The great outdoors awaits in the Waterberg Tourism Region
When you think of Limpopo, images of relaxation, adventure, and the bushveld come to mind. Filled with a number of tourist destinations to see, hear, smell, taste and touch the best of what South Africa has to offer, it is fitting that the province is hosting the second annual UCI Africa Tour 2.2 stage race – the Tour de Limpopo – from 14-18 May 2019.
Following on from a successful first run and hosting domestic and international professional cycling teams in a first-of-its-kind race for the province last year, the Tour de Limpopo aims to showcase the best of what the province has to offer adventure seekers, whether wide open spaces, bushveld, or mountainous terrain, offering a mild climate during the winter months.
Starting in Bela Bela in the Waterberg region, a new destination on the tour’s map, the four-day stage race will cover over 500 kilometres of tarred road. The name Bela Bela means “Boiling Boiling” in Tswana and refers to the hot mineral springs bubbling out of the earth at a temperature of approximately 53°C. The mineral-rich water is known to have therapeutic properties. The area also offers hiking trails, the Waterberg Zip-line, spas, golf course and a number of nature reserves.
Modimolle, along the route on stage one, is the commercial centre of the Waterberg region and is famous for its export table grapes and fruits such as peaches and watermelons. The area also produces cattle, peanuts and maize. A host of outdoor activities can keep one occupied, like sky diving, a visit to the Thaba Kwena Crocodile Farm, horse safaris, hiking and nature trails, and bird watching at the world-renowned Nylsvley Nature Reserve where as many as 400 species can easily be spotted in one day. The reserve is also home to approximately 1000 large mammals.
The famous Mokopane region is given its unique appeal by the blend of bushveld and a multi-cultural community and history. Of great historical significance is the archaeological and historical sites that can be found at Makapan’s Valley, which is located 15km north of the town. Visitors can enjoy a guided tour of Makapan’s Valley and The Cave of Hearths – one of only two Stone Age sites in the world that contain an unbroken sequence of artefacts from the Earlier Stone Age and the Later Stone Age. The sediments, fossils, bones and artefacts found in the caves in the valley date back 3.3 million years! Visitors to Mokopane can also enjoy camping, hiking, 4x4 trails, mountain biking at Roundstone Lodge, birding, angling and game viewing.
For the wildlife enthusiasts looking to embark on a safari, the Waterberg Tourism Region has a wonderful selection of parks and reserves. Marakele National Park lies in the heart of the Waterberg Mountains. The name Marakele means “place of sanctuary” in Tswana, and is home to a variety of wildlife as well as the 4x4 Eco Trail, a three-day outdoor adventure spanning the wilderness; the 38200ha Welgevonden Game Reserve is declared by UNESCO as the only savannah biosphere in the world; Entabeni Safari Conservancy features the Big 5; Mabula Private Game Reserve which offers horseback safaris, balloon safaris, birding and golf and is home to the Cheetah Release Project; Mabalingwe Private Nature Reserve which has a true South African bushveld environment abundant in birdlife; and provincial game and nature reserves such as D’Nyala Nature Reserve, Nylsvley Birding Lodge, Masebe Nature Reserve, Doorndraai Dam, Mokolo Dam and Rust De Winter Dam and Nature Reserve.
Just in this region alone, adventure seekers can experience the biodiversity of the area and will discover that there really is “More to Enjoy” in Limpopo.