Limpopo is the northernmost province of South Africa. It is named after the Limpopo River, which forms the province’s western and northern borders. It borders Botswana, Zimbabwe and Mozambique.

It’s known for bushveld and wildlife reserves, including part of Kruger National Park. West of the Kruger are the craggy Blouberg mountains and Makgabeng Plateau with ancient rock art.

Near the provincial capital Polokwane, the Arend Dieperink Museum and fossil-rich caves of Makapansgat explore history dating back to early hominids.

The name ‘Limpopo’ has its etymological origin in the Northern Sotho language word diphororo tša meetse, meaning ‘strong gushing waterfalls’.

The capital is Polokwane, formerly called Pietersburg.

Tourism and Mining

Tourism is one of the three pillars of the Limpopo economy along with mining and agribusiness.

In 2008, the Province accounted for 5 per cent of all foreign tourist bed nights in South Africa, numbers which are showing strong annual growth.

The R 93 million Provincial tourism budget for 2010/11 represents 11 per cent of Limpopo’s total budget.

Near Modjadjiskloof, at Sunland Baobab farms, there is a large Baobab tree which has been fashioned into a rather spacious pub.

The Limpopo Department of Economic Development, Environment and Tourism has targeted the province as a preferred eco-tourism destination.

Its Environment and Tourism Programme encompasses tourism, protected areas and community environment development to achieve sustainable economic growth.

While Limpopo is one of South Africa’s poorest provinces, it is rich in wildlife, which gives it an edge in attracting tourists, hence the rush of investments from both the private and public sectors.

Limpopo’s rich mineral deposits include the platinum group metals, iron ore, chromium, high- and middle-grade coking coal, diamonds, antimony, phosphate, and copper, as well as mineral reserves like gold, emeralds, scheelite, magnetite, vermiculite, silicon, and mica. Commodities such as black granite, corundum, and feldspar are also found.

Mining contributes to over a fifth of the provincial economy. Limpopo has the largest platinum deposit in South Africa.

The Waterberg Coalfield, the eastern extension of Botswana’s Mmamabula coalfields, is estimated to contain 40 per cent of South Africa’s coal reserves.

LIMPOPO RIVER

The Limpopo River rises in central southern Africa, and flows generally eastwards to the Indian Ocean.

The river is approximately 1,750 kilometres (1,087 mi) long, with a drainage basin 415,000 square kilometres (160,200 sq mi) in size.

The mean discharge measured over a year is 170 m3/s (6,200 cu ft/s) at its mouth. The Limpopo is the second largest river in Africa that drains to the Indian Ocean, after the Zambezi River.

The first European to sight the river was Vasco da Gama, who anchored off its mouth in 1498 and named it Espiritu Santo River.

Its lower course was explored by St. Vincent Whitshed Erskine in 1868–69, and Captain J F Elton travelled down its middle course in 1870.

ZAMBEZI RIVER

Image: audleytravel.com

The Zambezi (also spelled Zambeze and Zambesi) is the fourth-longest river in Africa, the longest east-flowing river in Africa and the largest flowing into the Indian Ocean from Africa.

The area of its basin is 1,390,000 square kilometres (540,000 sq mi), slightly less than half of the Nile’s. The 2,574-kilometre-long river (1,599 mi) rises in Zambia and flows through eastern Angola, along the eastern border of Namibia and the northern border of Botswana, then along the border between Zambia and Zimbabwe to Mozambique, where it crosses the country to empty into the Indian Ocean.

The Zambezi’s most noted feature is Victoria Falls. Other notable falls include the Chavuma Falls at the border between Zambia and Angola, and Ngonye Falls, near Sioma in Western Zambia.

There are two main sources of hydroelectric power on the river, the Kariba Dam, which provides power to Zambia and Zimbabwe, and the Cahora Bassa Dam in Mozambique, which provides power to Mozambique and South Africa. There is also a smaller power station at Victoria Falls.

THE BUSHVELD

The bushveld is beef cattle country, where extensive ranching operations are often supplemented by controlled hunting. About 80 per cent of South Africa’s game hunting industry is found in Limpopo.

Sunflowers, cotton, maize and peanuts are cultivated in the Bela-Bela and Modimolle areas.

Modimolle is also known for its table grapes. Tropical fruit, such as bananas, litchis, pineapples, mangoes and pawpaws, as well as a variety of nuts, are grown in the Tzaneen and Louis Trichardt areas.

Tzaneen is also as the centre of extensive citrus, tea and coffee plantations, and a major forestry industry.

Author: Taofeek Ayeyemi