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Elim in the Limpopo, although not to be confused with Elim in the Cape Agulhas region of the Western Cape, is nonetheless also a mission station, which explains why there is often some uncertainty when the name of the little town arises.
The tiny village of Elim (meaning "place of God"), just south of Makhado (Louis Trichardt) may have idled in obscurity up until now, but since the creation of the Venda art route, which meanders through some incredibly beautiful rural parts of the Limpopo, including Elim, it has become a feature of visits to this part of the world. Elim is famous for its hospital, where missionaries have worked for well over a century and today includes a small museum that commemorates the work of the Swiss doctors and missionaries in South Africa. It’s a wee village, with little other than a few guest houses, lodges and the odd store to entice one to visit.
The Venda art route includes on its itinerary local sculptors and artists of note – artists whose carvings and art work are displayed in galleries in many parts of the world - yet about whom many South Africans know little. The route also includes basket makers, bead workers, potters, crafters, drum-makers and fabric co-operatives, and the Elim hospital and the Rivoni Society for the Blind feature on this route.
The area around Elim offers plenty other opportunities and activities. You can visit the Mambedi Tea Estates, the Middle Letaba Dam, just south of Elim, the Levuvu Tree Park, just east of Makhado, or venture into the land of legend and visit the sacred sites of Phiphidi Falls and Guvhukuvhu Pool.
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Featured Attractions in (or near) Elim
Situated west of Makhado, just off route 521, the Blouberg Nature Reserve lies in relative obscurity in the midst of rural village and farming communities at the foot of the eastern foothills of the Blouberg Mountain, for its part an inselberg of the greater Soutpansberg chain of mountains, even if it is separated from it by ... more information
The enchanted body of water known as Lake Fundudzi is a sacred lake of the Venda people that lies in the heart of the Soutpansberg and is one of the few true inland lake systems in South Africa. Lake Fundudzi can be found on the R523 between Thohoyandou and Louis Trichardt, surrounded by the mythical ... more information
Set right up against the northern border of South Africa, uniting Botswana and Zimbabwe, lies Mapungubwe National Park - an extensive savannah landscape situated at the meeting place of the Limpopo and Shashe rivers. This is the land of sandstone formations, mopane woodlands, brooding baobabs... more information
Lying west of the northern reaches of the Kruger National Park, Nwanedi Game Reserve is particularly scenic situated as it is in the foothills of the Venda Mountains. Nwanedi is home to a rich supply of animals who take advantage of the effortless landscape dominated by umbrella thorn savannah ... more information
The Soutpansberg Conservancy, consisting of 90 000 hectares, was formed to protect an incredibly sensitive and beautiful part of the world. Drive across the arid, flat vastness of the northern Limpopo Province, and the sandstone of the Soutpansberg intermittently breaks into view. That and the... more information
In what can only be described as the far northern reaches of South Africa lies the 36 000 hectare Venetia Limpopo Nature Reserve in the Limpopo Valley. The reserve is called a 'piece of old Africa', not least because of the presence of Baobabs and rather impressive sands ... more information