Phalaborwa has the distinction of being the closest town to the Kruger National Park. The Phalaborwa Gate is just a few minutes’ drive from the city centre where you can’t help noticing animal crossing signs.Surrounded by game reserves, wilderness areas, farms, lodges and wildlife sanctuaries, Phalaborwa is a friendly stopover and gateway to many bush adventures.
Phalaborwa is also a mining town; there has been mining here since the Iron Age. Some 2 000 million years ago a series of volcanic eruptions left a giant 19km² hole filled with phosphates, copper iconium, vermiculite, mica and gold. The town itself was established in 1958 after the discovery of huge mineral deposits and continues to support a thriving mining industry. It also boasts the largest human-made hole on earth - an enormous 2km-wide opencast copper mine that is visible from space.
Phalaborwa is part of the Valley of the Olifants tourism route. This route takes you through a combination of wilderness and mountain areas. It includes the Kruger National Park, the mountains of the northern Drakensberg and the eastern end of the Blyde (now Motlatse) River Canyon.
Look out for
The Kruger National Park - The Phalaborwa gate leads to the central and northern parts of the park. A short distance inside the park is the fascinating Masorini Iron Age Museum. This is an archaeological site showing smelting furnaces, homesteads and historic implements dating back to the late Iron Age.
The Olifants (Lepelle) River & Blyde (Motlatse) River Canyon - One of the largest rivers to flow into the Kruger, the Olifants (now the Lepelle) is good for both gentle game viewing cruises and wild river rafting adventures. It’s a short drive to the Blyde River Canyon, which offers climbing, hiking, birding and botanizing opportunities galore.
Hans Merensky Golf Course - Tee off in the wild at this magnificent Bob Grimsdell-designed 18-hole championship course adjoining the Kruger National Park. It has a hippo pool at the 8th hole.
Wilderness adventures - Phalaborwa is in the heart of Limpopo’s bushveld and wilderness, offering game drives, bush walks, conservation courses, relaxing getaways and more.
Astronomy - Explore the night skies above Phalaborwa on an astronomy tour where you can get up close and personal with the moon, planets and constellations.
Kruger to Canyon Birding Route - This rewarding birding route includes bushveld and mountains, parts of the Kruger, the Blyde River Canyon and Mpumalanga’s scenic Panorama Route. Roughly 500 bird species have been recorded here.