Limpopo’s tourism authorities want to attract more international visitors.
The province’s best small travel businesses are on display at the Tourism Indaba in Durban.
The Indaba is the industry’s biggest gathering on the continent.
Limpopo is the country’s most northern province, and prides itself on its diverse wildlife, magnificent landscapes and cultural diversity.
Nearly 30 kilometre’s outside Polokwane, lies Tiveka Lodge.
It’s nestled in the hills of the Makapan Valley and has been part of the province’s tourist attractions for almost a decade.
The owner of the lodge, Tiveka Mathumbu says her family inspired her to start the business.
As a young child, she worked at her father’s shop, cooking for customers.
“I’m a teacher by profession so when I resigned, I needed to start something that can be sustainable, on the other hand, I grew up in a business family, people used to come to the shop and buy and we would cook for them. We were 28 children, so we used to cook for people. So when I resigned I said let me start something whereby I can host people,” said Tiveka Mathumbu, Tiveka Lodge owner.
Mathumba opened the lodge in 2008, with just six cabins and three employees.
It now boasts more than 70 staff and can host more than 200 guests.
“Starting a business is not easy, you need to be financially viable, so the little money that I had I used it here, It’s not easy. When we arrived here it was a hunting lodge and not good for tourism, so I started working on it, you know it’s a big farm 332 hectors another challenge was that it had animals so I had to learn how to take care of them.”
Mathumba says tourism, like any other business, is about passion. She’s gathering ideas from her visitors about what they want or enjoy. She said this gives her ideas about expanding the business.
Mathumba’s guests have asked her to arrange tours around the area.
She’s introduced a wildlife game drive and a historical tour, that includes the country’s first gold mine – The Eersteling Monument.
The lodge has also become a popular wedding destination – but Matumba says, the ideas are still growing.
“My five-year plan is to have a golf course, there are also soccer people who are asking for a soccer field, they want to be stationed here and their teams can train here,” said Mathumbu.
Limpopo Tourism prides itself in helping small businesses to get a foothold in the industry and provides a marketing service.
The province is popular with locals, but its biggest challenge is attracting international tourists.
“More often than not to start is a challenge but we say we are here as Limpopo tourism, to take them through and make them accessible to the market so that they are able to compete with their counterparts,” said Bibi Kotsedi, Limpopo Tourism Interim CEO.
Limpopo has the Kruger National Park on its doorstep.
It also offers a unique mix of food and culture from the TshiTsonga, vhaVenda and the baPedi.