Polokwane (Pietersburg) in Limpopo South Africa
Polokwane (Pietersburg), meaning “Place of Safety”,is a city and the capital of the Limpopo province, South Africa. It is also often referred to by its former name, Pietersburg. Polokwane is a major urban centre, the biggest and most important north of Gauteng. Polokwane was one of the host cities of the 2010 FIFA World Cup.
In the 1840s, Voortrekkers under the leadership of Andries Potgieter established Zoutpansbergdorp, a town 100 km to the north west. This settlement had to be abandoned because of clashes with the local tribes.
They founded a new town in 1886 and named it Pietersburg in honour of Voortrekker leader Petrus Jacobus Joubert. The British built a concentration camp at Pietersburg during the Boer War to house almost 4,000 Boer women and children.
Pietersburg / Polokwane officially became a city on April 23, 1992. On February 25, 2005, the government declared the official name of the city as Polokwane, a name that was generally in use by the speakers of Northern Sotho. The city was the site of the ANC national conference which saw Jacob Zuma take over as head of the party.
Polokwane lies roughly halfway between Gauteng (300 km) and the Zimbabwean border (200 km) on the N1 highway, which connects Zimbabwe with the major cities of South Africa, such as Pretoria, Johannesburg, Bloemfontein and Cape Town.
Running east the R71 connects the city with Tzaneen, Phalaborwa and the Kruger National Park.
Polokwane provides access to various nature and wildlife viewing opportunities for ecotourists. The Polokwane Bird and Reptile Park is home to over 280 species of birds.
The Polokwane Game Reserve houses various South African species of wildlife, birdlife, and plants in an unspoiled bushveld environment. The Moletzie Bird Sanctuary protects rare birds like the Cape Vulture.
The Modjadji Rainforest near Duiwelskloof holds the largest concentration of indigenous cycads in the world, and Cheune Crocodile Farm provides a place to learn about the life of crocodiles.
An extensive art collection is preserved in Polokwane’s art gallery, open to the public. The city has more public sculptures per capita in its parks than elsewhere in South Africa. Polokwane was also the first to unveil a bust of the ex-president Nelson Mandela in its City Square (Civic Gardens), and it was authorized by Nelson Mandela personally.
The city is considered the premier hunting destination in South Africa.