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zebra

Limpopo: quick facts

Capital: Polokwane
Languages: 52.9% Sepedi, 17% Xitsonga, 16.7% Tshivenda
Population: 5 404 868 (2011)
Share of SA population: 10.4%
Area: 125 755 square kilometres
Share of total SA area: 10.3%

Limpopo is the northern most province of South Africa. The capital is Polokwane, formerly named Pietersburg.

The province was formed from the northern region of Transvaal Province in 1994, and initially named Northern Transvaal. The following year, it was renamed Northern Province, which remained the name until 11 July 2003, when the name of the province was formally changed to the name of its most important river–on the border with Zimbabwe and Botswana.

Limpopo Province shares international borders with three countries: Botswana, Zimbabwe and Mozambique. The province is the link between South Africa and countries further afield in sub-Saharan Africa. The province is at the centre of regional, national, and international developing markets.

The province contains much of the Waterberg Biosphere, a UNESCO-designated Biosphere Reserve. The Waterberg Biosphere, a massif of approximately 15,000 km2 (5,800 sq mi), is the first region in the northern part of South Africa to be named as a Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO. The massif was shaped by hundreds of millions of years of riverine erosion to yield diverse bluff and butte landforms. The Waterberg ecosystem can be characterised as a dry deciduous forest or Bushveld. Within the Waterberg, archaeological finds date to the Stone Age. Nearby are early evolutionary finds related to the origin of humans.

The bushveld is cattle country, where extensive ranching operations are often supplemented by controlled hunting. About 80% of South Africa's hunting industry is found in Limpopo.

Sunflowers, cotton, maize and peanuts are cultivated in the Bela-Bela and Modimolle areas. Modimolle is also known for its table-grape crops.

Tropical fruit–such as bananas, litchis, pineapples, mangoes and pawpaws–as well as a variety of nuts, are grown in the Tzaneen and Makhado areas. Tzaneen is also at the centre of extensive tea and coffee plantations.

Tourism is one of the three pillars of the Limpopo economy along with mining and agribusiness. In 2008, the Province accounted for 5% of all foreign tourist bed nights in South Africa, numbers which are showing strong annual growth. The R 93 million Provincial tourism budget for 2010/11 represents 11% of Limpopo's total budget.

 

Limpopo Map

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