Polokwane is often described as a vibrant, busy and colourful wonderland in a sea of grasslands, surrounded by scenic mountains. It is home to many fascinating people and some remarkable cultural diversity. Polokwane is situated at the centre of the Limpopo Province and is surrounded by three of South Africa's neighbours: Botswana, Zimbabwe and Mozambique. It is the economic and cultural hub of Limpopo and is attracting investments into the province. This is also the land of the upside down tree known as ‘Baobab', which is the biggest tree in Africa.
Polokwane, which means 'place of safety', was previously known as Pietersburg. The area around Polokwane is steeped in mythology and resonates with the sound of the ancient lands. It has seen the history of the Mapungubwe people who flourished during the Iron Age and Modjadji, the Rain Queen. The Bakone Malapa Northern Sotho Open-Air Museum is a good introduction to the daily life of the dynamic Bakone people. The Bakone people are a highly sophisticated northern Sotho tribe.
The Polokwane Museum, housed in the historic Irish House, has interesting exhibitions including a history of the city and its environs. Here you will find artefacts from the Stone and Iron ages. There are 4x4 adventure excursions and hiking trails in the Polokwane Game Reserve.
Polokwane has been part of the history of the Stone Age nomads, Iron Age settlements and European migrations. The Mapungubwe people settled in this area 2,000 years ago. The Mapungubwe World Heritage site is at the confluence of the Limpopo and Sashe Rivers and borders Zimbabwe, Botswana and South Africa. The site documents the civilization who lived in the area from 1000-1300AD.
Polokwane is the capital of Limpopo, the northern-most province of South Africa. Gold was first discovered in the area at Eersteling and the economy of the town flourished. This was solidified in 1886, when Pietersburg was named after General Petrus Jacobus Joubert, a leader of the Voortrekkers (first Dutch settlers in South Africa).
Professional soccer first came to Polokwane in 1995 when Real Rovers were promoted to the country's Premier Soccer League. There have been two other Limpopo Province-based sides who have competed at the highest level; Dynamos and Black Leopards. Both these teams have since been relegated to the lower ranks.
Winner's Park is another popular club in the area and now compete in the First Division. The Peter Mokaba stadium holds a special memory for the 2006 African Football Player of the Year. In 2001, Didier Drogba made his debut for Côte d'Ivoire in a decisive CAF Africa Cup of Nations qualification game. South Africa won the encounter 2-1, securing a place for Bafana Bafana in the 2004 CAF Africa Cup of Nations.