EXPLORING LIMPOPO: BAOBABS & GLAMPING
After exploring the Limpopo province in a way I’ve never done before, I am upset that I was never told that I live in such a rich province. Earlier this month, I travelled from the very south of Limpopo, to the most northern parts of the Great North where I saw both Botswana and Zimbabwe while standing in South Africa. On the trip, I saw Baobab trees, a few honourable members of the Big Five and experienced glamping for the first time. To top it off, I experienced all of that with one of the most legendary actresses to come out of Limpopo, Rami Chuene. Calling the trip an amazing experience would be an understatement but let me tell you:
My trip started in Tzaneen of course, I travelled to Pretoria to meet my travel buddies. We headed to Marakele National Park for our first stop. We did a night game drive as soon as we got there, led by award-winning travel guide, Sydney Fhumulani. Sydney knows his stuff and all the accolades he collected are with reason. He is a live encyclopaedia whose game drives leave you knowledgeable and filled with appreciation for nature.
During the two hour night game drive, we spotted white rhinos stomping their way out of plain sight, giraffes running gracefully through the bushes and a lion patrolling its territory while roaring to make his presence known. It was all fun and games until we realised that the camp where we would be resting was just a few kilometers from where we spotted all this wildlife. It was also quite an experience to be woken up by the roaring of a lion instead of the widely romanticised chirping birds. I prefer the former to be honest, feels more majestic.
After the game drive we had our dinner, rested and prepared ourselves for the next stop: Mapungubwe National Park. The drive from Marakele to Mapungubwe was long. We spent the whole day on the road, making a few stops in between. When we got to Mapungubwe, we had a bush break dinner and called it a night.
Our morning in Mapungubwe National Park started at 4:30am. We wanted to watch the sun rise over the Limpopo River as it cut through Botswana, Zimbabwe and South Africa. Apparently animals roam freely across the river to both bordering countries and back when it is not flooded. This magnificent site can be thoroughly enjoyed from the Confluence Decks in the park, with animals freely galloping away.
A few days have passed since the trip and I am still awestruck by Mapungubwe. It felt like holy ground. So much rich history, nature and culture. We did a day game drive while there and even walked through the unfenced park where wild animals roam freely with our guide, Cedric. We walked to Mapungubwe Hill, the capital of the Kingdom of Mapungubwe, a community that dates back to the Iron Age. This is the site where the famous gold rhino was uncovered. The views from this hill were probably similar to the views of the royal family on Pride Rock.
My favourite part was swimming in the grandiose pool at Leokwe Camp in the park. I love water. Swimming in such a beautiful pool was the cherry on top of an experience that was already spectacular. Usually, elephants make their way to the camp to quench their thirst at a pond that’s right behind the pool. However, I was not lucky enough to experience that, which is reason enough for me to go back.
After a long but blissful day in Mapungubwe National Park, we all went to rest in our respective chalets at Leokwe Camp. The chalets had outdoor showers! Showering at night was another adventure since animals roam around freely and we were told to never walk at night as it is dangerous. It was a fast shower to say the least.
Our next and final stop was Madi a Thavha Mountain Lodge in Louis Trichardt. We arrived to a beautiful bonfire dinner where we reminisced about our tour across Limpopo. The next morning we hiked the Smomoza Hiking trial and some the Baobab Hiking Trial. We enjoyed the views offered by the mountains that surround the lodge and said our goodbyes.
I acknowledge that there is no way anyone can explore Limpopo in its entirety in just four days. However, the journey from one end of the province to the other will always be a story I tell around the dinner table. Limpopo is such a spectacular place, Rami even called it the land where God lives. It is the only province in South Africa with more than two cultural groups harmoniously staying together in their original habitat. If you haven’t visited Limpopo yet, it’s high time you did.
I will be posting videos on my social media about the trip so look out for that. Until then, sayonara!
#GoLimpopo #UnlikeAnyOther #GoWildWithSydney