Limpopo (until 11 June 2003 Northern Province, prior to that Northern Transvaal, before 1994 the region was part of the Transvaal) is the northernmost province of South Africa. The capital is Polokwane (formerly Pietersburg). The name of the province was formally changed to the name of its most important river, on the border with Zimbabwe, after deliberation by the provincial government. Other notable considerations were Mapungubwe, the area where the most ancient gold-using civilisation of the province was discovered a few years earlier. The tribe seemed to have strong links to the ruins and civilisation of Great Zimbabwe.

97.3% of the population is Black, 0.2% is Coloured, 0.1% is Indian/Asian, and 2.4% is White. The most common spoken languages are Tsonga, Northern Sotho, Venda and Afrikaans


The population of Limpopo consists of several ethnic groups distinguished by culture, language and race. The Northern Sotho (Sepedi) make up the largest number, being nearly 57 %. The Tsonga (Shangaan) speakers comprise 23 % while the Venda make up 12 %. Afrikaans speakers make up 2.6 % while English-speaking whites are less than half a per cent. Within the borders of the province are the four previous administrations which were created during the apartheid era: Lebowa, Gazankulu, Venda and Transvaal Administration


Limpopo map

Limpopo Province

shares international borders with three countries: Botswana to the west and north-west, Zimbabwe to the north, and Mozambique to the east. The province is the link between South Africa and countries further afield in sub-Saharan Africa. On its southern flank, the province shares borders with

Gauteng, with its Johannesburg-Pretoria axis, the most industrious metropole on the continent. Thus the province is placed at the centre of regional, national, and international developing markets.

The province has excellent road, rail, and air links. The N1 route from Johannesburg, which extends the length of the province, is the busiest overland route in Africa in terms of cross-border trade in raw materials and beneficiated goods. The port of Durban, Africa’s busiest, is served directly by the province, as are the ports of Richard’s Bay and Maputo. The Gateway International Airport is situated in Polokwane, the capital of the province.