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    Valley of the Olifants/Mopani Region

Welcome To Valley of the Olifants/Mopani Region

About Valley of the Olifants/Mopani Region

The Mopani region is a heady mix of mountain and bushveld, history and culture. It is made up of 5 districts which include: Ba-Phalaborwa, Greater Giyani, Greater Letaba, Marulaeng and Greater Tzaneen.

It also includes sections of the northern Drakensberg Mountains, parts of the Kruger National Park and an eastern portion of the Blyde (Motlatse) River Canyon which explores the “Kruger to Canyon” experience. One can picture dramatic mountain scenery, ancient rivers and unspoiled wilderness reserves.

The best way to discover the delights of the region is by exploring the Valley of the Olifants self-drive tourism route. This takes you through wilderness areas with exceptional mountain views. Travellers from Mpumalanga to Hoedspruit will travel via the scenic Abel Erasmus Pass, which descends 800m over its 24km length. The highlight is the 134 metre long JG Strijdom Tunnel where one emerges from cool darkness into bright sunlight nearly a thousand metres above the Olifants River valley.

The Mopani district of Limpopo offers travellers dramatic mountains, vast wilderness reserves, ancient rivers and the country's oldest baobab tree.

Mopani district is home to the world famous Amarula Liqueur, made from the fruit of the amarula tree. Elephants and monkeys have a particular liking for this fruit and when they pick up and eat fermented fruit off the ground they experience symptoms of being intoxicated!

Discover the many delights of Mopani district by exploring the Valley of the Olifants tourism region. While Mopani district takes its name from a small edible worm called the mopani worm, the Valley of the Olifants tourism region is named after the Olifants ('elephants') River, which cuts its way through steep mountains and then flows through the Kruger National Park.

The village of Modjadji, nearby Tzaneen, is the realm of the ancient Rain Queen, famed for her rain-making powers, and the Balobedu people who settled here in the late 16th century. Modjadji is also home to a slope of rare cycad species (Encephalartos trasnvenosus), unique to this area. Take a stroll through the Modjadji Cycad Reserve to see these majestic plants that date back to the time of the dinosaur.Nearby Modjadji village is Sunland Baobab, a giant baobab estimated to be some 4 000 years old. Inside the tree is a small English pub where you can get a beer or a soft drink and find out why the baobab tree is a source of great legend and the symbol of Limpopo province.

You can see the Big Five, visit a cheetah breeding project or encounter orphaned animals at Moholoholo Rehabilitation Centre. The Hans Merensky Golf Course near Phalaborwa, adjoins the Kruger National Park, and golfers often wait for the game to clear the hole before they tee off.
Mopani is an all-year round indulgence with moderate temperatures varying slightly between winter and summer months. The beauty and scenery are spectacular and worth visiting any time of the year.

Summer months (October to March) can get incredibly hot reaching temperatures of 35°C but average around 27°C and can be humid. Rain can be expected in the afternoons. Winter months (May to August) can be a little chilly in the mornings and afternoons however mid-day temperatures can get rather warm. So a winter’s day can range from 7 to 25°C. Night time temperatures drop and appropriate attire will need to be worn. All in all this is a region of sunshine all year round. Due to the changing terrain these temperatures can vary however this area can be characterised as sub-tropical.

Quick Facts

Located: Limpopo
Country: South Africa

Why go?

The Mopani region in the Lowveld is one of the most beautiful landscapes in Africa – timeless, serene and majestic. This region offers vast expanses, untouched by the passage of time, rich in the history and culture of South Africa. You will experience spectacular views, splendid nature reserves abundant wildlife, magnificent mountains, meandering rivers and dramatic landscapes.

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Top places to visit in Valley of the Olifants/Mopani Region

View everything this beautiful region has to offer

Greater Tzaneen
Greater Giyani
Greater Letaba