Head of the elephant
Take a journey into the mystical world of myth and legend with the Venda people.
Enter a land of hero chieftains and albino pythons. Take a journey to the Limpopo Province and explore the history of the Venda people.
The land of the Venda is a beautiful landscape of forests, waterfalls, lakes and rivers, each with its own story of intricately blended history and myth. The Venda people called their home Dzata or “the Good Place”. Exploring this “promised land” will leave you with only the best memories.
The Dzata ruins are the remains of the first South African Venda settlement in the area. They were built from blue stone that is not found in the area. Some speculate that it was carried to the site by slaves when the Venda migrated from central Africa over 600 years ago.
Further up the road in the land of the Venda is the Thathe Vondo forest, a sacred place said to be full of sprites and protected by 2 guardians - Nethathe the white lion (a former chief) and Ndadzi, the lightning bird who, it is told, flies on the wings of thunder.
Inside the forest is the sacred lake of Fundudzi, home of the mythical python - a fertility god. It is said that a young Venda man whose heart was broken after losing his great love walked into the lake and turned into the snake of legend. The young Venda women still perform the Venda-Domba dance of fertility to this day.
Outsiders are required to get special permission from the Venda to visit the lake. It is considered to be so sacred that newcomers must turn their backs and view the lake through their legs. Fortunately for travellers the best place to see the lake is from the surrounding mountains.
If you have not had your fill of legend, stop and take a look at Mpephu's Village from the roadside. No one other than the Venda people may enter. It is the burial place of the Venda chiefs and is looked after by Venda women.
The Phiphidi Falls, also on the same route, is an exquisite place to sit back and relax amid the lush forests of the area. Remember to respect this beautiful spot in the home of the Venda as it is sacred and special - and not just for the Venda people.
Thohoyandou is approximately 4 to 5 hours by car from Johannesburg, or you can fly to Polokwane, which is an hour away.
Car hire is the best way to explore the area. There are also loads of tours that cover the route.
Summer is always the best time. It is the rainy season so rivers are full and the surroundings are green.
The highlights of the land of the Venda can be seen in 2 days but 5 day will give lots of time to fully explore the area.
Walking shoes, a swimming costume, a camera, sunscreen
Tel: +27 (0) 15 290 7300
Thohoyandou, the heart of the VhaVenda nation
A tshikona is the traditional dance of the Venda males to a tune played on pipes made out of indigenous bamboo - each only playing one note, but together creating a melody.
Land of the Venda
Explore myths and legends in a mystical journey into the land of the Venda people of South Africa.