Once serving as the capital of the Republic of Venda, Thohoyandou translates as “head of the elephant” in the local Venda language. It was established in the 1970s on the site of Tshiluvhi village and is now one of the fastest-growing towns in Limpopo. In addition to being home to the University of Venda, it’s on the doorstep of the Nzhelele Nature Reserve.
Things to do in Thohoyandou
North of Thohoyandou are the Tshatshingo Potholes, a series of gigantic sinkholes sacred to the Venda people. They have long been used for ritual purposes, with local witches once drowned here and their bodies never retrieved. Join a guided trek to learn about the region’s cultural heritage and explore the rushing Tshirovha River before diving into one of the potholes for a refreshing swim.
A visit to the Tshatshingo Potholes can be combined with a stop at Tshirovha Falls, a photogenic cascade that can be reached along a short walking trail. Once you’ve built up an appetite, head to the Tshivhase Picnic Park, which overlooks the Thathe Vondo Dam. Alternatively, you can enjoy a stroll through the Thohoyandou Botanical Garden before picnicking beneath one of its mature trees.
Travelling with kids? Don’t miss a visit to Playland Park, a family-friendly water park with pools for all ages. It lies near the shores of Nandoni Dam, which was constructed in the early 2000s for water supply purposes. It’s a popular spot for luring in largemouth bass and kurper, with regular fishing competitions taking place here.
Getting around Thohoyandou
Thohoyandou is around 2.5 hours’ drive from Polokwane International Airport, which has regular flights to Johannesburg. By road, Johannesburg is just under six hours away. Buses connect to Thohoyandou while renting a car is the most convenient way of exploring the region.