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Polokwane

Travel Guide Africa South Africa Limpopo Polokwane

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Introduction

Polokwane might be better known be people under its former name: Pietersburg. In February of 2005 the name was changed to Polokwane, meaning 'place of safety' in the Northern Sotho language. The city is the capital of the Limpopo province, the most Northern province of South Africa. The city has over 500,000 inhabitants, and is one of the fastest growing cities in the southern hemisphere. It will be one of the host cities of the World Cup Football in 2010. Games will be played at the new Peter Mokaba Stadium.

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Sights and Activities

Polokwane is a good starting point for many kinds of Ecotourism. It is en route to the northern part of the Kruger National Park, and the Tzaneen and Magoebaskloof areas. Close to the city you will find the Pieters Game Reserve

Museums and monuments

  • Bakone Malapa Open-Air Museum - is the way to get in touch with the history and modern life of the Northern Sotho tribe.
  • Hugh Exton Photographic Museum - has a collection of 23,000 photos taken by resident photographer Hugh Exton between 1890 and 1945.
  • Irish House Museum - is a cultural history museum with a collection of cultural, scientific and historical items.
  • The Eersteling Monuments - are located on the site of the country's first gold crushing site and the first gold power plant.
  • Ga-Mothapo Rock Art Site - is a sight outside of the city, where you can view monochrome rock paintings.

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Events and Festivals

World Cup 2010

The big upcoming event on the South African horizon is of course the FIFA World Cup beginning on the 11th of June 2010. One of the most prestigious and popular world sporting events, the World Cup 2010 promises to bring throngs of passionate supporters from around the globe. Held once every four years, it's a football tournament (known as soccer in South Africa) where 32 world nations vie for the famous golden trophy.

Polokwane will be hosting some of the World Cup 2010 matches at the Peter Mokaba Stadium, which has a capacity of 46,000.

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Weather

Polokwane lies on a plateau 1,230 metres above sea level, and therefor has a moderate climate, with temperatures are 11 °C in winter to around 22 °C in summer.

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Getting There

By Plane

Polokwane International Airport (IATA: PTG, ICAO: FAPP) is located 5 kilometres north of the city, and is upgraded with the World Cup in 2010 approaching. There are daily flights to Johannesburg carried out by South African Airways.

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Getting Around

By Car

In Polokwane, like most South African cities, public transport is limited. Visitors arriving in Polokwane by plane have the option of hiring a car. Avis, Hertz, Budget and First Car Rental all provide car hire at the Polokwane Airport.

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Sleep

PropertyAddressTypePopularity
Igloo Inn Backpackers Accommodation87 Pietersburg Str AnnadaleHostel-

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Keep Connected

Internet

Big cities and most of the popular places in the country usually have an internet café though they are not as abundant as in, for example, Asia or South America. It's also relatively expensive, usually 20-30 rand an hour, sometimes even more. Many of the accommodation options have internet access available, either wireless with your own laptop or by their own computer(s). Wireless access is also available throughout the country in more and more cafes and eateries, sometimes free and sometimes for a small fee. Note that you usually have to login anyway and agree with the terms and conditions. It is cheapest to buy a prepaid cell phone starter pack (less than R10) and access the Internet with GPRS or 3G. Generally R2 per MB for out of bundle data from most providers (50c for Virgin Mobile), but it becomes a lot cheaper if you buy a data bundle. In general coverage is good except the more rural parts of the northern and northwestern parts of the country (especially Northern Cape).

Phone

See also International Telephone Calls

South Africa's country code is 27. Telephone numbers in South Africa are 10 digits, including the local area code. There are also some prefixes like 0800 (toll free), 0860 (charged as local call) and 0861 (flat-rate calls). The general emergency number is 10111, ambulance is 10177 and police is 1011.

South Africa has very good phone facilities, which are also becoming more and more competitively priced, now that more operators are active on the market. The main ones are Neotel and Telkom South Africa. Local phone calls are cheap (about one Rand an hour), domestic long-distance calls are about twice as expensive. International calls start at around 6 Rand an hour but can be (much) higher to less usual countries. Note that public phones are about twice as cheap as new private phone centres. Phone calls tend to be the cheapest during the weekend and during business hours (8:00am to 5:00pm) on weekdays and more expensive during the evening and nights at weekdays.

There are also good mobile-phone facilities, with GSM and 3G networks. There are five cell phone providers in South Africa: Vodacom, MTN, Cell-C, Virgin Mobile and 8ta. SIM card prepaid starter kits are available from R10. You will need a passport and a proof of residential address and it has to be registered before you can call or receive calls. You can buy credit for prepaid phones just about everywhere, remembering you will usually need cash to do so from service stations.

Post

The SAPO (South African Post Office) is the nation's postal service. They have a track & trace system for parcels as well. Post offices are open from 8:30am to 4:30pm from Monday to Friday, and 8:00am to noon on Saturdays. Domestic and international deliveries are reliable but can sometimes take up to several weeks. If you want to send something oversees of any value, try using one of the private mail services, like Postnet. Also international courier companies like TNT, UPS and DHL tend to be fast, very reliable and competitively priced.

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This is version 17. Last edited at 6:53 on Oct 16, 13 by Utrecht. 4 articles link to this page.

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