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What You Need To Know

Polokwane, meaning “Place of Safety” in Northern Sotho, is a city in the Polokwane Local Municipality and the capital of the Limpopo province, South Africa. Polokwane is South Africa’s largest urban centre north of Gauteng. It was one of the host cities of the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

Population

Polokwane has a opulation of almost 651, 474. Over 94% Of the residents are black and mostly belong to the Pedi, Tsonga–Shangaan,Venda and Ndebele groups. 6% of the population are white, coloured  and indian.

Area

Total: 106.84 km2 (41.25 sq mi)

Currency

Rand (ZAR)

History

In the 1840s, Voortrekkers under the leadership of Andries Potgieter established Zoutpansbergdorp, a town 100 kilometres (62 mi) to the north west. This settlement had to be abandoned because of clashes with the local tribes. They founded a new town in 1886 and named it Pietersburg in honour of Voortrekker leader Petrus Jacobus Joubert. The British built a concentration camp at Pietersburg during the Boer War to house almost 4,000 Boer women and children. The town officially became a city on 23 April 1992; on 25 February 2005, the government declared the official name of the city as Polokwane, a name that was generally in use by the speakers of Northern Sotho. The city was the site of the ANC national conference which saw Jacob Zuma take over as head of the party.

Climate

Polokwane features a semi-arid climate under the Köppen climate classification. Despite its position on the Tropic of Capricorn, the climate is tempered by its position on a plateau 1230 meters above sea level.  Average temperatures reach around 21–22 °C (70–72 °F) in January and fall to 11 °C (52 °F) in July. As with much of inland South Africa, Polokwane has experienced notably warmer seasons over the last decade than its long term average. Polokwane has a dry climate with a summer rainy season and a pronounced dry spell during winter. Average annual rainfall is 495 millimetres (19.5 in), with December or (less often) January the wettest month and July the driest.

Transport

Air

A public airport, Polokwane International Airport, (IATA: PTG, ICAO: FAPP), is located just North of the city. There are daily flights to Johannesburg.

Road

Polokwane lies roughly halfway between Gauteng (300 km) and the Zimbabwean border (200 km) on the N1 highway, which connects Zimbabwe with the major cities of South Africa, such as Pretoria, Johannesburg, Bloemfontein and Cape Town.

Running east, the R71 connects the city with Tzaneen, Phalaborwa and the Kruger National Park.

The Nelson Mandela road traffic island is situated on the outskirts of Polokwane when approaching from the direction of Johannesburg. It was built prior to the 2010 FIFA World Cup as part of beautifying the city for the event.

There are a number of private bus services running in the city and also services connecting Polokwane to other major centers in the country.

Railways

Polokwane is connected to Johannesburg and other major centres via rail. Agricultural produce in the area, including tomatoes, citrus fruit, bananas and avocados, is also transported via freight rail.

Media

The South African Broadcasting Corporation has a branch located in the city. The city also hosts a branch of the country’s largest independent radio station, Jacaranda RM/FM, which is broadcast from either Pretoria, Nelspruit or Polokwane. The first and only commercial radio station in Limpopo, CapricornFM also broadcasts from the city. The city has a selection of locally distributed newspapers and an online publication named Hello Polokwane.

Tourism

Polokwane provides access to various nature and wildlife viewing opportunities for ecotourists. The Polokwane Bird and Reptile Park is home to over 280 species of birds. The Polokwane Game Reserve houses various South African species of wildlife, birdlife, and plants in an unspoiled bushveld environment. The Moletzie Bird Sanctuary protects rare birds like the Cape vulture. The Modjadji Rainforest near Duiwelskloof holds the largest concentration of indigenous cycads in the world, and Cheune Crocodile Farm provides a place to learn about the life of crocodiles.

An extensive art collection is preserved in Polokwane’s art gallery, open to the public. The city has more public sculptures per capita in its parks than elsewhere in South Africa. Polokwane was also the first to unveil a bust of the ex-president Nelson Mandela in its City Square (Civic Gardens), and it was authorised by Nelson Mandela personally.

The city is considered the premier hunting destination in South Africa.