Polokwane is the capital city of Limpopo, and has a vibrant mix of people and culture. Polokwane has great restaurants, art galleries, museums, jazz clubs and shopping centres. It’s also called the gateway city because it’s a stepping stone to a diversity of natural attractions from mountains to wilderness areas.
Polokwane is the urban heartbeat of Limpopo province. From great African jazz clubs to the biggest shopping centre in Limpopo, Polokwane has an entertaining mix of city adventures, and plenty of game reserves and natural attractions right on its doorstep.
Polokwane has a lively and bustling downtown area, set around the pleasantly green and artistic civic centre. Here you can visit the Polokwane Art Museum which has an excellent collection of South African art, check out the early history of the city in the fascinating photographs on display at the Hugh Exton Photographic Museum, and take a rewarding stroll through Irish House, a bright green building with a comprehensive collection of exhibits from pre-history to Victorian and modern times. North of the city is Bakone Malapa Museum, an open air ‘living’ museum that showcases traditional northern Sotho culture.
Meropa Casino & Entertainment World is on the southern outskirts of Polokwane, and rises up like an ancient African palace under modern skies. With its choice of clubs, conference venues, coffee shops and restaurants, Meropa has long been the place to see and be seen amongst Polokwane’s hip and happening people. Meropa’s Jembe Tavern is a cosmopolitan Afro-chic jazz club and the capital city’s grooviest place to meet, greet and get on down all night long.
From fine dining and gourmet cuisine, to organic delis and traditional fare, Polokwane has plenty of good eating spots. It also has the biggest shopping centre in Limpopo and many places to get good arts, crafts and curios. And it’s easy to escape the urban hustle and bustle when you want to. On the city’s doorstep, you’ll find lots of natural attractions including game reserves, mountains and wilderness areas. You can walk with lions at The Ranch Hotel, south of the city, or take a quiet game drive at the Polokwane Game Reserve, ten minutes from the city centre.
How to get to Polokwane
There are daily flights from Johannesburg to Polokwane International Airport, and a daily bus service from Johannesburg. It’s a three-hour drive from Johannesburg. Take the N1 to Polokwane.
Best time to visit Polokwane
Polokwane is a year-round destination, but try to avoid Easter as millions of members of the ZCC (Zion Christian Church) come to Polokwane on pilgrimage.
Around the area
Walk with the lions at The Ranch Hotel; visit the quaint village of Haenertsburg, famed for its surrounding mountains, rivers and waterfalls; go on a tour of Makapan’s Valley Heritage Site, sister site to the Cradle of Humankind at Sterkfontein.
Tours to do in Polokwane
Go on a guided game drive at the Polokwane Game Reserve. Take a tour of the local shebeens and taverns.
Get around Polokwane
Downtown Polokwane is easy to explore on foot. The city also has plenty of buses, taxis and car rental companies.
Length of stay
Take a weekend to explore the city and surrounds.
What to pack
Urban gear for inner city adventures, and outdoor gear for discovering the natural attractions beyond the city.
Where to stay in Polokwane
Polokwane has a wide range of places to stay, from five-star hotels to budget B&Bs. Fusion Boutique Hotel is the city’s hippest five-star spot, offering stylish accommodation and excellent cuisine. African Roots is a quiet and artistic guesthouse in a beautifully restored Victorian home. The Ranch Hotel is a pleasant overnight spot on the outskirts of Polokwane, with good restaurants, rambling gardens, conference and wedding facilities.
What’s happening in Polokwane
Sunday jazz at Jembe Tavern at Meropa Casino & Entertainment World, the Polokwane Wine Show in July.
Arts, crafts and curios from all over Africa.