The Soutpansberge is without a doubt one of South Africa’s best kept secrets. Tucked away in the far north of the Limpopo province, a cozy four hours and a rough dirt road away from Johannesburg, it’s a mountain range inhibited by the local Venda people who opened their huts for our stay on day 15.
The Soutpansberge got its name from the salt pan located to the west of it. We visited the Leshiba wilderness area whilst there and could easily have stayed another few days (as Thabo Mbeki did when holidaying there in 2003). The area has a unique biodiversity of flora and fauna, as well as many of the animals found in our national parks. They can also boast with a successful white rhino breeding project and a snake venom farm (not my favorite part).
We stayed in a Venda village that evening (renovated to a 4 star level to accommodate the needs of tourists) and one of our hosts showed us the hut in which she was born. Two of the crew members slept in another hut, the one Mbeki used during his stay in 2003.
Although not unique to the Venda’s, we were shown how to braai boerewors strait on the coals – no grills involved – and were treated to out first potjie of the tour, a classic lamb potjie recipe with the twist of using lamb shanks.
The Soutpansberge is a national treasure and one almost hopes that the tourist herd will stay away for a while longer. Truly a unique place for our fifteenth day on tour.
We were hosted by Leshiba Wilderness (www.leshiba.co.za 011 726 6347) and they took great care of us.