The Ribolla Arts Route

Shiluvari Lodge was one of the founder members of the Ribolla Tourism Association – an association started in 1997, with the aim of showcasing the many talented artists and crafters of the Region. In 2003 the Ribolla Open Africa, in conjunction with Transnet, was launched. This route takes you along the crown of the Rainbow Nation, at the very top of where the Drakensberg meets the Soutpansberg. This is home of our ‘big five’- the world renown & highly acclaimed artists – Nora Mabasa, Jackson Hlungwani, Churchill Madzivhandila, John Baloyi, and Meshack Raphalalani.


In addition, there textile weavers, beaders, potters and wood carvers – these talented craftsmen make up the heady mix that is our culture…This area is certainly a ‘road less traveled,’ and if you enjoy experiences off the beaten track with a true, authentic reflections of what our culture is, then this is the place for you. Take a look at the Open Africa website for further information of the various routes linking up to the Open Africa Route as well as more detailed information on the Ribolla route

The Venda Myths and Legends Route

One of the best known sacred places in Venda is located on the R523 between Sibasa and Fondwe in the Limpopo Province. This Lake Fundudzi, on the Mutale River where, as legend has it, the giant python God of Fertility dwells. From time in living memory it has been and still is regarded as a spirit world and in the past it was believed that a great white python accepted human sacrifices in the form of young maidens before it would command the much need rains in the Region. This sacrifice became the integral part of Venda life together with remarkable ceremony known as the Domba Dance (Python Dance) which has become part of the initiation rites of young women. The dance is performed by rows of girls imitating the movements of a python.


Lake Fundudzi lies hidden in view in a valley and one may visit it with permission from the Priestess of the Lake. It can be seen from the road winding up through surrounding hills. In addition, some other mystical attractions of Ancient Venda include the Thathe Vonde Forest, the Dzata ruins and the Phiphidi waterfalls.


Half and full day guided tours are available with accredited guides through Shiluvari Lodge.

Walking & Hiking Trails

As Shiluvari is set in the Albasini Conservancy, the 30HA of indigenous bush are home to smaller game species such as duiker and bushbuck, as well as some of the nocturnal species such civet and genet. Two trails meander through the property allowing one to enjoy not only the abundance of flora and fauna, but also the abundance of bird species, smaller game and a vareity of ‘Bushveld’ sights and sounds…

For the more adventurous the Ben Lavin Nature Reserve is only a short drive away, is home to a bigger array of game and also allows one to hire mountain bikes and ride through the Reserve, allowing for closer encounters to Nature!


There are also a number of walking, hiking and 4×4 trails throughout the Soutpansberg – from the Western Escarpment Conservancy (which also has a large number of rock art sites) through to the Ribolla peak at Elim.


In a radius of not more than 40 kms, one will find two of the more well known hiking trails of the Soutpansberg. The Entabeni Hiking trail, operated by SAFCOL have recently re-established two wonderful hiking trails, the Phadzima view trails as well as the Redwood Trail. These two trails meander through stunning indigenous forest and some of the largest Redwoos to be found in Southern Africa. , the Hangklip Hiking Trail, based at the Hangklip Forest Station just outside Loius Trichadt. This well constructed hiking trail also takes you through indigenous forests, rocky outcrops and amazing views…Consider doing the Entabeni and Hangklip trails in conjunction with each other to maximise this stunning scenery…

Did you know?

That Shiluvari, in partnership with Kuvona Cultural Tours and the Ribolla Tourism Association, won the international acclaimed TODO award, in recognition of their achievement and efforts in sustainable tourism, in Germany 2005?

Our Dragonfly cottage is traditionally used as our honeymoon suite, as this cottage has its own private balcony, as well as sunken clay bath and outside shower…


All of the cottages are large enough to accommodate a maximum of two extra beds in the lounge area for children sharing with adults.

Nguni Cottages

There are six thatched cottages in total. Each of these cottages is set in secluded and private intimacy with views of the Albasini Dam and Lounde Mountains. The thatched cottages all offer an attached lounge and mini kitchenette area with private balcony or outdoor verandah.

All have mosquito nets, tea & coffee facilities, safes, hairdryers, overhead fans and in room amenities. Each one of the cottages are slightly different, and all have that ‘special something’ making each one unique…

Mukhondeni Suite

This family suite, decorated in traditional Venda Fabric and artwork, is ideal for a family or two couples traveling together. This suite has two bedrooms – the main bedroom with a King Size bed, and second bedroom with two twin beds. There is also an upper loft area which can sleep an additional two persons. This suite has its own mini kitchen, front and back verandahs with views of the Albasini Dam and the peninsula, as well as en-suite bathroom with outside shower.

Whether you choose the comfortable standard rooms or the more luxurious thatched cottages, all rooms have been carefully decorated with local arts and crafts, cotton linen, hand crafted cupboards with local Venda Fabrics and use of local flavour throughout…

Did you know?

That the majority of all the Lodge’s furniture and fittings are produced locally by the highly talented artists and crafters of the Ribolla Arts Route?