane) ensure that there is never a dull moment in this enchanting town.
While in Tzaneen, a visit to the quaint Tzaneen Museum is highly recommended. Take some time to explore its collection of ethnological artifacts, including pottery, beadwork, weapons, and the largest collection of pole carvings in the country. The museum also houses a remarkable assortment of royal drums, once belonging to the Rain Queen, Modjadji. As the hereditary ruler of the Balobedu people in the area, the Rain Queen’s succession follows a matrilineal line, with her eldest daughter becoming the heir. This unique cultural heritage can be further explored by visiting the residence of the Rain Queen, located near the Modjadji Nature Reserve.
Just 17 kilometers from Tzaneen lies the captivating Duiwelskloof, which was renamed Modjadjiskloof in 2004 as a tribute to the Rain Queen. Immerse yourself in the natural beauty of this area as you traverse its scenic landscapes and experience the allure of the Valley of the Olifants.
Tzaneen beckons travelers with its subtropical charm, vibrant cultural heritage, and natural wonders. Whether you are captivated by the lush vegetation, eager to explore nature reserves, or simply yearning to witness the majesty of the Rain Queen’s realm, Tzaneen promises a remarkable journey through the Valley of the Olifants.
The Capricorn region in Limpopo beckons you with its awe-inspiring landscapes, vibrant culture, and unforgettable adventures. Embrace the magic of this remarkable destination, where nature’s wonders and captivating heritage intertwine to create an experience you will cherish forever.