Limpopo Province is home to the beauty of the Soutpansberg, a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve that is situated in the far north of the country. These mountains are 130 kilometres long, utterly majestic in their expanses. The region’s name hails from the salt pans that have continued to be mined at the foot of the mountains since the 1800’s.
Being on the border of Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Botswana, the Soutpansberg is central.
The Soutpansberg is the perfect retreat for visitors that crave the splendour of the outdoors. The mountains, forests and wide open spaces make for breath-taking vistas and plenty to do. The forests are home to more than 540 different bird species, making for some very rewarding bird watching.
These forests are Roodewal, Entanbeni and Hanglip. The mountains are, of course, fabulous to explore on foot, and there are a number of hiking and walking trails through the peaks and valleys.
The entire region has a lovely array of plant- and animal species. There are almost 100 mammal species and 23 amphibian species, amongst many others. There are even crocodiles in the Soutpansberg. Some visitors may not be happy to hear that the region is home to 66 different spider species, granting it the status of being the most diverse in terms of these arachnids.
The Soutpansberg region is also a cultural hotspot, being the site of the lost Mapungubwe Kingdom. Thulamela was a fortress during the period between 1 200 and 1 600 of our Common Era (CE). This is a significant archaeological site.
There are also a number of sites in which rock art and pottery remains can be discovered. In addition, tools (or parts thereof) that are estimated to be millions of years old can be found in the Soutpansberg area. This makes for fascinating exploration. Significant areas for art and remnants are the Dambale Hills, Domboni Hills and the area between the Mutale River and Limpopo River.
The Venda, Tsonga and Pedi people have age-old histories in the Soutpansberg region. Visitors to the area are invited to see the arts and crafts of these local ones, which represent their cultures and provide insights into their customs.
There are a number of rural villages on the cliff sides that are open to visitors. Touring these villages is a fantastic way to get to know more about the people and heritage of the area. The products on offer and the tours of the villages not only give visitors a unique opportunity, but also uplift the community, enabling them to support themselves and their families through sustainability.
Significant towns of the Soutpansberg include Elim, Louis Trichardt, Mapungubwe, and Musina.