Limpopo DestinationsSchoemansdal, Soutpansberg
The little town of Schoemansdal, 12 kilometres west of Makhado off the R522 en route to Vivo, began as one of the most important trading centres in the then Northern Transvaal in the time of largely renegade and shady dealings in ivory, horns, skins, salt and wood.
The town, established by the first Voortrekkers to the area, was deserted after only thirty years due to a particularly ferocious attack by Venda warriors. When the Republic regained control of the area, Schoemansdal was disregarded and a settlement created at Makhado. As a result, Schoemansdal is the only Voortrekker settlement in South Africa that did not evolve into a modern town.
Instead, the site of the historic village has been converted into an outdoor museum - restored in part as a national monument that portrays the history of the early pioneers that founded the town that was to act as a frontier. It includes a number of old dwellings and buildings in a recreation of a range of aspects of settler life - definitely worth a visit because of the humble reality it portrays. Settler life takes on a new reality when depicted in this way.
Other things to do in the area include the Hanglip (formerly known as Hangklip) Forest picnic site - great for bird and tree watching as all the trees in the montane forest are marked, and the Indigenous Tree Sanctuary in Louis Trichardt at the intersection of the N1 and Trichardt Street.