March 22, 2023

Exploring the South African province less traveled

Animal trainers in South Africa encourage the brave to pet the rare white lions and even hold onto their tails.
Sharing a border with Mozambique, Zimbabwe, and Botswana, South Africa’s northernmost province, Limpopo, boasts a landscape of banana and mango tree groves without any signs (apart from the occasional “hippo-crossing” ones) to mar its beauty. Here are a few off-the-beaten-path experiences to be had there.

Be One with the Lions
“When in Rome” translates to Africa too, so why not see Limpopo’s savannas alongside their kingly inhabitants? The Protea Hotel Ranch Resort, near the capital of Polokwane, is the happy home to more than 30 captive white lions.

Unique Lodging
Along the banks of the Albasini Dam, with the Luonde Mountains in the distance, stands the Shiluvari Lakeside Lodge, a charming boutique hotel that spins the tales of its region by way of the local artisanal crafts which furnish each room. When the urge to explore the outdoors strikes, there are three nature trails rife with indigenous birds.

Artistic Inspiration
Take a half- or full-day guided tour of the Ribolla Arts Route–an area near Shiluvari that comprises the artists’ villages of Thohoyandou, Elim, Makhado, and Giyani. Sculptors, jewelry designers, musicians, and crafters showcase their work (and heritage) and you can check souvenirs off your list.

Raising the Bar
Plan a trip to Modjadjiskloof (a 25-minute drive from Tzaneen) in time for happy hour. The Sunland Baobab is a bar built inside the trunk of a 4,000-year-old African baobab tree said to be the world’s largest. With room for only a dozen revelers, you won’t have a chance to get too happy–but it’ll be one beer you’re not likely to forget.

Relaxing at the Falls
While the day away at the picturesque Debengeni Waterfalls near the Magoebaskloof Mountains where summer fun includes natural pools and rock slides, and year-round forest hikes grant sightings of rare birds and more than 40 species of trees.

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