My first road trip to Limpopo did not disappoint, and I can confidently say that I’ll soon return to this beautiful province. Just imagine for a moment, long gravel roads as far as the eye can see and a night orchestra of crickets chirping rhythmically on key. The calming sound of water flowing downriver and the beautiful night sky dotted with stars that feel so close that you could reach out and touch them. This was my reality for three glorious days at Mogalakwena River Lodge.
Limpopo is the northernmost province in South Africa and is culturally home to the Pedi and Venda tribal groups. Limpopo is rich with culture, heritage and natural landscape beauty. There is no shortage of activity or accommodation options to suit any traveller, from lush forests, rivers and dams, rolling mountainous hills and plenty of bush retreats.
I was referred to Mogalakwena River Lodge by a colleague. I had expressed my frustration about being in Johannesburg for extended periods, coupled with my interest in exploring some unique places. Without giving it a second thought, he immediately recommends a charming bush lodge that would be my home for three magical days. Mogalakwena is located in the north-west region of Limpopo between the towns of Alldays and Tolwe. Both towns are known for their private game and hunting farms. There are two accommodation options to chose from: the River Lodge and the Artist Center. A retreat for creatives to escape to and inspire creativity.
My trip started later than planned, only managing to leave home at 10 am, but 6 hours later, I had arrived at my destination to a warm welcome from the staff. Special mention to Madelein and mme Linah, for taking great care of me throughout my stay.
Activities include game drives, nature walks and massages. Workshops are offered at the artist craft centre to learn how to create handmade artefacts from the ladies in the community. Unfortunately, workshops are temporarily suspended due to the Covid-19 restrictions at the time of publishing this blog, but this activity is motivation for me to return to the lodge someday soon.
Been the hiker that I am, I was treated to a fantastic nature walk guided by Portia, who works at the lodges research centre. We came across some game at close range and a few baby baobab trees. I use the word baby intentionally because baobab can live for hundreds of years. The oldest baobabs are found in Limpopo, including the Sagole Baobab in Venda Limpopo. It has a trunk diameter of 10.47 meters and a circumference of 32.89 meters.
I was rewarded with a soothing hot stone massage on my return to the lodge.
I’ve always been a bushbaby, preferring bush and mountain over the sea. Something about the wilderness gives me comfort and a greater sense of belonging.
Before you go
There are two routes you can use to get to Mogalakwena. Either through Polokwane or Modimolle. Consult with the lodge to get the latest directions to avoid less than pleasant roads to travel.
I drive a 4×2 vehicle, and it took me an hour and a half driving on the gravel road from Tolwe to Mogalakwena. Take it easy on the gravel.
The network is patchy once you leave the bigger towns. Make sure you have enough fuel reserves and a spare tyre, so you’re prepared for any eventuality.
Pack snacks and have fun on this road trip. It’s about 450km from JHB but well worth the journey!