Experience Limpopo’s Art at Madi a Thavha Mountain Lodge | iinfo TZANEEN

Fifteen years ago, Dutch immigrants Marcelle Bosch and Aart van Soest bought a vegetable farm in the mountains of northern Limpopo with the dream to open a lodge promoting the unique artistic traditions of the Venda and Tsonga people. Marcelle and Aart named their lodge Madi a Thavha — which means “water from the mountain” in Venda — named for the natural springs that flow down the mountain to feed the farm.
Today Madi a Thavha is a thriving lodge, filled year-round with tourists eager to experience northern Limpopo’s rich cultural traditions and natural beauty. The lodge’s 11 luxurious rooms are stunningly decorated with art from the area, incorporating local design features like polished dung floors. The food is hearty and innovative, making use of local and seasonal ingredients. The landscaping is beautiful, with indigenous gardens and a trail up the mountain to an ancient baobab tree. The whole place is delightful and I haven’t even begun to talk about the tours yet.
Staying at Madi a Thavha is not a typical South African bush experience. Although there is some great wildlife-viewing — especially bird-watching — in the Soutpansberg region, Madi a Thavha’s tours focus on art and culture. (But don’t worry, birders, there are tours for you too.)
Madi a Thavha’s local guides have forged strong relationships with the most talented artists in the Giyani and Louis Trichardt areas, many of whom are nationally and internationally acclaimed. Guests have the opportunity to visit woodcarvers, beaders, potters, metal-workers, and textile-makers at their home studios, watching them work and purchasing beautiful art straight from the source. Madi a Thavha also takes guests to visit local musicians, schools, townships, fabric shops, factories, and other innovative businesses in the area. Tours are generally conducted in the guests’ own cars, with the guide as a passenger, but Madi a Thavha can also provide transport at an additional charge.  
Simply driving along, the rural roads of Northern Limpopo is an experience unto itself. Venda’s hilly landscape, dotted with tiny villages, is beautiful and noticeably distinct from the rest of South Africa. 
There is also plenty to do for those who would prefer to relax at the lodge. Madi a Thavha has a lovely pool area (perfect for the hot climate, which is mild even in winter), playground equipment for children, a shop selling well priced locals arts and crafts from the area, and a small but fascinating museum/gallery describing the cultural and artistic traditions of the Venda and Tsonga people. 
And then of course there is the aforementioned hiking trail up to the baobab, which takes only about 30 minutes to reach and is nothing short of magical first thing in the morning. Just around the bend from the baobab is rocky outcrop with a dramatic view of Madi a Thavha and the surrounding valley. It’s tempting to stay up there forever.
Madi a Thavha Mountain Lodge is about 10 kilometers north of Louis Trichardt on the R522. (GPS coordinates: 23° 0' 57.29" Latitude 29° 49' 40.37" Longitude.) Call 015-516-0220 or 083-342-4162 or email info@madiathavha.com. Learn more at madiathavha.com

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