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The Letaba District east of Pololwane covers the valley of the Letaba River with the capital Tzaneen and the Magoebaskloof mountains. The climate in the Letaba district is subtropical, the soil is particularly fertile, the rainfall is high, and the region is therefore used intensively for the production of tropical fruits. In particular, mangoes, litchis, avocados, kiwis, tomatoes, bananas, citrus fruits, cherries, macadamia and pecan nuts, as well as papayas, today come from “South Africa‘s fruit conservatory” in Limpopo province. You will also find here the only tea growing area in South Africa.
Tzaneen is 724 meters above sea level and is the largest town in the Letaba district. The attractive garden city in the midst of sub-tropical vegetation offers all services and is an ideal starting point to get to know the region better.
Worthwhile is a drive through the Magoebaskloof mountains with their dense green rainforests, crystal clear mountain streams and thunderous waterfalls. Particularly popular are the Debengeni Falls, where you can swim, picnic and hiking. In the Magoebaskloof mountains you can also find the picturesque gold mining town of Haenertsburg. It was founded in 1887 in the wake of the gold rush.
Pretty is also the small village Duiwelskloof, 17 kilometers north of Tzaneen. It is located near the Modjadji Cycad Forest. The reserve conserves South Africa’s largest stock of Modjadji cycads (Encephalartos transvenosus). These trees are up to 8 meters high and are living fossils from the Mesozoic era around 50 to 60 million years ago.
Tzaneen and the Letaba District are just an hour’s drive from the Phalaborwa Gate of the Kruger Park. You can therefore easily travel from here to the northern part of the National Park, which is much quieter and less travelled than the southern part, but no less interesting.
Tzaneen, an attractive farm town founded in 1912, is idyllically situated at the foot of the eastern Drakensberg, in a valley on the banks of the Letaba River.
For many it is the “jewel of the north”, because the landscape here is beautiful. Nevertheless, the city could develop only when the malaria was defeated. The name originally means “place where people gather”, perhaps because the area is so beautiful with its tropical forests.
A trip to Magoebaskloof is particularly worthwhile, a densely forested mountain landscape and the same, very steep pass, which gives a great overview.
On the 36km long “Dokolewa Trail” you can explore the magnificent rain forest or take a dip in the 25km distant Debengeni waterfalls.
But the Mageobaskloof-Forest between Tzaneen and Louis Trichardt is definitely worth a visit, because here you can see the most untouched and densest forest of the region: treetops and undergrowth interweave with creepers into an impenetrable thicket. Wild orchids set wonderful splashes of colour.