Polokwane, in Limpopo province, lies on the Great North Road to Zimbabwe. The most northern of South Africa`s World Cup venues, it is situated just south of the Tropic of Capricorn, and is 250 kilometres from Pretoria.
The smallest host city in the competition, Polokwane will be the venue for Group 1 matches. The Peter Mokaba Stadium, situated just to the south of the Central Business District, is The Peter Mokaba Stadium is the first world class football venue in the sport-mad province of Limpopo. Four two tier stands bring the seating capacity to 46,000. Peter Mokaba Stadium is named after the late Peter Mokaba, a controversial anti-apartheid activist who was born in Polokwane.
Places of interest
The Afrikaners have had a major influence in the area and it is mostly their language you will hear spoken in the streets. Polokwane was previously known as Pietersburg, and named after Voortrekker hero General Piet Joubert. The town was the temporary capital of the old Transvaal Republic during the Anglo-Boer War. It is now a neat and thriving agricultural and commercial centre for the area.
There are two interesting museums in the centre of the city: one containing works of photographer Hugh Exton and the second, situated in a Victorian building known as the Irish House, shows the cultural history of the region.
To the south of the city, in the vicinity of the football stadium, is the fine Pietersberg Golf Club, which had Retief Goosen as its member before his success on the professional circuit.
Beyond the golf club is the Polowane Nature Reserve, over 3,200 hectares of land which are inhabited by white rhino, giraffe, zebra, all the types of South African antelope and over 200 bird species.
The Bakone Malapa Northern Sotho Open-Air Museum (Tel: 015 295 2432) is a museum and living tribal village representing the Northern Sotho people and showing metal smelting and paintings dating back to 1,000 CE, is situated along the same road 9km from Polokwane on Route 37 to Chuniespoort.
The area is rich in agricultural produce being a fine cattle breeding region and offering a diverse range of crops: deciduous fruit, coffee, cotton and maize. Polokwane is situated midway between the mid-section of the Kruger Park, 150 kilometres to the east, and the game parks of the Waterberg Mountain range 100 kilometres to the south west.
Both park areas are home to the "Big 5" animals - lions, elephants, black rhinos, leopards and cape buffaloes. By taking a roundabout route, the game parks could be visited en route from Pretoria to Polokwane, and on the same journey visit Warmbaths, with its healthy hot mineral springs and baths – ideal for a swim in winter - and the huge Makapans Cave, just east of Potgietersrus (Mokopane), scene of a 30 day siege by Afrikaners on the local Tlou tribe, which left 1,500 tribespeople dead from starvation.
With large numbers of nature reserves and game parks in the region, there is a plentiful supply of accommodation both in the city and surrounds, not so much of the five star international variety, but offering more of a local African feel.
Air - Polokwane Airport (Tel: 015 288 0122) is 5km north of town and has flights from Johannesburg.
Rail - The Bosvelder train service from Johannesburg (8 hours) to Musina (7 hours) near the Zimbabwe border passes through Polokwane daily.
Bus - There are services to Pretoria (3 hours 30 mins) and Johannesburg (4 hours 30 mins). There are also international services to Harare, Zimbabwe (12 hours) and Lusaka, Zambia (24 hours).
The minibus taxi park is on the corner of Devenish Street and President Kruger Street.
Winners Park play in all blue at the 15,000 capacity Seshego Stadium in Polokwane and are presently in the Mvela Golden League - the second tier of South African pro-football.
The climate is mild in winter and daytime temperatures should average around the mid-20 degrees Centigrade mark. Night times can be cold. Very little rain is expected during the World Cup.