Time to explore Polokwane, the City of Stars

The Civic Centre of Polokwane is nested around the hustle of this city’s central business district. Photo: wikivillage.co.za

POLOKWANE – Whether you live in Polokwane or visiting, there are ample things to see and activities to do in and around this vibrant city.

Residents would certainly agree that apart from the fine weather all year round, this city, with its town mentality, is spoiled for choice when it comes to shopping, dining out and entertainment, with its own nature reserve right on the outskirts.

This city is regarded as one of the most pleasant weather establishments in South Africa, an ideal place for tourists and it is also regarded as the urban heartbeat of Limpopo.

From great African jazz clubs to the biggest shopping centre in Limpopo, Polokwane has an entertaining mix of city adventures, and plenty of game reserves and natural attractions right on its doorstep.

Around the area:  

About 35km from Polokwane on the R101 road to Mokopane you can walk with lions at The Protea Ranch Resort.

One of the main attractions at the Protea Ranch Resort is its famous lion walk, where visitors get to walk with lions in their habitat. Photo: theranch.co.za

The charming small town Haenertsburg is famed for its surrounding mountains, rivers and Debegeni Waterfalls.

You can also take a tour to Makapan’s Valley Heritage Site, which is the sister site to the Cradle of Humankind at Sterkfontein.

Where to stay:

Polokwane has a wide range of places to stay, from five-star hotels to budget bed and breakfast overnight accommodations.

The Fusion Boutique Hotel, one of the city’s trendiest five-star offerings with stylish accommodation and excellent cuisine. Saskia will provide you with a cuisine experience second to none.

The Fusion Boutique Hotel is one of the more trendiest and upmarket hotels in Polokwane. Photo: wetu.com

The Protea Ranch Resort is a pleasant overnight spot with good restaurants, rambling gardens, conference and wedding facilities among others.

 

See the sights

Polokwane has a lively and bustling downtown area, set around the pleasantly green and artistic civic centre.

Here you can visit the Polokwane Art Museum which has an excellent collection of South African art.

The Irish House Museum, a green Victorian style building, has a comprehensive collection of exhibits from the pre-history to Victorian and modern times of Polokwane. Photo: expedia.com

Folks into photography and history can check out the early starting days of the city in the fascinating photographs on display at the Hugh Exton Photographic Museum or take a tour through the Irish House Museum, a green Victorian style building, which has a comprehensive collection of exhibits from the pre-history to Victorian and modern times of Polokwane.

Wildlife

On the city’s doorstep, you’ll find lots of natural attractions including game reserves, mountains and wilderness areas.

You can take a quiet game drive at the Polokwane Game Reserve, ten minutes from the city centre and right on Polokwane’s doorstep.

Polokwane has a full range of accommodation options to suit all needs and budgets.

East of the city is the Kruger National Park, the premier wildlife experience in South Africa.

Also nearby are the scenic Magoebaskloof Mountains with quaint hamlets, silver lakes and lush forests around the village of Haenertsburg.

 

Shopping

Easy to access, generous parking and convenient shopping hours, the Mall of the North is home to some of South Africa’s most popular department and grocery stores, including Checkers, Pick N Pay, Woolworths, Game and Edgars amongst others.

The Mall of the North is officially regarded as the largest shopping mall in the province of Limpopo, established in Polokwane, the city of this province. Photo: practicegroup.co.za

There are host of restaurants and a Ster Kinekor movie theatre.

Open seven days a week, Mall of the North is a world entirely devoted to home and lifestyle improvements and compliments.

So, whether your taste is for contemporary furniture, ready-to-wear fashion, personalised family time including the latest 3D movie releases, or simply to dine like a king, the Mall of the North is the shopping destination where to experience a true shopping experience.

 

Savannah Mall is another shopping centre pride of Polokwane. With more than 100 shops to choose from, the mall also operates seven days a week. Photo: mapio.net

Savannah Mall is another shopping centre pride of Polokwane.

With more than 100 shops to choose from, the mall has served the people of Polokwane since its inception in November 1997.

Shops housed in Savannah Mall include are Dis-Chem, Baby City, Toys R Us, KFC Drive-Thru along with its Banking Mall catering for all South African established bank corporations.

Savanna Mall also recently added its own movie theatre.

 

Action Attractions

The Bakone Malapa Museum in Polokwane is an open-air historic establishment of a traditional Northern Sotho Bakone village from 250 years ago.

This museum comes complete with thatch huts and communal areas with grinding stones, calabashes and other traditional implements and structures that were used in the daily life of the Bakone people.

The Bakone Malapa open air museum. Photo: polokwanetourism.co.za

These exhibits in the homesteads show how the Bakone culture made fire, brewed traditional beer and ground maize. Women sit in the village and demonstrate arts and crafts such as basket making and bead work, which can be purchased at a small shop situated at the museum.

The Museum is not open on Sundays except by special arrangement, but the grounds have a picnic and braai area and walking trails. Getting there, take the R37 south from Polokwane for nine kilometre.

The entrance to the Bakone Museum is on the left-hand side of the road.

 

Sport and Recreation

The design of the Peter Mokaba Sports Complex pays homage to the province’s iconic tree, the baobab, sometimes called the ‘upside-down’ tree as it is topped by shrubbery that resembles a root system.

This 2010 FIFA World Cup stadium is constructed largely of concrete, topped by a steel structure supported by giant ‘tree trunks’ in each corner. These ‘trunks’ cleverly hold lift shafts and spiral ramps.

The Peter Mokaba Sports Complex hosted four group matches in the opening stages of the 2010 FIFA Soccer World Cup. World famous footballer Lionel Messi from Argentina played with his side here against Greece. Photo: tourhq.com

This Polokwane sports stadium, which hosted four first-round matches during the 2010 FIFA World Cup, is located five kilometre from the city centre.

The stadium’s VIP area boasts accommodation for 500 VIP’s and 1 675 media representatives, an 800 cubic metres reception area and lounge, offices and storage areas, and parking for both players and officials.

It has become Limpopo’s prime venue for football and rugby matches, political rallies and entertainment events.

The Gateway to Africa

Polokwane is the gateway to a number of other countries in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) that lie on South Africa’s northern borders, namely Botswana, Malawi, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Mozambique.

 

So whether you’re a resident or a tourist, Polokwane, on its own, proves why it is nicknamed the City of Stars.

roelof@nmgroup.co.za

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  AUTHOR
Roelof de Jonge
Journalist

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