Polokwane Art Museum: Home of South Africa’s Art

Polokwane is regarded as the home of art in South Africa, boasting of the highest number of public sculptures in the country and home to more than a thousand collections of amazing sculptures, painting and portraits.

And there is no better place to tell this story and see this works of art than the iconic Polokwane Art Museum, located in Polokwane.

Sculptors and artists make most of the artworks found in the museum in and around the city, as well as those from far away including Johannesburg and Pretoria.

While most of the artwork are modern creations compared to other artefacts in other museums which are ancient with some lasting over a hundred years, sculptures and artworks in the museum still have telling histories behind them, mostly centred on tradition and culture.

Of the artworks that abound in the museum, traditional Venda, Pedi and Tsonga craft dominate and are showcased to visiting tourists, with tour guides on standby to give historical account and meaning of each painting, sculpture or piece of art.

More exciting, the museum also puts on sale small pieces of artworks made by local craftsmen enabling visiting tourists to take home some of the craftworks after paying a small fee.

Touring South Africa: National Women’s Monument

During the Second Boer War in South Africa, an estimated 27,000 women were reported to have died in British concentration camps. Some historians and researchers put the estimated figure much higher than the official 27,000 stated by public records. This is the foundation of the famous National Women’s Monument in Bloemfontein, South Africa.

Construction of the monument began in the early 1900s a few years after the Boer War had ended in 1902, and was completed and commissioned in 1913 precisely on the 16th of December that year.

The monument aims to commemorate and remember the 27,000 women and children who lost their lives while being kept in British concentration camps at the peak of the war. The standout monument at the grounds is a sculptured bronze statue depicting women and a dying child in one of the concentration camps designed by Emily Hobhouse who herself had been held in one of the concentration camps during the war.

There are also several other smaller statues and monument at the grounds and tourists are usually taken on a tour by tour guides who even double as historians and tell the history behind every monument to the visiting tourists.

The monument is free to visit grounds and is usually frequented by tourists who visit Bloemfontein for the first time.

Visiting South Africa: Kruger National Park

South Africa is statistically Africa’s most visited country in terms of tourism and entertainment, hosting well over a million tourists every year.

This feat however did not come on a silver platter for the Southern African country, it took them decades of conscious and sturdy effort to achieve the feat and today ranks among the best destinations for tourists.

With so many attractions to pick from, visiting S.A as a tourist as a dream for many especially those living in other parts of the African continent. One such attraction tourist can choose to visit among the lot is he iconic Kruger national park.

The Kruger National Park stretches across the Mpumalanga and Limpopo provinces of South Africa and is recognized as one of the largest wildlife parks in Africa covering a land size of 19,485 kilometre square.

The park was first established in 1926 as South Africa’s first national park during the Apartheid era to serve as a special reserved area for endangered species that were at the risk of extinction if not protected.

Since then the park has grown in popularity to become Africa’s prime animal reserve, receiving millions of visitors every year. The popularity of the park reached its peak in 2004 when it received an estimated 1.3million visitors in the course of the year, but has since then managed to maintain and improve upon the number.

The animal population in the park is also among the most impressive in Africa, with over 300 different species of animals, mostly endangered species living harmoniously in the park, most common among them being the lions, zebras, Girrafe, Deer, Cheetahs, Leopards and elephants.

Nyala (Tragelaphus angasii) ewe near Kruger National Park
Nyala (Tragelaphus angasii) ewe near Kruger National Park
Leopard on the rocks in the Kruger National Park, South Africa.
Leopard on the rocks in the Kruger National Park, South Africa.
Zebra with a baby in the Kruger National Park, South Africa.
Zebra with a baby in the Kruger National Park, South Africa.

Kruger National park aside its animal population is also home to about 300 archaeological sites which gives credence to the fact that before modern civilization and the area’s conversion to a reserve, it used to be home to a group of people in the primitive era. Visiting tourists are given access to visit these historical archaeological sites and learn a thing or two about history related to the park.

In fact it is very rare to see rare for tourists to visit South Africa and not make a trip to the Kruger National Park, showing just how important the reserve is to the South African tourism sector.

The reserve is opened to all and sundry  but strictly protected from activities such as poaching with the South African government taken stringent measures such as jail time for people found to be engaging in such activities in the park.

Mapungubwe National Park – South Africa

The Mapungubwe National Park is one of the many animal reserved parks in South Africa, located in the province of Limpopo, close to the Kolope River and about 16 km from the famous Venetia Diamond Mine.

Established in 1995, the iconic animal reserved park covers an area of 70 hectares and is among the most visited and documented attractions in Limpopo boasting of a rich and complex history that dates back to as far as the 15th century.

The park forms part of the bigger area known as the Greater Manpungubwe Transfontier Conservation Area; a cultural geographic area well known for its ancestral history with evidence of human settlement in the area dating back to some 1500 years ago.

Close to the park is another historical attraction, the Mapungubwe Hill which according to historians and archaeologists was the capital of the ancient Mapungubwe kingdom and home to the King of the tribe.

Unlike reserve parks where attractions are solely based on wildlife, the Mapungubwe National Park offers a different and unique experience to visitors as they can also make their way to the historical Hill town and see for themselves what ancient civilization was like.

The animal population within the park itself is also very impressive, with over 380 bird species taking residence in the dense forest section of the park where tall trees of different species abound.  Animals like Lions, Leopards, baboon, zebra, hyena, cheetah, giraffe, hippopotamus, rhinos and elephants can also be found in the park in large numbers while reptiles like agama, rock monitor lizard, gecko, cobra, crocodiles and python are also found in their numbers.

Most of the mammals roam from the park to neighbouring Botswana and Zimbabwe along the popular Limpopo River which lies close to the park. This is especially common when the river isn’t flooded and crossing is easy for the mammals.

The park and the entire area comprising of the river and Mapungubwe Hill have been listed by the United Nations (UN) as a UNESCO Heritage Site.

Marakele National Park – South Africa

The Marakele National Park was established in 1994 in the Limpopo Province as an eco-friendly site where humans and animals can interact on a daily basis in one close environment..

Historically, prior to the establishment of the park, the area was known to be home to several tribes during the iron-age settlement era. Archaeological excavations have been taken place in some sections of the park to learn more about the history of these early settlers, making some sections of the part inaccessible as research activities take place.

Originally the park was named as Kransberg National Park, before the change of name to Marakele National Park a year later in 1995. Its current land size of 670 square kilometres is almost four times the original size it had begun with in 1994 when the park size stood at 150 square kilometre.

Ostriches (Struthio camelus) in early morning light, Marakele National Park, South Africa
Ostriches (Struthio camelus) in early morning light, Marakele National Park, South Africa
Protea Caffra, the Common Suger Bush, a small tree growing on the mountains in the Marakele National Park, Limpopo, South Africa
Protea Caffra, the Common Suger Bush, a small tree growing on the mountains in the Marakele National Park, Limpopo, South Africa

In terms of animal population, Marakele National Park is not one of the most populated parks in South Africa and boasts of relatively smaller animal population when compared to other national parks and reserves like the Kruger National Park and     National Park.

A handful of buffalos and about sixteen species of antelopes are found in the park, together with some 250 species of birds with the most popular of them being the Cape griffon vultures.

Tourists who usually visit the park do so for camping purposes with animal watching usually being a secondary purpose. There are dozens of tents built in a special section of the park reserved for camping purposes, and as expected thousands of people throng to these camps to enjoy some quiet natural scenic environment away from the everyday city life.

While Marakele may not be the exotic national park filled with some incredible animal population, it offers families, friends, couples and colleagues an opportunity to camping in a serene natural environment.

The Polokwane Birds & Reptile Park

The Polokwane Bird and Reptile Park is the largest nature reserve park in Polokwane, South Africa and also among the largest wildlife parks in South Africa.

As the name already suggests, the park is home to hundreds of birds species, (both indigenous and exotic) and reptiles such as snakes, crocodiles and wild lizards.

As one of the biggest attractions in Polokwane, the Polokwane Bird and Reptile Park receives over a hundred thousand visitors each year, most of who are from other parts of the country like Pretoria.

Bird watching is the most popular activity at the park, with the over 280 different species of birds usually perching on the trees and displaying their colourful and glowing appearance while making melodious sounds which could easily be misconstrued for singing.

For the lovers of reptiles and the adventurous who may be more interested in reptiles, the snakes and crocodiles are kept in aquariums at the park and visitors can get close and watch them move about, however you are not allowed to breach the aquarium and try to get physical contact with the reptiles as that may prove detrimental.

For visiting families, the park has unique picnic spots where the whole family can take a rest after touring and enjoy some food and drinks that may have been brought along.

Entabeni Game Reserve: What visitors should know before visiting

The Entabeni Game reserve is one of the very few animal and nature reserves in Africa, owned and operated by Legend Lodges, a private firm that invests in nature and tourism sector.

Situated in the Limpopo province of South Africa, the Entabeni reserve is home to numerous African wildlife including the African bush elephant, African buffalo, African leopard, hippopotamus, lion, and African giraffe. Besides its amazing terrestrial wildlife reserve, the forest also houses a variety of bird species.

In the Limpopo province, the Entabeni is arguably one of the most popular attractions among the residents and receives a considerable number of visitors from within and outside the province every year.

The 220-kilometre square facility is not only known for its fantastic animal and bird population; it is also well known for its training school, the Entabeni Nature Guide Training School.

As a leading name in African tourism, South Africa requires a high number of professionally trained and experienced tour guides to operate the hundreds of attractions in the rainbow nation. The Entabeni Nature Guide Training School helps train and provides the professionals needed in the sector.

Note to Visitors

There are two seasons at Entabeni Game Reserves, being the summer and Winter season. The summer season is usually between November and March while the winter season is from April to October. The animals a tourist will come across at the reserve often depends on the time of visit as some animals prefer to stay hidden during specific periods. For instance, in the winter, one is less likely to see antelopes as they prefer to stay away from the cold weather and hide deep within the forest reserve.

Moholoholo Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre: A rehab for animals in South Africa

When it comes to tourism in African, South Africa is undoubtedly the ultimate destination for millions of tourists around the world, and the most important element and mainstay of the country’s tourism has been its amazing and grand wildlife population.

Every year, millions of tourists from miles away visit South Africa to experience the country’s incredible tourism sector. Most often, these tourists include wildlife sightseeing in their tourism adventure owing to the renowned reputation South Africa has as a country that is home to millions of wildlife, even the rarest of them.

Due to this, the Southern Africa nation places the utmost importance on their animal population, and this is evidenced in the creation of the Moholoholo Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre in Limpopo.

The Moholoholo Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre is dedicated to the wellbeing of wildlife in South Africa. The centre rescues distressed, injured, dying, sick and poisoned animals and treat them as their core mandate. Additionally, it is responsible for educating the masses on the need to preserve these animals and protect them.

While most of the treated animals are often released back into the wild, those perceived to be in extreme danger are usually kept at a section of the centre which is a small reserve and are regarded as ‘Permanent Residents’.

The centre also serves as an important tourist attraction in Limpopo. Tourists are encouraged to visit the centre and interact with some of these wonderful creatures that had been rescued from the grip of death.

For those who would like to experience something more than just wildlife sightseeing, but learn more about animal and nature conservation, the Moholoholo Wildlife rehabilitation centre is an excellent choice as tourists go through a series of lessons on the need to protect animals and nature and why it is vital to the survival of human and also a boost for the South African economy.