Photos of North West and Limpopo Provinces, South Africa

North West Province Arms
Images of the World
Limpopo Province Arms

North West and Limpopo Provinces in South Africa’s North

The North West Province was formed after the end of the Apartheid era in 1994. It is situated between the population centres of Gauteng and Botswana and includes the southwest of the former Transvaal and the northeast of the former Cape Province. The latter includes the province’s capital city of Mahikeng; this was formerly known as Mafeking and served as the capital of British Bechuanaland between 1894 and 1965, although it lay outside its borders; upon Botswana’s independence, Gaborone became its capital.

Tswana Homestead near Zeerust
Tswana location, Polokwane
J.G. Strijdom tunnel
BaPedi land
Landscape past Hoedspruit
Giraffe, Limpopo
Along road to Morebeng
Village of Tshakuma
Market in Sibasa
Roasted caterpillars, Sibasa
Women near the market, Sibasa
Venda boy, Sibasa
View near Sibasa
Between Sibasa and Nzhelele
Venda huts, Nzhelele
Venda women, Nzhelele
Baobab trees
Baobab tree

In 1972 the Tswana “Homeland” or Bantustan of Bophuthatswana, a collection of disjointed parcels of land, had been given self-government with its capital in Mafeking, which was then renamed Mafikeng; in 1977, it was made nominally independent with its capital in Mmabatho, just to its west. Most of Bophuthatswana was incorporated into the North West Province in 1994; Mafikeng and Mmabatho were merged as “Mahikeng”.

The Limpopo Province is the northern part of the old Transvaal and is named after the Limpopo River, which forms its border with Botswana to its west and Zimbabwe to its north. Its capital and largest city is Polokwane, meaning “Sanctuary” in Northern Sotho; it used to be called Pietersburg and was founded in 1886. It was named after Voortrekker Petrus (Pieter) Joubert.

During Apartheid days, disjointed parcels of land made up three Bantu “homelands” or Bantustans. The largest was Lebowa, for the BaPedi (Northern Sotho) people, in the centre; in the east was Gazankulu, for the Tsonga people, and in the north was Venda for the Venda people. All had been declared self-governing during the seventies. Venda even proclaimed independence in 1979, with its capital in Thohoyandou, just north of Sibasa. It was never recognised internationally, and these Bantustans were incorporated into Limpopo Province in 1994.

In the east of Limpopo Province is the Kruger National Park, one of Africa’s largest game reserves with the most extraordinary diversity of wildlife in South Africa, stretching from Mpumalanga to the borders with Zimbabwe and Mozambique. Near the Zimbabwe border are giant baobab trees along the road to Musina, formerly Messina, South Africa’s northernmost town.