Polokwane is a diverse city offering visitors the colorful surroundings of a peaceful city with majestic mountains as a backdrop. Polokwane is known as a gateway to other neighboring cities including Botswana, Malawi, Zambia, Zimbabwe, and Mozambique. With this city as the capital of the northern most province of South Africa, it is also the heart as well as the cultural hub along with being one of the host cities of the 2010 FIFA World Cup, many upgrades are taking place to ensure that all guests and visitors will enjoy their time in Polokwane and get to know the culture and the people of the area.
Besides being in the news as a host city, Polokwane has much to offer visitors with a rich history draped in legends and myths of a time long ago. The history of Polokwane is dotted with a wide array of cultures including the Mapungubwe people, the Rain Queen, and the Modjadji, to name a few. The area is also home to the Baobab tree also known as the upside tree. A glimpse into the legend and myths that are alive in the region include a few centered on the upside tree. One Arabian legend explains the tree in this manner, “the devil plucked up the baobab, thrust its branches into the earth, and left its roots in the air”. A rather good explanation when you first see the tree and realize it does seem to be upside down.
History of Polokwane
Polokwane’s history dates back as far as to the nomads of the Stone Age with the Mapungubwe people living in the area 2,000 years ago. More recently by documentation, a town was established close to 100 km northwest of the center of town today, known as Soutpansbergdorp in the 1840’s. Due to fighting with other clans in the region, the settlement was moved in 1886 and renamed Pietersburg. During the Boer War, the British constructed a concentration camp in the town, which became the home to around 4,000 Boer women and children. On April 23, 1992 the town was declared a city and was given the name the official English name of Polokwane on February 25, 2005. The meaning of the new name is “Place of Safety.”
From this day forward, Polokwane has grown to be a prosperous and busy city full of a wide array of history, culture, and attractions.
Peter Mokaba Stadium – host of the 2010 World Cup
The Peter Mokaba Stadium named after one of the sons that fought for the emancipation of South Africa against the apartheid regime. The new stadium completed in 2009 will be the host to the 2010 World Cup. The stadium is home only around 4km from the center of the city and has the capacity to hold 45,000. Within the 45,000 seating accommodations, 500 seats are reserved for VIP seating with a private entrance, 1,675 seats for media representatives, an 800-m² VIP reception area and lounge, storage areas, offices, and parking.
The design of the Peter Makaba Stadium was inspired by the Baobab tree with the structure supporting the roof gathered at each corner, which is supported by a giant “trunk” similar to the unique tree of the area. The structures of the trunk accommodate service cores and vertical circulation.
Polokwane offers a wide array of transportation options starting at the airport to your lodging accommodations and then to Peter Mokaba Stadium. The majority of the car hire or car rental agencies can be found at the airline terminal instead of about town. Other than car hire companies, you can also find taxis as well as mini-buses.
Whether you choose to rent a car or use public transportation, you will be able to find your way to the stadium. You may even find lodging so close to the stadium that you can walk, but if not no worries as a taxi will be close by.
Lodging Accommodations nearby the Peter Mokaba Stadium
Olivia’s Place allows guests the enjoyment of walking to the Peter Mokaba Stadium as well as a wonderful and comfortable place to stay. The private rooms offer TV, DVD player, clock radio, tea/coffee facilities, workstation, ceiling fan, and more. Breakfast is an added benefit.
Fusion Boutique Hotel is also only a short distance from the stadium offering a wide array of services including wheelchair accessible, laundry service, Jacuzzi, internet, satellite TV, and airport shuttle service to name a few. English is not spoken at this hotel. The languages spoken include Dutch, Zulu, Xhosa, Afrikaans, Northern Sotho, Sotho, Swati, Tsonga, and Venda.
These are only a couple of the local lodging facilities nearby the stadium. There is a large variety of various types of accommodations including self-catering, hotels, and bed & breakfast.
Restaurants in the area
A visit to Polokwane without partaking of the delectable cuisine would be mistake on the part of the visitors. There are all kinds of restaurants offering visitors a chance to allow their palate to enjoy a new and exciting adventure from local African cuisine to steakhouses to Japanese; everyone will be able to find a favorite.
A few of the most popular restaurants in Polokwane nearby the stadium include the Africa Hut, Amogela, Champion Foods, Bham’s Polar Ice Cream, and Burger Box.
Things to do in Polokwane
When you are not at the Peter Mokaba Stadium enjoying the 2010 World Cup, you may wish to venture off and see a few of the attractions around Polokwane. The area is home to a large variety of attractions including shopping excursion, caves, and other venues and attractions.
The most popular attractions found in Polokwane include Jembe Tavern, Makapan’s Cave, and Lake Fundudzi & Thathe Vondo Forest.
Jembe Tavern is the place that local residents go to relax and enjoy a few drinks after a long day at work. The tavern offers comedians, local bands, karaoke nights, and of course the chance to get to know a few of the locals.
Makapan’s Cave is not actually home in Polokwane but is only a short distance in Mokopane. Many travelers have Makapan’s Cave as their top attraction in the area and visit it each time they come to the city. A journey back to the Stone Age will truly be an exciting adventure as you discover the wonders in the Cave of Hearths as well as a visit to the Cave of Gwasa, which was a place of refuge for many during conflicts throughout the ages.
If you wish to visit the most mystical place in the area, then you must venture off to Lake Fundudzi and Thathe Vondo Forest. Lake Fundudzi is known as a magical place by the locals, which is wrapped in Venda lore. The Thathe Vondo Forest is a sacred place to the Venda people and is also a place of peace.