On the eve of Heritage Day, Phalaborwa saw the festive launch of a new tourism route that will celebrate the traditions and culture of the indigenous people of the lowveld, along with the area's scenic beauty and excellent game viewing. Guests were invited to look beyond the obvious beauty of the landscape to find "interest and entertainment in generous amounts" and a rich cultural history in a land "steeped in folklore and tradition."
The route is known as the Rixile Culture to Kruger Route. Rixile means "the rising of the sun" or "the dawn of the day". The route focuses on the attractions around Giyani and Phalaborwa, but also links Phalaborwa up with the beach at Xai Xai in Mozambique. It consists of three sub-routes, created in conjunction with Open Africa.
The Culture to Kruger sub-route links Giyani to Kruger National Park via Phalaborwa. Attractions on this route include Man'ombe Nature Reserve, Baleni Salt Pans, Mapuve Pottery and the Hanyanyani community project where curios are created. The Canyon to Kruger loops around the Drakensberg escarpment, with scenic wonders such as the Blyde River Canyon, the Three Rondavels and Bourke's Luck Potholes.
It passes through Hoedspruit and Mica to enter Kruger through Phalaborwa Gate. The Kruger to Beach route travels through the Kruger Park and passes into Mozambique via Giriyondo border post, which has yet to be opened. It then passes through the Limpopo National Park, travelling south to Chokwe and then on to the beach at Xai Xai.
The evening of the launch saw various lodges demonstrate their skills at cooking the bush way. A three-course dinner was created without the use of electricity, with cooking being done over a campfire for the Kos-innibos competition. Marloe Scott-Wilson, Coretha du Plessis and Irene Shai were on hand to judge the culinary adventure.
Hans Merensky Hotel and Golf Estate was voted as the Best Food and Best Overall, with Mekoro Lodge winning Best Table and Best Kitchen. The Mosate Hotel School was voted as the Best Team. People at the helm of regional tourism and the Rixile Route.
Mrs. Merci Moagi, Mr. Ockert Groenewald, Mr. Daan Smit, Mrs. Sarah Mesunga, Mr. Ben Mathonsi and Mr. Mark Glanvill.
MG Demmer (Chairman), J Bertens (Deputy Chairman), T Joubert, R Mabaso,
P Mdungazi, D Nthabokheni, M Raganya, and Z Smit.