Activities / Limpopo Province

The Cultural Wealth of the Waterberg

Updated Sunday, 8 January 2017

The Waterberg is a visual extravaganza of the natural wealth and beauty that belongs to South Africa. Characterised by rugged mountain ranges that are sometimes tough to negotiate, but always spectacular to admire, the region is impressive in its sheer scale and topography.

In addition to the natural beauty that characterises Waterberg, there is also a deep cultural significance to the region. It has long been occupied by tribes of hunter-gatherers, who have lived off the produce of the land for centuries. These ones left generations of customs, as well as remnants of their way of life, behind. Past and present converge to create some wonderful cultural attractions in the Waterberg and the Cultural Wealth of the Waterberg…

Cultural Wealth of the Waterberg

These include:

The Makapans Valley World Heritage Site

This site combines history and archaeology to create an attraction that is loved by young and not-so-young alike. This is one of only two sites on the planet that provide an unbroken sequence of artefacts that extend from the Earlier to the Later Stone Ages.

These caves and the Makapans Valleys are part of the Cradle of Humankind World Heritage Site. They provided shelter and habitat to ancient humans and animals, which are believed by many to be the direct ancestors of modern species.

When rediscovered in the 1920’s, there were thousands of fossils left behind. These have shed an enormous amount of valuable light on paleontological and archaeological research. Today, there are tours conducted of the caves, as well as a museum, which has put a number of the most significant findings on display.

The Modimolle Mountains

While the cultural significance of these mountains resonates far more with the locals than visitors, it is a delight for all to explore. The Nyl River (so named as it was believed by the Voortrekkers to be part of the Nile as they supposed they had travelled as far as Egypt), is long and winding.

Local African folk consider this a holy mountain. In fact, its very name means “god has devoured.”  There are fantastic hikes and bird-watching opportunities in these mountains for all to enjoy. (See Modimolle attractions for more info).

Wildlife in the Waterberg

Telekishe Community Project

Right at the foot of the escarpment, boasting stunning views, this project encourages a sense of tourism and local pride. This includes the Telekishe Ramasobana Cultural Village, which has been constructed using authentic Pedi styles and features.

Visitors are encouraged to visit the village and learn about the history, customs and cultures of this fascinating area.

The Lehlabile Cultural Tours

This initiative is a concept of four elderly local women, who have made their own homes available for tourists to visit and explore. Built and run in a traditional Pedi style, these homes provide unique insights into the South African way of life, both past and present.

Tours include a tasting of the traditional foods, hearing about the oral history, learning about customs and beliefs, and visits to local community schools and the cultural wealth of the Waterberg Region.

The culture of a region is integral to its identity, providing visitors with a very special peek into the people behind the area. Do not miss out on this very special aspect of the Waterberg.

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