See the vibrant rural colours and art along your way to Punda Maria gate

To Kruger National Park Punda Maria gate

Enjoy our hip, rural region. See wonderful and original art along the road. Experience the vibe of Thohoyandou on your way to Punda gate.

First stop Elim.

This is a route from Madi a Thavha Mountain Lodge to the Punda Maria gate of the Kruger National park, approximately 150 km east of our lodge along the southern foothills of the Soutpansberg mountains. The drive from Madi a Thavha mountain lodge first makes a stop at Elim, to get a feel of the local atmosphere and vibe: women selling fruit and vegetables, hair dressers, the local shebeen and the taxi & bus station, a photographer’s paradise.

David Murathi inspired and inspiring

Driving in the direction of Levubu and Malamulele, travelers pass the village of Mashau where artist and herbalist David Murathi works from his home in a rural village. He sculpt various indigenous woods into stunning sculptures and functional art like towel rails and hooks and mirror frames.  His homestead, workshop and small gallery is a very worthwhile visit. His inspiration is drawn from dreams and ancestral spirits and each object he carves is a true piece of art. David knows a lot about traditional healing and in his garden is full of indigenous, medicinal plants.

World renowned Noria Mabasa

From David’s place the route continues in the direction of Vuwani and Thohoyandou, passing Tshino village and the bridge across the Luvhuvhu river. After the bridge, a sign leads travelers to world renowned artist Noria Mabasa. She runs a large gallery at her homestead where she mostly carves large wooden sculptures and teaches students to sculpt and do pottery.

Thohoyandou, the Head of the Elephant

The next destination is Thohoyandou, previously the capital of the Venda homeland. Thohoyandou is now a vibrant and modern town, with many shops representing all South African brands but it still kept its rural and traditional charm, especially at the market behind the old shopping centre. Here, women sell vegetables, herbs, medicines, traditional pots and baskets and the place is full of colourful stalls where they sew traditional Venda and Tsonga beads and attire. The pleasant garden of the Khoroni Hotel is an ideal spot for a drink or a break.

See Shoni at Thohoyandou Arts and Culture centre

From Thohoyandou travelers drive back to the R 524, turning left in the direction of Punda Maria gate. After the traffic circle you find the Thohoyandou Arts and Culture centre on your right side. Here you find the famous Venda artist Avhashoni Mainganye and his students working in a variety of mediums creating art. The R 524 ends at the Punda Maria gate of the Kruger National Park.