Polokwane sounds like it should be a tiny farming town, but it isn’t. With a population of over 500,000 people, it’s a city, and it means ‘Place of Safety’. It’s safe to say there’s plenty to see, do and experience in Polokwane. Here are some things you should consider adding to your Polokwane Bucket List.
Places of cultural and historic interest
The building itself is an architectural gem, a lovely late Victorian shop built in 1906. It was beautifully restored in 1986 and is now a national monument. History nerds will enjoy discovering the secrets of this city and will be thrilled by the Stone Age and Iron Age artefacts. Feast your eyes on the display depicting the lively traditional cultures of the Limpopo’s people.
Home to over 280 indigenous and exotic bird species and a variety of snakes, lizards and crocodiles, the bird lover and reptile fundi will have a field day here. There are also numerous picnic spots as well as an 18-hole golf course – so pack a picnic basket and bring your golf clubs!
Calling all shutterbugs! Housed in a beautiful old 1890s Dutch Reformed church house, this museum has a 23,000-strong cultural and historical photo collection taken between 1892 and 1945. Original glass negatives capture the fascinating first few years of the town’s history on celluloid as taken by photographer Hugh Exton. Expect images of architecture, industry, clothing, trade and famous town residents.
This is the southern boundary of the tropics, marking the furthest point south at which the sun can be seen directly overhead at noon. Find the Tropic of Capricorn Monument surrounded by picturesque mountains and bushveld. The kopjes here are sacred to some of the nearby communities and many traditional clan rituals are held here.
Regarded as a living museum, Bakone Malapa is a reconstructed village in the style used by the northern Sotho about 250 years ago. The cultural village consists of two homesteads that display and explain traditional fire making, maize grinding and beer brewing. You can also expect handcraft demonstrations covering pottery, basketry and beadwork, the results of which you can buy at the local craft shop and take home with you. Souvenirs for friends and family? Sorted.
Places to eat in Polokwane
Where else in the world can you put “mopane worms” and “fine dining” into the same sentence? Only in Polokwane, it would seem. Here, they’re so elegantly served and so tasty that you probably won’t even notice you’re eating grubs. You will, luckily, also find other less squirm-inducing things on the menu. Try the oxtail and definitely order something off the spectacular wine list – it’s the best in Polokwane! Once your belly is full, you can visit the cigar lounge or champagne bar.
Leisurely breakfasts and lunches can be savoured on the patio overlooking the beautiful garden and the kids’ playground. Sample fresh scones, muffins, cakes and other pastries from the bakery, as well as gourmet cheeses and homemade breads.
If you’re one of those people that battle to choose just one dish off the menu, this is for you. You can try everything from the buffet without running the risk of order envy! From the buffet you can expect delicious soups, salads, fresh breads, vegetables, stews and grilled meats. The à la carte menu will thrill your taste buds with the likes of passion fruit sole with beurre blanc, rogan josh lamb curry with basmati rice and sambals, and blue-cheese and fig rump steak. Enjoy your meal overlooking the Sterkloop Nursery.
Conveniently situated in the CBD, this makes the perfect location for business meetings over coffee. Choose from breakfasts big or small and enjoy cakes and light lunches. If you’re hungrier than usual, try the gourmet sandwiches. When it comes to coffee and tea, you’ll be spoiled for choice, so you can always get a good caffeine buzz going on at Coco Affair.
Doing business in Polokwane
10. Catch a flight into Polokwane airport if you don’t feel like driving. Otherwise, it’s roughly a 3-hour drive from Johannesburg. This means that it’s not too far to travel for business meetings. In terms of trade and transport, Limpopo is conveniently linked to the Maputo port by rail, and is a mere 200 km from the Zimbabwe border – making it a gateway to other African countries.
While in Polokwane on business, a good place to stay is the Polokwane Town Lodge – it’s close to everything you’ll need in Polokwane, like the city’s conference centre, the reptile and bird park, and the African arts and crafts markets. For your business convenience, there’s also Wi-Fi, fax, and photocopy facilities.