Mokopane is a friendly, colourful bushveld town in the foothills of the Waterberg mountains. Steeped in rugged beauty and torrid history, Mokopane is a good base from which to explore the delights of the Waterberg. It also offers access to the attractions around Polokwane, Limpopo’s bustling capital city. Game viewing, bush walks, hiking, climbing, birding and history can all be had here.
Mokopane is mainly an agricultural centre for surrounding wheat, tobacco, cotton, beef, maize, peanut and citrus farms. Here is one of the largest citrus farms in the southern hemisphere: Zebediela Citrus Estate south east of Mokpane. Parts of the town centre are pretty and well-preserved, and there are some historic Anglo-Boer War buildings and memorials, and an excellent museum.
There’s serious history out here. Makapan’s Valley Heritage Site is on the outskirts of Mokopane. It takes you back some 3,5 million years to when our hominid ancestors roamed these plains. The Waterberg also has some fascinating ruins and sites revealing the history of the San, Tswana, Ndebele and Pedi people.
Look out for
The Waterberg - A popular eco-tourism destination, the Waterberg mountains are part of the Waterberg UNESCO biosphere reserve. It’s characterised by wild mountains, rolling bush, and high concentrations of wildlife. There are wilderness hideaways, bush camps, private lodges, nature reserves and amazing hideaways.
Marakele National Park - Marakele means ‘place of sanctuary’ in Tswana. It is a wild, relatively undisturbed area, with steep hills and wooded kloofs. Watch out for hippo, giraffe, elephant, lion and impala. There are 4x4 and hiking trails and the world’s biggest population of Cape vultures.
The Arend Dieperink Museum - Check out the history of Mokopane from the time of the apeman to recent times. The museum is in a charming old stone building and has a significant cultural-historical collection of Voortrekker and Sotho artefacts. You can see the grave of Voortrekker leader Piet Potgieter, and don’t miss the ‘Caves through the Ages’ exhibition.
Nylsvley Conservancy - The Nylsvley Conservancy forms part of a very large flood plain – the largest in South Africa. More birds migrate here than anywhere else in the southern hemisphere. This makes one of the prime birding spots in the country.