Ex­plore the Vhembe re­gion

Area has var­ied nat­u­ral, ge­o­log­i­cal, ar­chae­o­log­i­cal and cul­tural sys­tems and a fas­ci­nat­ing his­tory

African Times - - News -

THE Vhembe Re­gion is named af­ter the im­pres­sive moun­tain range that stretches for some 130 km from west to east through the re­gion. The area in­cor­po­rates end­less ex­panses of un­du­lat­ing in­dige­nous bush char­ac­terised by the re­mark­able form of the baobab, won­der­ful wildlife, a pro­fu­sion of birds and ex­cit­ing ad­ven­ture op­por­tu­ni­ties.

The re­gion boasts one of the most var­ied nat­u­ral, ge­o­log­i­cal, ar­chae­o­log­i­cal and cul­tural sys­tems in the world and a fas­ci­nat­ing his­tory dat­ing back many cen­turies when the San roamed the veld and left us their art­works on rocks.

Th­ese were the times when Arabs and In­di­ans sailed their dhows down south and traded beads and ceram­ics for the gold and ivory of the an­cient African king­doms en­sconced in their fortresses at Ma­pun­gubwe and Thu­lamela.

Lake Fun­duzi is a mag­i­cal place that is steeped in Venda mythol­ogy and le­gend. Its con­di­tion changes sea­son­ally, but it is al­ways worth the visit from a cul­tural per­spec­tive.

From Lake Fun­duzi you will drive along the very top of the Sout­pans­berg. The veg­e­ta­tion con­sists of Afromon­tane grass­lands and small patches of afro-tem­per­ate for­est.

Thathe is an in­dige­nous for­est which is sa­cred to the Venda peo­ple. Here you should be on the look-out for for­est species, such as Cho­ris­ter Robin-Chat, White-starred Robin, Knysna Tu­raco, Yel­low-streaked Green­bul and Orange GroundThrush.

Kruger Na­tional Park

Lim­popo Prov­ince of­fers ac­cess to the world-renowned Kruger Na­tional Park in its east­ern re­gion through the Pa­furi, Punda Maria, Pha­l­aborwa and Or­pen gates.

Seventy per­cent of the Kruger Park lies within the Lim­popo Prov­ince.

A sweep­ing ex­panse of in­dige­nous bush, sub-trop­i­cal lowveld veg­e­ta­tion and ter­raced hills and the largest na­tional park in South Africa, this unique wilder­ness area is one of the most fa­mous wildlife sanc­tu­ar­ies in the world.

Ma­pun­gubwe Na­tional Park Vhembe-Don­gola, now

Ma­pun­gubwe Na­tional Park, was formed in 1995 when the South African Na­tional Parks was ap­pointed to con­serve and en­hance the tourism po­ten­tial of the area.

De­clared a World Her­itage Site in July 2003, Ma­pun­gubwe to­day forms the core area of the newly opened Ma­pun­gubwe Na­tional Park. The park is sit­u­ated 60 km west of Musina and 230 km north-west of Polok­wane, the cap­i­tal of Lim­popo.

The Sout­pans­berg

The Sout­pans­berg, South Africa’s north­ern­most moun­tain range, takes its name from the salt pans that lie at its base near the western end. Th­ese pans have sup­plied com­mu­ni­ties with salt from pre­his­toric times to to­day.

The moun­tains stretch east to west for ap­prox­i­mately 130 km, vary­ing in width from 18 to 32 km.

They boast sev­eral peaks that tower more than 1,500 m above sea level, which in­clude Hangk­lip at 2,550 m and Le­juma at 1,753 m.

The moun­tains fea­ture a fer­tile, well-wa­tered plateau that re­ceives a high sum­mer rain­fall and sup­ports wide range of crops and cul­ti­vated lands. Rain­fall can be as high as 2,000 mm a year in cer­tain places.

The Sout­pans­berg is a unique wilder­ness area that ac­com­mo­dates over 500 tree species, 50 of which are en­demic to either the Sout­pans­berg Range or the Lim­popo River Val­ley. Close on 467 species of birds, nu­mer­ous mam­mal, rep­tile and am­phib­ian species and the beau­ti­ful Swanepoel’s Widow But­ter­fly – en­demic to the re­gion – are found here.

SANC­TU­ARY: Lim­popo Prov­ince of­fers ac­cess to the world-renowned Kruger Na­tional Park in its east­ern re­gion through the Pa­furi, Punda Maria, Pha­l­aborwa and Or­pen gates. Seventy per­cent of the Kruger Park lies within the Lim­popo Prov­ince.Pic­tures: Lu­cas Ledwaba / Muku­rukuru Me­dia

UNIQUE: The Sout­pans­berg fea­ture a fer­tile, well-wa­tered plateau that re­ceives a high sum­mer rain­fall and sup­ports wide range of crops and cul­ti­vated lands.

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