Category Archives: General

Roots of Rhythm

South Africa’s stories aren’t just in the way we live or the food we eat. They’re not just in the traditions we practice, the histories we repeat or the languages we speak. They’re in our music and movement. And they’re in the powerful rhythms of our songs and the physicality of our dances. Sometimes they only begin where words end. And there are more of them than you can imagine.

Watching a performance called Roots of Rhythm, by a song and dance group in South Africa’s Lowveld region, reminded me that the body has its own language, which is older and more universal than any of our 11 official languages, and eloquently speaks through movement and music.

Dancers Roots of Rhytm

The stories will stay with you, not because they’re true or definitive, but because you felt them in your body, right from the moment the rhythm reached out and pulled you in. You’ll find it has some roots in you too.

The show’s performers are a group of about a dozen people who come from the towns and villages on the western edge of the Kruger National Park. Working with Maureen Lahoud, who traded the bright lights of the international entertainment scene for the more laid-back pace of life in the bush, they’ve put together a show that uses song and dance to share with visitors their version of the area’s rich and diverse past and its mix of languages, cultures and identities. With a script written by Michael Gardner from the Village Tourism Trust in Haenertsburg, Limpopo, the narrative is based on fact and rooted in the dances and songs of the area’s cultures.

‘I’ve been on my own journey of discovery, learning more about South Africa through the people that I am working with,’ says a proud and enthusiastic Lahoud. On the morning I visit, the group is practising part of its routine for its lunchtime show at the Nyani Cultural Village, a new development just outside of Hoedspruit in Limpopo. It’s the group’s current base, but the group also regularly travels to events and lodges to perform, and there are plans to provide tours and accommodation at the venue.

2004-12-22 02.59.35

Landy Mokgope singing

While the dancers and musicians aren’t formally trained, their talent is unequivocal. ‘The technical stuff you can teach, but that other thing, that comes from somewhere deep within each one of them,’ says Lahoud. The storytelling component of the show is a vehicle for the songs and dance, and the historical snippets work together as a narrative, woven together to entertain. ‘It’s a journey for all of us,’ says Daniel Malem, who is a barber and also records music CDs.

As he notes, the show is more than just a way for the performers to express themselves. The professional training the dancers and musicians receive has economic importance in areas like Acornhoek or Bushbuckridge, where high unemployment is a problem.

By creating work for the performers that they enjoy, the show is also a way to help young people benefit from tourism and adds value and diversity to the experiences people can enjoy when they’re visiting the area.

Who knows what happens next in the story as the performers explore their own creativity, interpret aspects of their heritage and begin to tell other stories from their lives and their region?

While part of the motivation for the show was creating jobs while conserving culture, it’s really about entertainment. The thread of dialogue that runs through each performance to provide context and interpretation is probably not what you’ll remember when you’re back home.

Bongani Khumalo, Nyiko Ollen Makama, Letsatsi Ramonyai and Providence Shiloane

What you will recall, though, is the soaring sound and the athleticism of the dancers. You’ll recount the drama and emotion the performers channel through their voices and their bodies. You’ll recollect the energy of the show: Daniel on the drums; Providence as she dances; Hendrick (who is also a builder) as he defies time and gravity, becoming a Zulu warrior as he leaps into the air. And you’ll think of the colours and the camaraderie.

The stories will stay with you, not because they’re true or definitive, but because you felt them in your body, right from the moment the rhythm reached out and pulled you in. You’ll find it has some roots in you too.

Face

The show is available daily by reservation only, and times can be adjusted to accommodate groups. Call Maureen Lahoud + 27 (0)83 785 5354 or email ror@ecoranger.co.za for more information.

Citrus – A Superfood

Citrus – One of 10 top superfoods!

Citrus – are rich in vitamin C, fibre and rich in potassium and folic acid. Both oranges and grapefruit have been found to be rich in powerful antioxidants. The pain of a bee sting can relieve it with lemon juice.

Most citrus fruits are soft and juices are ideal for making syrup, jellies and kitchen and oven.

The most popular variety used by home gardeners include citrus lemon, grapefruit, lemon, orange, tangerine and tangelo. While the fruit is very popular among gardeners, some people grow citrus trees for their attractive glossy evergreen leaves and fragrant flowers.

Citrus Packaging Lemons

Most species are not resistant to frost, but some tolerate light frosts, and the lemon is more durable and resistant to cold and less cold lime with the best people who left in subtropical areas and can provide a suitable microclimate.

The citrus fruit must be well drained, slightly acid clay soils are cultivated. Plant in a sunny and sheltered from the wind, especially during the summer months.

If the weather is too cold to grow citrus in the ground, you should consider growing dwarf varieties in containers or in a greenhouse.

Citrus need regular watering and fertilization. To promote good citrus require large amounts of potassium and nitrogen to grow strongly.
Orange Factory  Citrus Packhouse Lemon Packing
Most citrus flowers in spring, soon after fruiting. The fruit begins in the fall (autumn) or mature in early winter, depending on the type, and the sweetness increases later. Some citrus fruits such as grapes can ripen up to 18 months.
Citrus Trees
There is not much need for pruning citrus. Only dead or diseased branches or branches that circumcision cut.

Citrus may be subject to a number of diseases and parasites. The best way to avoid this is to ensure that you buy healthy organic plants grafted onto rootstocks selected for disease resistance and robustness. The best time to plant is in a permanent place in the spring and autumn (fall).

Maintaining a healthy citrus to grow strongly. The roots tend to dig near the surface of compost or manure on the floor instead of the trunk to rot, to avoid problems later add.

While the grass looks nice around your citrus is not a good idea, because I can compete with other plants.
Ripe Citrus
The cultivation of citrus grafted acquired from the local nursery, because it tends to hybridize quite easily, which means that if you try to push an orange suit, you can keep your tree of ripe fruit and fruit and vegetables are very disappointed.

Citrus fruits are very easy to breed, put your garden beautiful and delicious fruit with you for many years.

About Citrus

Citrus – Most popular fruit type and extremely nutritious”

Clemengold FruitCitrus is widely believed to have originated in ancient years in South East Asia. The earliest reference to citrus is before 300BC. In South Africa, however, the first orange and lemon trees were planted in 1654 in the gardens of the Dutch East India Company, in the area which is now known as Cape Town. The first known recorded exports of citrus took place in 1902 to England – based on a letter from Rudyard Kipling on the quality of the fruit. However, the first official exports of South African citrus took place in 1907 when the government of the day made money available to start the export process of Citrus products to England.

Orange Blooms Clemengold Branch

Today, the South African citrus industry is fully independent, without any government subsidies. Both growers and exporters are well organised in Industry Organisations and all quality control measures are being handled by an independent body, namely the Perishable Exports Control Board.

Citrus is cultivated nearly all provinces of South Africa, but the highest concentration of citrus is found in the Northern Province, the Mpumalanga region and the Eastern Cape. South Africa cultivates all the main citrus varieties i.e. Pomelos, Grapefruit (Red/White/Pink), lemons, Navel types, Valencia types and Soft Citrus varieties.

The average industry citrus export crop is approximately 1.7mil tons with Valencia types – 43%, Navel varieties – 23%, Lemons – 10%, Soft Citrus/Manderin Varieties – 8% and Pomelos and Grapefruit – 16%.

OrangesLimes

Grapefruit

South African citrus is well known for its excellent colour and high internal quality. This is due to the cold winter nights and mild winter day time temperatures. In many trade circles it is the preferred origin for citrus. South Africa citrus is being exported all over the world with an ever-growing demand

ZZ2 Afrikado crop is ‘Ripe and Ready’

AvoGeneric5 AvoGeneric4 AvoGeneric3 AvoGeneric2

The new avocado season is upon us and the first fruit has been picked and is on its way to fresh produce markets!

ZZ2’s Afrikado brand is entering a new phase with the first fruit of new plantings being harvested for the first time. Last year, a major part of ZZ2’s avocado crop was destroyed by hail. “The new crop looks promising and we are excited about its prospects,” says Clive Garrett, Marketing Manager of ZZ2.

This week, two cultivars, Galil and Simmonds, were the first to be delivered to the Johannesburg and Pretoria fresh produce markets. These cultivars were harvested and packed one week ago. From the pack house in Mooketsi,­­ they were transported to ZZ2’s ripening facility in Lanseria where they are kept under ideal ripening conditions and delivered to supermarkets according to their requirements.

Avocado Packers Avocado on tree Avocado Fields

“Ripe and ready” avocados have been introduced to fulfil consumers’ need to have their avocado ready to use when bought. An avocado only starts to ripen once it has been harvested, it does not ripen on the tree. Picking starts when the fruit’s moisture content is at a required level, depending on the cultivar. Fruit is hand-picked and stalks are trimmed with sanitised clippers.

“Lower-altitude orchards come into production in early March and trees at higher altitudes produce well into December, allowing ZZ2 to supply avocados for 12 months of the year,” says Clive.

About 20% of the crop is reserved for the local market. For export, avocados are mechanically sized, packed, and then rapidly cooled in high-humidity coolers to 5,5°C. Once cooled, the avocados are shipped to Europe, the Far East and the UK where they will be ripened according to need.

ZZ2’s Afrikado has become an established and sought-after brand and worldwide the demand is increasing.

ZZ2 is working very closely with the South African Avocado Growers’ Association and other Exporters to get the Chinese market open to South African avocados. The demand from China over the last few years has become enormous. Even the demand from South Africa’s old established markets is growing as more and more people cotton onto the health benefits of avocados and the many ways they can be used from the simple “avo on toast” to sushi and puddings. The avocado must rank as one of the most versatile fruits around apart from its incredible health benefits.

Avocados   Avo Oil RangeSouth Africans can look forward to Fuerte, Maluma Hass, Pinkerton, Ryan, Lamb Hass, Reed, Queen and Hass varieties in the next few months. Each of these varieties has its own unique properties and taste. The green-skinned Fuerte is a creamy avocado and will be available from mid- to late February from our orchards in the lower lying areas in the Mooketsi valley. From mid to late May we can look forward to the Hass variety which has a nutty taste. Its skin blackens when ripe and is favoured in European countries. In between the Fuerte and Hass there are a number of other green skins with the Lamb Hass, Reed and Queens coming towards the end of the year.

Download Chicken Avo Friiters Recipe here:  Chicken Avo Fritters

Avo Fritters

Kaross – A Rural Embroidery Project

Kaross is a rural embroidery project in Limpopo’s peaceful Letsitele Valley that helps create jobs and uplift the local community by combining the area’s traditional arts and craft skills with modern marketing plans and design techniques to create a smorgasbord of home and fashion accessories.

Kaross Embroidery

Did you know?

The Kaross embroidery project also has an outlet in Parkhurst, Johannesburg

Local artist Irma van Rooyen founded the Kaross rural embroidery project 20 years ago with five women farm workers.

Sitting on a kaross (blanket), the women began to embroider images from their own culture with the aim of making modern artworks from traditional arts and craft skills.

Today Kaross employs nearly a thousand people from the Limpopo province’s Letsitele Valley and Giyani communities, giving a modern voice to traditional Tsonga culture.

Kaross creates high quality linen, tableware, art pieces, wall hangings and fashion accessories, each piece 100% handmade and proudly South African.

The images are bold and colourful, drawing on Tsonga mythology. They tell of the greatness of the elephant and the strength of the crocodile. They talk of the hare’s jokes, the flick of the fish, the flight of the bird; and of love, life and marriage.

You can visit the Kaross workshop and witness how the images are designed and embroidered. The project is housed in a double-volume barn set on a citrus farm in Letsitele. Spend time browsing through the shop and studio, and meet some of the people whose lives have changed as a result of the project.

Kaross is ‘rewriting Tsonga culture by exploring its heritage and reapplying it to modern, marketable products and artworks’, says founder Irma van Rooyen. The embroidery project is sustainable and has strengthened cultural awareness in the area.

Kaross Arts and Crafts

Travel tips & Planning info

Who to contact

Kaross Embroidery Project/Kaross Textiles
Tel: +27 (0)15 345 1458
Email: info@kaross.co.za

How to get here

From Johannesburg take the N1 until the Tzaneen turn-off. From Tzaneen, take the R71 to Phalaborwa. Turn left onto the Giyani road after 15km and follow the signs to Kaross.

Best time to visit

The Letsitele Valley can be extremely hot in summer, so its best to visit in winter, spring or autumn. Winter is a great time because it’s citrus season.

Length of stay

Spend a morning or afternoon watching the artists and crafters at work.

What to pack

Plenty of sunscreen and a hat, no matter the season.

Where to stay

There are plenty of charming guesthouses, B&B’s and hotels in the Tzaneen area.

What to eat

The adjacent Kaross Cafe makes simple soul food and is a good spot for a lunch or coffee stop

Culture and Arts Ruotes

Culture, arts and crafts routes in South Africa help you get to know the country and its people. When you peel back the layers of its history, you find perspective in its culture. And what better way to discover this than journeying along a craft route?

Whether it’s a special initiation dance in the dusty Richtersveld, a church ceremony in a fisherman’s village along the Southern Cape coast, a San cave painting up in the Drakensberg or a jazz party in Soweto, the culture, arts and craft routes of South Africa will take your breath away.

Some of the world’s most celebrated potters and carvers are to be found on the backroads of the Limpopo province, while top-class thatchers live in a mission village on the Agulhas Plain and often fly overseas on special building assignments.

Our musicians now perform at concert halls across the globe while our writers feature at all the important literary festivals. Our film actors and directors are now familiar faces every year on Oscar night in Hollywood, USA.

Handmade Drum

The creative light never goes out on culture routes of South Africa. You hear it when voices come together in harmony at night in a township shebeen, you see it as young children perform dance patterns on a beach, you feel it as you walk through a photographic gallery and see modern history fearlessly recorded for posterity.

When you embark on culture, arts and craft routes in South Africa, you peel back the layers of its conflicts, triumphs and social changes, you find perspective in its culture. And what better way to discover this than to embark on a journey along a certain craft or artist’s route?

Clay Pottery

Kaross Wooden Crafts

 

 

 

 

 

 

The characters that inform the South African cultural landscape are some of the most interesting to have walked on African soil. The routes that celebrate their art are carefully researched, made even more interesting by well-trained guides and terrific hospitality along the way.

And once you’re home and you’ve unpacked that little carving you bought on an arts and craft route of South Africa, the magic comes flooding right back.

Fishing in Public Waters

Dap Naude Dam – This dam is set in the beautiful and tranquil surroundings of the Woodbush Forest Reserve.  Phone – 015 276 4905.

Stanford Lake – Access to these waters is at Stanford Lake College on the R71.  Phone – 012-276 4905.

Ebenezer Dam – Try your luck for trout as well as Bass and Kurper – access to the water and picnic spots is at “Old Smokey“.  Phone – 015 276 5047.

Tzaneen Dam – For the best bass fishing, travel five kilometres to Hans Merensky Nature Reserve or drive down to the town of Tzaneen and turn right into Aqua Park. Drive down Aqua Avenue until you find the entrance to Jetty 3 of the Tzaneen Boat Club. A small entrance fee will be charged.

Trout fishing in private waters can be arranged by appointment.  Contact the Magoebaskloof Tourism Association for information – Phone – 015 276 4972.

Fairview Hotel – Large scale Yellowish – Fly fishing by appointment only – 0829005166

Personal advice from an expert

One of my favourite venues, there is lots to know about Tzaneen. One basic thing you must remember is that Tzaneen is a points dam. What do I mean by that, the article on river channels is mostly based on information gathered on Tzaneen dam!

Firstly your morning fishing is usually good using top waters and spinner baits in the shallows. Also you should find the fish on either the points or in the back of the bays. Also keep a Super Fluke handy if you miss the strike on the top water. Keep an eye out for bait fish you normally see them scatter in the morning when the bass is feeding. Also throw top water when there is cloud cover.

When the sun is up the fish move a bit deeper, depending on weather conditions this might vary from 6ft to 25ft. This is where the channels become important, most of the channels running into the main river channel have structure on them, and this is stump fields, brush piles and trees. Here you can fish plastics, flukes, lizards, brushhog and jigs.

Flukes – Watermelon & watermelon candy slightly spiked tail

Spinner bait – Plain White or White & Chartreuse

Brushog/Lizards – watermelon candy & green pumpkin spiked tail

Jig – black and blue

Trick worm – junebug, green pumpkin or pink

Unfortunately do not have any maps with me but will try and explain areas I would consider. At the launch if you go right towards the dam wall the dam makes a turn to the left, as you come around the corner you will see brushes running far into the water, if you stop here you will also see a little island to your right. These brushes is on a drop off in the water. If you start fishing the brushes from the point right to the back you must find fish you will notice that the one side is much deeper than the other side fish the deeper side of the brushes, I usually throw a fluke on a number 0 mojo weight or spinner bait here. This is a migration point and these bushes keeps on re-loading. Also very good morning spot.

From here you will notice three legs splitting out of the main dam, you can try any three of these legs and look for secondary points and channels I believe most hold fish.

If you go to the left at the launch, the bau just before the bridge and the bay just after the bridge on the left bank usually hold fish. There is a lot of trees in the water here, in the morning I will cast as shallow as I can and work lure towards boat. In the afternoon will fish the channel in about 10 – 15ft of water. Like to use the gp lizard here on a texas weight and be sure to stay in contact with the structure. In the morning also throw top water in the back of the bay. Go check out the back of this bay you will find it interesting.

The bay right across from the launch, the point on the left is also usually good. There is a stump field here and I like to either throw a Carolina 1/4 ounce or a mojo here with a trick worm. If the fishing is very slow I like to throw a pink trick worm in deeper water as this attracts a reaction strike.

Hope this helps!

Let me know.

Mountain Biking & Walking Trails

Cycling the Trail

Mountain Biking

Magoebaskloof is fast becoming Limpopo’s mountain biker’s paradise. Magoebaskloof hosts various mountain biking events every year and has various biking trails marked by the Magoebaskloof Tourism Association. To use these trails you will need a permit, permits can be obtained from Magoebaskloof Hotel. Should you need a mountain bike, we have mountain bikes for rent.

Ebenezer Dam or Stanford Lake

This route stretches 5.3 km along Stanford Lakeand Ebenezer Dam. It is fairly easy to travel and is suitable for families with young children.

The trail is on a fairly flat well used road following the edge of Ebenezer Dam and Stanford Lake. The route distance can be extended by 3km by travelling further along Ebenezer dam and returning the same way.

Cheerio or Sequoia

This route stretches 5km up a hill through the scenic Cheerio and Sequoia Gardens. It is fairly easy to travel and is suitable for families.

The trail also passes through avocado orchards and pine plantations and can be accessed through Cheerio gardens and Sequoia gardens.

Magoebaskloof Adventures

This route stretches for 10km and is only fitted for experienced mountain bikers. The route has 5km of technical single track through Riverine forest around the contours of the Letaba Gorge. The route also has a steep climb complimented by picturesque views of Georges Valley followed by a steep descent towards the end of the trail.

Cheerio/Sequoia/ Bramasole/ Stanford Lake College

This route is 25 km and is preferred by experienced bikers and others who want to test their stamina. It has trails through gardens, dams, plantations, natural forests and streams. This uphill climbs are long and steep but are also complimented by spectacular views of the entire area. The route distance can be extended by 55km by starting your trip from Standford Lake and following the yellow marked route.

Unleash the adventurer in you…Visit the Magoebaskloof Canopy Tours

The Limpopo Province in South Africa is one that is abundant in natural splendor, history (even relics and fossils dating back to prehistoric times) and plenty of pure African culture and heritage. Magoebaskloof is situated between Tzaneen and Polokwane and was once completely inaccessible by human beings, due to its dense vegetation and its location.

Canopy Waterfall Canopy Roping Canopy Cliff Bridge

It is for this reason that the Magoebaskloof Canopy Tours are so special. They take you to a place in this glorious country that has not been touched by urbanization, commerce or development. Rather, this is a place of dense, verdant greenery, misty waterfalls that tumble to the ground in dramatic rumbles and peaceful forests that are home to a huge variety of animal species. There are few more idyllic places on the planet in which to embark on an exciting canopy tour.

Suspended meters above the ground from comfortable, safe harnesses, you can glide above the beauty, seeing it from a new perspective that allows increased visibility and scope. Although these tours are safe and you are always accompanied by a qualified guide, there is no doubt that these slides certainly get the adrenalin pumping and the heart racing as you build up speed high above the ground, soaring over rivers, past waterfalls and through magnificent forests.

Mark&Soncanopy Canopy Children

Throughout the tour, the guide will point out plants, birds and other interesting sights so that you get the opportunity to see as much as possible. All the slides overlook the stunning Groot Letaba River and the Letaba River Gorge. This is without a doubt one of the most breath-taking waterfall gorges in the country.

The entire tour takes about 2.5 hours and includes a lunch, some refreshments, a guide and transport.

  Canoy ToursCanopy Children

About the Canopy Tour

The Magoebaskloof Canopy Tour ® is run by Magoebaskloof Adventures (previously Thaba-Metsi Adventures), which takes the whole concept one step further as thirteen platforms have all been individually designed and built overlooking the spectacular Groot Letaba River. Journey through the ecology and geology of one of the most spectacular waterfall gorges in the province. The Letaba River gorge is home to a wide variety of plant, animal and birdlife – watch out for the Giant Kingfisher.

History of the Canopy Tour – Canopy Tours South Africa first introduced the Canopy Tour concept in October 2001. There are currently 5 other Canopy Tour locations – Tsitsikamma Canopy Tour, Eastern Cape; Karkloof Canopy Tour, Kwa-Zulu Natal; Magaliesberg Canopy Tour, North-West Province; Drakensberg Canopy Tour and Malolotja Canopy Tour, Swaziland.

 

Address               Green Frog Farm, GV11, R528, George’s Valley, Limpopo

Times                    Daily from 08h30 to 15h30.

Contact                +27 (0)83 866-1546

Proudly Brewed in Limpopo

Proudly brewed in Limpopo

Limpopo’s first craft brewery has recently opened its doors, and it is clear to be a runaway success story! Zwakala Brewery is situated in a charming Afro-chic building, overlooking the mountains just opposite the Mina’s Farm Café on the Cheerio road. Proudly brewed in Limpopo, using pure mountain spring water, Zwakala (meaning “come closer”) is getting loads of visitors and rave reviews.

“It’s pumping!” says brew master Luca Tooley, “It’s going really well and beyond expectations”.

The brewery is brewing 24/7, and is open to the public over weekends and on public holidays. Zwakala Brewery has a tasting room inside, where one can sit next to the fireplace or outside at tables under the huge pine trees on sunny days. Children can enjoy themselves at the children’s play area. Guests can do a tour of the brewery and see just how much craft, expertise and passion goes into the production of these fine beers. The tasting room can be hired for birthday celebrations, family days, pre-wedding gatherings or just to appreciate and enjoy this fine local product with friends.

Zwakala produces three different products – Limpopo Lager, Naked Ale and Mountain Weiss. Each batch of beer is handcrafted, nothing unnatural is used in the brewing process – with the most important ingredient being the pure mountain spring water!

For more information contact: 073 791 6797 / or visit www.zwakalabrewery.co.za