It's arguably Limpopo's friendliest town and certainly one of the province's more wealthy. If you want to explore South Africa, it must be in your itinerary. You'll get a glimpse of Africa you won't find anywhere else. This is the heart of Venda, with one of the richest cultures in southern Africa, where legends abound.
Up in the north-western sector of Limpopo, near the borders of Zimbabwe and Mozambique, Thohoyandou is about a five-hour drive from Johannesburg (or the same as Cape Town to Plettenberg Bay - a frequent weekend jaunt).
Thohoyando was the capital of the "independent" Venda homeland under the apartheid government. Today it falls within the Thulamela District Municipality which covers vast tract of lands, mainly tribal, approximately 2,966km² in extent, with an estimated population of 537,454.
It lies in the foothills of the Soutpansberg mountains on the R524 between Louis Trichardt (on the N1 between Johannesburg and Musina>Zimbabwe) and is only 69km from Punda Maria (the northernmost gate to Kruger National Park which also provides access to Mozambique). The drive from Louis Trichardt is one of the most beautiful in Limpopo and rivals the Magoebaskloof-Tzaneen area. It's a vast fertile, tropical farmland with rolling hills of forests, mango, banana, litchi and avocado.
Thulamela is a Karanga word meaning the “The Place of Giving Birth”. The ancient Thulamela settlement, which has now been declared a national heritage site, is situated north of the Kruger National Park, at the Punda Maria gate. The Vhavenda and Shangaans were the original inhabitants of the area. It was here that they developed strong trade links with traders from the Middle East.