INTRODUCTION TO LIMPOPO PROVINCE
Limpopo, South Africa’s northernmost province, borders onto Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Botswana. It also borders the Mpumalanga, Gauteng and North West provinces. Named after the Limpopo River, which flows along its northern border, it is a region of contrasts, from true Bushveld country to majestic mountains, primeval indigenous forests, unspoiled wilderness and patchworks of farmland. In the eastern region lies the northern half of the magnificent Kruger National Park.
Limpopo ranks fifth in South Africa in both surface area and population, covering an area of 125 754 km² and being home to a population of over five million people. The capital is Polokwane (previously Pietersburg). Other major cities and towns include Bela-Bela (Warmbad), Lephalale (Ellisras), Makhado (Louis Trichardt), Musina (Messina), Thabazimbi and Tzaneen.
Mining is the primary driver of economic activity. Limpopo is rich in mineral deposits, including platinum-group metals, iron ore, chromium, high and middle-grade coking coal, diamonds, antimony, phosphate and copper, as well as mineral reserves such as gold, emeralds, scheelite, magnetite, vermiculite, silicon and mica. The province is a typical developing area, exporting primary products and importing manufactured goods and services.
The climatic conditions in the province allow for double harvesting seasons, which results in it being the largest producer of various crops in the agricultural market. Sunflowers, cotton, maize and peanuts are cultivated in the Bela-Bela–Modimolle area. Bananas, litchis, pineapples, mangoes and paw-paws, as well as a variety of nuts, are grown in the Tzaneen and Makhado areas. Extensive tea and coffee plantations create many employment opportunities in the Tzaneen area. The Bushveld is cattle country, where controlled hunting is often combined with ranching.
Limpopo is divided into five district municipalities, which are further subdivided into 25 local municipalities.
Capricorn District: The District is located on the northern side of South Africa. It consists of five local municipalities. It derives its name from the Tropic of Capricorn, along which it is situated.
The municipality is situated as a stopover between Gauteng and the northern areas of Limpopo, and between the north-western areas and the Kruger National Park. It forms a gateway to Botswana, Zimbabwe and Mozambique.
Limpopo’s capital, Polokwane (previously Pietersburg), lies in the heart of the Capricorn region. The district has an internal airport, and is linked to Gauteng by one of the best stretches of the N1 in South Africa. It has the third-largest district economy in the Limpopo province, and is predominantly rural in nature.
Cities/Towns: Aganang • Alldays • Blouberg • Dendron • Lepelle-Nkumpi • Modimolle • Morebeng (previously Soekmekaar) • Polokwane • Zebediela
Greater Sekhukhune District: The district lies in the south-eastern part of the province and is comprised of five local municipalities. The area’s towns and villages are serviced by its major river – the Olifants.
Cities/Towns: Driekop • Elias Motsoaledi (previously Groblersdal) • Fetakgomo • Jane Furse • King Thulare City (previously Burgersfort) • Makhuduthamaga • Marble Hall • Ohrigstad • Roossenekal • Schuinsdraai Nature Reserve • Steelpoort
The entrance sign to Ba-Phalaborwa – Author: K. Meerholz
Mopani District: The District is located within the north-eastern quadrant of the province and consists of five local municipalities. It is bordered in the east by Mozambique, in the north by Zimbabwe and Vhembe District Municipality, in the south by the Mpumalanga province through Ehlanzeni District Municipality, in the west by Capricorn and Vhembe District Municipalities, and in the south-west by Greater Sekhukhune District Municipality. The seat of Mopani is Giyani, and the district is part of the Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park.
Cities/Towns: Ba-Phalaborwa • Giyani • Gravelotte • Haenertsburg • Hoedspruit • Letaba • Leydsdorp • Maruleng • Modjadjiskloof • Tzaneen
Vhembe District: The District is located in the northern part of the province and shares borders with Zimbabwe and Botswana in the north-west and Mozambique in the south-east through the Kruger National Park. The Limpopo River valley forms the border between the district and its international neighbours. It includes the former Transvaal (Gauteng) and areas that were previously under Venda and Gazankulu Bantustan’s administration.
It is comprised of four local municipalities. The District Municipal offices, as well as the Thulamela Local Municipality offices, are located in the town of Thohoyandou. It covers a geographical area that is predominantly rural. It is a legendary cultural hub, and a catalyst for agricultural and tourism development.
Cities/Towns: Makhado • Musina • Mutale • Thohoyandou • Thulamela
Vaalwater – View from the road east with grain
silos in the background -Author: W. Martinson
Waterberg District: The District is located in the western part of the province and shares its five-border control point with Botswana, namely Groblersbrug, Stockpoort, Derdepoort, Zimbabwe and Platjan.
It is strategically located in sharing its borders with Capricorn District Municipality in the north and Greater Sekhukhune District Municipality in the east. The south-western boundary abuts the North West province, while the Gauteng province lies on the south-eastern side. The Waterberg District Municipality is comprised of six local municipalities.
This district, with its great variety of wildlife, birds and scenic splendour is one of South Africa’s prime ecotourism destinations. The region, as we know it today, is more than three million years old.
Cities/Towns: Amandelbult Mine Town • Bela-Bela • Lephalale (previously Ellisras) • Modimolle • Mogalakwena • Mokopane (previously Potgietersrus) • Mookgophong (previously Naboomspruit) • Pienaarsrivier • Thabazimbi • Vaalwater
Source: Information extracted from http://www.localgovernment.co.za