Century 21: What is it like to live in Tzaneen?
Tzaneen’s local economy is robust: tourism is a major draw-card, and the area abounds with Nature Reserves and nature activities to suit all tastes and ages. Tzaneen is only an hour from the Kruger National Park, so loads of tourists pass through this way on route to the park.
The natural beauty of the area also attracts increasing numbers of visitors ensuring demand for B&B’s while other drivers of the property market are the influx of more Government employees, general business investment such as the new SA Breweries distribution warehouse and the growth of service industries such as banks and retailers.
IAs for property values, a moratorium on new development has kicked in to allow service capacities to catch up with demand and a shortage of property is bound to follow once existing approved developments have worked their way through the system. The value of the existing stock will benefit in the meanwhile, creating opportunities for investors including buy-to-let investors.
The current rental market is very active, courtesy of the impact of the National Credit Act and interest rate increases which have made rental a necessity for people who would otherwise have been property buyers. Tzaneen definitely offers an alternative to city living, where people can still make an income and benefit from country life.
TZANEEN FEATURED ATTRACTIONS
HANS MERENSKY NATURE RESERVE
On the banks of the Great Letaba River lies the Hans Merensky Nature Reserve, just west of the Kruger National Park and not far from Tzaneen. The main drawcard to this beautiful reserve is the fact that you can walk most of it on foot.
Also known as the Greater Makalali Private Game Reserve and one of the country’s major privately owned conservation areas, Makalali Conservancy is over 22 000 hectares set in the Lowveld region of Limpopo, an hour west of the Phalaborwa gate of the Kruger National Park and roughly 80 kilometres from Hoedspruit.
The Makutsi Conservancy, in the heart of the Limpopo, lies adjacent to the Greater Makalali Private Game Reserve – just 40 minutes’ due east of the Kruger National Park. It lies on route 36 that links Tzaneen to the N4 from Pretoria, making it easily accessible and one of the easiest escapes for visitors to Johannesburg and Pretoria.
MODJADJI CYCAD RESERVE
The Modjadji Cycad Reserve is situated in the Lobedu Mountains near Duiwelskloof next to the home of the fabled rain queen and boasts some of the oldest and largest Cycad specimens on earth.
TZANEEN COUNTRY CLUB
On route from Tzaneen to Duiwelskloof, the Tzaneen golf course is a course that rewards good shot-making and that can be set up with high resistance to scoring. The Tzaneen Golf Course is reputed to be one of the fairest tests of golf in the Limpopo Province.
TZANEEN HIKING AND WALKING TRAILS
Various trails and areas are surrounding Tzaneen for hikers of all levels:
HIKING IN THE WOLKBERG
Lying just off the R71 outside Haenertsburg where the Drakensberg meets the Strydpoort Mountains is the Wolkberg Wilderness Area, a rugged unspoilt natural area where hikers can walk and hike at their own risk.
HIKING IN THE MAGOEBASKLOOF
Magoebaskloof hiking trail is a 50-kilometre circular trail over three days through extensive indigenous forest, sparkling mountain streams and pine plantations.
LESEDI HIKING TRAIL
The Lesedi trail winds its way very gently through the indigenous forest of Magoebaskloof and is a medium to the difficult trail but is well marked and maintained.
LEKGALAMEETSE NATURE RESERVE
The Lekgalameetse Nature Reserve borders the Wolkberg Wilderness and features crystal clear rivers, countless butterflies, waterfalls and lovely pools. The awesome birdlife makes this a popular destination for hiking and birding: Cape Parrot, Chorister Robin-Chat, Orange Ground-Thrush, Green Twinspot, Black-fronted Bush-Shrike and Barratt’s Warbler are just a few of the spectacular species to be found in this reserve.
Situated near the dense forests of the Magoebaskloof, the roaring Debengeni Falls is a magical spot renowned for some rare species of birds. One of these is the colourful Grey Wagtail, a regular summer visitor to this pool and the Bush Strike – only found here and in the Woodbush Forest nearby. Other beautiful birds are the Chorister Robin and the green Narina Trogon.
The grasslands around Haenertsburg are officially known as the WOODBUSH GRANITE GRASSLANDS – the most threatened vegetation type in Limpopo Province, and the highest conservation priority, according to SANBI (South African National Biodiversity Institute, Pretoria).
TZANEEN ADVENTURE SPORT
Situated near Haenertsburg, Between Polokwane and Tzaneen on the R528 (George’s Valley), Magoebaskloof Adventure Centre offers
- Quad Biking
- Kloofing (Canyoning)
- Team Building Challenges
- Horse Riding
- 4×4 Course
- Mountain Biking
GEORGES VALLEY GORGE
Situated in the Magoebaskloof between Haenertsburg and Tzaneen, the picturesque George’s Valley is renowned for its beauty and friendly inhabitants. It’s a perfect stopover en-route to the Kruger National Park or for family holidays and weekend getaways. Known as the adventure hub of the Limpopo, George’s Valley Gorge is a magnet for adrenaline junkies with a variety of thrills ranging from mild to wild.
TZANEEN EVENTS, FESTIVALS AND PLACES OF INTEREST
Kiwi Festival (April): The Kiwi Festival is a culinary delight and the cooking competition is always a lot of fun.
Holistic Fair (July): The Haenertsburg Village Hall hosts this interesting selection of qualified participants of alternative healings, where they share their knowledge and wares.
Letaba Expo (August): The Expo starts with a farmer’s day that takes place at the river area with the famous Farmer Unions Potjiekos Competition and lively entertainment at the beer garden. Famous artists perform in the tent at the main arena and there is entertainment for young and old alike.
Spring Festival (September): Flowers galore, craft markets, food and all that goes with it.
Kaross Workers Studio: Situated just outside the little town of Letsitele is the workshop of one of the most impressive craft projects in Limpopo. Hundreds of local ‘Karosswerkers’ embroider intricate and unusual designs inspired by their lives and environment, taking the form of useful mats, cushion covers, bags, clothing jewellery and artworks.
Wegraakbosch Organic Farm: A popular place for the whole family to soak up the countrified charms of this quaint dairy farm – winners of the EAT-IN “Best Organic Producer” Award.
Tsonga Kraal Museum: This well-known attraction inside the Hans Merensky Nature Reserve is built exclusively of traditional materials, and is an open-air reconstructed village showcasing the many traditional building styles of the Tsonga people who originated from southern Mozambique.
TZANEEN SURROUNDING AREAS
Haenertsburg village is situated just off the R71 between Polokwane and Tzaneen. The village originated as a “gold rush town” in 1887 and is steeped in “old world charm”. It boasts spectacular mountain views of the Long Tom Pass, with crystal clear mountain air, craggy peaks, tumbling waterfalls, tranquil lakes and magnificent indigenous forests. There are numerous hiking trails where nature lovers can spot prolific birdlife as well as wildlife such as antelope, bush pigs, baboons, monkeys and even the rare caracal cat.
Distances from Haenertsburg to Polokwane = 55km; Tzaneen = 38km
Duiwelskloof, renamed Modjadjiskloof in 2004, lies in the valley just outside of Tzaneen, offering panoramic vistas of the Wolkberg Mountains and is within easy reach of the Mooketsi Valley – the largest tomato production area in the country – and the Modjadji Nature Reserve, containing the largest natural concentration of cycad species in the world. It is also home to the largest Baobab tree in the world (“The Big Baobab” with a pub inside the tree) as well as the Duiwelskloof Waterfall and picnic site.
Distances from Duiwelskloof to Tzaneen = 17km, Mooketsi = 16km
Letsitele means “Valley of the Dead” in the Sotho language, so named because of rampant malaria that affected the area until it was brought under control by Dr Siegfried Annecke in 1914. Thereafter, agricultural development in the Letsitele area started in a meaningful way, with the Letaba River as the main source of water to the area.
The Letsitele farming community represents the largest citrus production area in the country, and high-quality Valencia oranges and the best quality Texas Star Ruby grapefruit in the world are produced here.
A big fruit juice factory adds additional value to the area’s produce. A variety of vegetables are also produced around Letsitele. The well-known Hans Merensky Nature Reserve is located in the district as well as several game farms – all of which contain a wide variety of indigenous fauna and flora species.
Distances from Letsitele to Tzaneen = 32km; Phalaborwa = 87km
Soekmekaar is situated on the edge of the escarpment northwest of Tzaneen. Soekmekaar has a high rainfall with a moderate climate, and the surrounding farmers produce potatoes, granadillas, maize, timber, avocado’s, guavas, strawberries, mangoes, tomatoes and cattle. Game farming is well established in the area.
Distances from Soekmekaar to Louis Trichardt = 59km; Pietersburg = 83km; Tzaneen = 62km