Limpopo Province presents another thriller

Limpopo Marula Festival set to stun

marula-festival.jpg

Limpopo Department of Economic Development, Environment and Tourism (LEDET) has made a purposeful economic intervention by developing Cooperatives under the auspices of Limpopo Mukumbi Industries as a viable business industry within the Province. The Department took advantage of the vast concentration of Marula trees found mostly in the sub-tropical parts of the Province. A Company registration was facilitated through the then LIMDEV now LEDA on behalf of communities that are into the Marula industry. To date thirteen (13) co-operatives been developed and are part of formalized community business structures that are responsible for the management of the company. These businesses have been registered with the registrar of Co-Operatives through the  then LIBSA now incorporated into LEDA. 

The Limpopo Mukumbi Industries were officially launched on the 4th March 2006 during the annual Marula Festival hosted in collaborations with the Department of Sports and Culture (DSAC)  at Muti wa Vatsonga, outside Phalaborwa. The Limpopo Mukumbi Industries Pty, Ltd has been the official supplier of the home brewed Morula/Mukumbi/Vukanyi beverage from 2006 until to date. The involvement of these registered Cooperatives had positive spin-offs on investment into the Industry and also employment of rural community members who assist with harvesting and transportation of the fruit annually depending on the demand from the organizers of Marula festival.

This was a purposeful intervention to utilize the festival as a draw card to attract domestic, regional and international tourists to Limpopo during the Marula season as well as to develop the festival as a marketable brand for Limpopo. To this end, a fact-finding mission was carried out in Germany (at the Munich Oktoberfest) in an endeavor to enhance our knowledge and skills on how related festivals are conducted on a sustainable basis. The fact finding mission of the German’s Oktober Beer Festival in October 2006, commonly known as the “Wiesn”, was undertaken in an endevour to take Limpopo Marula Festival to greater heights thereby becoming a sought after brand in the country.

The town of Phalaborwa was declared the permanent home of the festival because of its tourism profile and close proximity to other major tourist destinations including the world’s renowned Kruger National Park incorporated within the Great Limpopo Trans-frontier Park which includes Mozambique and Zimbabwe. The town has a well-developed infrastructure, a top class airport and golf course, a wide variety of tourists’ accommodation, tourism products and numerous game lodges in close proximity. It is easily packaged with products around Hoedspruit, Tzaneen, Modjadji’skloof, Magoebaskloof and Giyani. This location and setting, makes a Limpopo Marula Festival that promises to become a major attraction for locals, domestic and international tourists.

The brand has been established nationally and there is support from national institutions including both the National Department of Tourism, South African Tourism and Department of Arts and Culture, Department of Science and Technology as well as CSRI.

Mopani District where this prestigious event will be held, is home to Modjadji the Rain Queen dynasty, the Queen’s homestead as well as the cycad gardens. The cycads (Encephalartos transvenosus) form a unique natural forest which can be viewed in its prehistoric state thanks to its strict protection by succeeding generations of Modjadji ('rain queens'), the hereditary rulers in the area.

In fact, here the visitor has the privilege of experiencing the 'Alice in Wonderland' atmosphere of the largest concentration of a single cycad species in the world. These protected plant species not only grow in profusion in the area, but are giants in the genus of 29 species, with specimens up 10 to 13m high, and bearing cones that may weigh up to 34kg.

This is also home to Sunland’s Baobab Tree, which is 22m high and some 47m in circumference and is the record holder for its species according to the SA Dendrological Society. Carbon dating estimates the tree is possibly older than the Giza Pyramids and evidence of both Bushmen and Voortrekkers has been found, attesting to the historical importance of this tree. The Sunland Baobab has even made it to the front page of the Wall Street Journal! This world famous Baobab has a trunk that consists of two connected parts with enormous hollows that in turn are connected with a narrow passage. These hollows have been turned into a pub which has seated 60 persons at one time and a wine cellar with a constant temperature of 22 degrees C, ventilated by natural vents.

What better way to explore the splendour and serenity of the Olifants River, than relaxing with a glass of bubbly on the deck of a slow moving boat, watching hippos, crocodiles, birds and a variety of other animals grazing near the Olifants River’s edge.    

Come spend time with local people and immerse yourself in the diversity of our cultures and you will surely take home with you a piece of vhaVenda, vaTsonga, Bapedi, Batswana and Ndebele people’s enchanting customs. Come enjoy the Marula fruit with Elephants and Baboons in the great Kruger National Park, whose 70% resides in Limpopo Province. 

The event media launch was held on 31 January 2014 and this was preceded by media tour of attractions in Modjadjiskloof, Phalaborwa and Hooedspruit on 30-31 January 2014. On the 1st February 2014, there was a traditional ceremony of the tasting of the first fruit (Marula beer) also known as (“Go loma Morula” or “Ku Luma Nguva” or “Ku Luma Vhukanyi“) at Muti wa Vatsonga. 

The weeklong festivities will on 22 February 2014 commence with the music concert that will feature household names such as DJ Ganyani, DJ Oskido, Uhuru, Professor, DJ Brian, Magubane De’ Franchise and others. The festival will on the 1st March 2014  culminate in the open air festival that will feature Stimela, Ringo, Joe Shirimani, Yvonne Chakachaka, Worship House, General Muzka and other local artists.

Activities of this weeklong festival are lined up as follows

Item

Date

Venue

Media Launch

31st  January 2014

CU Guest House

 

Festival of the First Fruit ( Ku Luma Nguva / Go Loma Morula

1st February 2014

Muti wa Vatsonga (Eiland) outside Phalaborwa

Limpopo Marula Festival Street Parade

22nd February 2014

Phalaborwa Town

Limpopo Marula Festival 4x4 Challenge

22nd February 2014

Hlolwa Lodge (Outside Phalaborwa)

Limpopo Marula Festival Indigenous Games

22nd February 2014

Impala Park Stadium (Phalaborwa)

Limpopo Marula Festival Half Marathon

22nd February 2014

From the Kruger National Park to Groen Skool

Brewing of the Traditional Marula Beverage

25th February to 1st March 2014

Ba-Phalaborwa Municipal Lapa

Limpopo Marula Festival Tourism Career Expo

25th – 28th February 2014

Impala Park Stadium (Phalaborwa)

Limpopo Marula Festival SMME’s Exhibition

25th February until the 1st March  2014

Impala Park Stadium (Phalaborwa)

Limpopo Marula Festival Fun Fair Park

25th – 28th February 2014

Impala Park Stadium (Phalaborwa)

Limpopo Marula Festival Golf Challenge & Pro-Am

25th February & 28th February and 1st March 2014

Hans Marensky Golf Estate Hotel

Welcome Dinner

28th February 2014

Impala Park stadium Hall (Phalaborwa)

Limpopo Marula Festival Bulletjies

1st March 2014

Groen Skool (Phalaborwa)

Limpopo Marula Festival Open Air Concert

1st March 2014

Impala Park Stadium (Phalaborwa)

 

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