Matome village in Limpopo came to a standstill when residents spent the whole day yesterday searching for the bodies of two girls who drowned in a valley.

The two girls, aged 13 and 14 years, drowned in a valley while swimming with eight friends on Saturday.

They are Johanna Maluleke and Satso Hlongwane from Matome village in the Zebediela district outside Lebowakgomo in the Sekhukhune region of Limpopo.

The girls were Grade 7 pupils at Phalalong Primary School.

The spokesperson for the two families, Anna Sophie Hlongwane, said the girls drowned on Saturday afternoon while in the company of eight other children. She said the friends saw them drown but did not tell anyone about what happened.

"We spent the whole night thinking that Satso would return home the following day. We were all taken aback to learn that her friend had also not returned home," she said.

She said one of the girls' sisters - who is said to have been at the valley when the two girls drowned - told her parents about the incident.

At the time of going to press the police divers and villagers had converged on the valley to try to retrieve the girls' bodies.

Business people and politicians had joined the people at the scene to provide food and give moral support as the search continued.

Police spokesperson Superintendent Mohale Ramatseba confirmed the incident and said the police had opened two dockets.