Louis Trichardt lies at the foot of the Soutpansberg. It is a bustling gateway for travellers en route to Zimbabwe, Botswana and the Kruger National Park (KNP). It’s is the focal point for the surrounding litchi, mango, nut, tea, coffee and banana farms.
The Soutpansberg or ‘tha vhani ya muno’ (mountain of salt) is South Africa’s northernmost mountain range. It gets its name from the salt pans that have been spicing up life here for centuries. Louis Trichardt is the urban centre of the Vhembe region, which is also called the ‘Land of Legend’, because of the strong traditional Venda mythology of the area.
Louis Trichardt is a good entry point to the Soutpansberg region. There is a lot to enjoy, including scenic day drives and wilderness experiences, artist routes, birding and hiking. Visitors can also find archaeological ruins and rock art in the Soutpansberg mountains.
Look out for
Hangklip Forest Reserve - This 35ha nature reserve is a landmark of the area and the best spot for a day’s adventure with nature. Trails wind through scenic countryside and birding is a treat with specials like the blue-spotted wood dove and yellow-streaked greenbul. There are picnic sites, streams, benches and magnificent trees.
Birding in Blouberg - An inselberg of the greater Soutpansberg chain, Blouberg is separated from the range by 30km of bushveld. It is famed for its over 200 bird species and its vulture project.
Land of Legend - Immerse yourself in the myths, legends and folklore of the Venda and Tsonga people. A half-day or full-day guided tour is a wonderful way to discover the Soutpansberg. Visit artists, sangomas (traditional healers), villages, studios, workshops and archaeological ruins.
Madi a Thava Design - Visit this inspiring collection of home decoration and fashion accessories made by local rural women. Madi a Thava Design (meaning ‘water from the mountains’) is based on a farm outside of town. It has a permanent collection of local art.
Skirmish Route - Here you can immerse yourself in Anglo-Boer War history, under the guidance of local historian, Charles Leach. You can visit graves and battle sites, which can be viewed from lookout points. There are also plenty of historic buildings.
Schoemansdal Open Air Museum - In the foothills of the brooding mountains, this quirky museum has memorabilia and exhibits from the Voortrekker days. It also has information about the early San and Khoi inhabitants of this area.