Villagers spoilt for choice as new resorts pop up
Well-maintained swimming pools, manicured gardens and thatched lapas - complete with high walls - lie in the heart of several dusty villages in and around Bolobedu, in Limpopo.
These attractions have become a force to be reckoned with in a region that is known for its rich agricultural land, abundance of wildlife, rocky mountains, huge forests and as the home of the Rain Queen, Queen Modjadji, and the Balobedu people. People who grew up here could only swim in crocodile-
infested dams, streams and rivers.
This was a way of life until a few years ago when entrepreneurs ventured into the business of developing recreational centres.
Dinaledi Leisure Resort in Makgakgapatse village attracts fun lovers like no other.
Situated on a koppie next to the R81 main road, the resort gives one a majestic view of an uneven green bush and mountain slopes.
The beautifully designed thatched roofs and handcrafted fence is what attracts road users who often make a stop there.
Fifty rand allows you entry into the facility, which opened in 2018. A thatched private dinning and braai area is the first structure you see as you drive in.
There are two sparkling pools for adults and the young ones. The music from the DJ gets you in the mood for fun. You can stay overnight in the lodge.
Owner Knowledge Ngobeni, who employes 11 people, says his wife's inability to swim inspired him to build the resort. He is from Nhlaniki village.
"We grew up in villages and swimming was only for the brave and those not scared of going to the dam. I realised that a place like this can bring people together and make children happy. My clients are mostly youth from different areas including out of our region," Ngobeni says.
The former teacher says his most favourite moments
included watching parents and children teach each other how to swim.
In Ga-Maphalle village, still on the R81, what was once an open space is now home to Tshepisho Entertainment Centre, which opened in 2014. The facility grabs your attention from a distance with its high walls and dense tall trees. It employs 13 people. It has three pools, a dinning hall and a braai area. Children
under 15 years pay an entrance fee of R15. From 16 years upwards, R30 is charged.
Owner Tshepisho Mochike-Modika, 53, was born in the village. She says she realised that there were no entertainment alternatives in the area.
"Most people were forced go to taverns even if they do not drink," she says.
Mochike-Modika, who was a teacher for 23 years, says she was worried about the dangers children were exposed to while swimming, especially during the rainy seasons.
"I wanted to create a safe place for children and adults to have fun, especially during school holidays," she says.
Peter Madupa Ramafalo opened the doors of Madupa Lodge in Bokhuta village in 2015. His customers asked him to include a pool in the facility. Today dozens of people in and around his village flock there.
"People love it here. We already have bookings for events that are planned for December," he says.