Giyani, a town located in the North-eastern part of Limpopo Province, South Africa, is a hidden gem that offers travelers a unique experience. As the administrative capital of the Mopani District Municipality and a former capital of the defunct Gazankulu bantustan, Giyani has a rich history that is waiting to be explored. The town of Giyani is divided into seven sections: Section A, Section D1, Section D2, Section E, Section F, Kremetart, and Giyani CBD. Risinga View and Church View are new residential areas in Giyani, but fall under local Traditional Leaders. The Giyani CBD is nicknamed Benstore, and this name is commonly used by residents of the region. Giyani is situated at the intersection between R578 road (South Africa) and R81. It is located in the heart of the Limpopo Bushveld, on the northern bank of the Klein Letaba River west of Kruger National Park.
For those interested in history, Giyani has a fascinating past. Prof. Hudson Ntsanwisi, the former Chief minister of Gazankulu, played a vital role in establishing the town. Giyani was established in the 1960s as the administrative centre for the Tsonga people, and it lies 470 km northeast of Johannesburg by road, 104 km from Tzaneen, 105 km from the Phalaborwa Gate of the Kruger National Park, and 35 km from Malamulele. In 1969 the Gazankulu Government named a new ward at Elim Hospital Giyani Ward in honor of the Gazankulu capital.
Giyani is surrounded by a number of villages with rich Tsonga cultural activities, administered by the Greater Giyani Local Municipality. Most residents of Giyani speak Xitsonga as their first language. The Tsonga women perform the xibelani dance, the men enjoy mpuluto and makhwaya. The Tsonga people also engage in a custom dance called mchongolo. Xibelani is an African skirt designed to make the wearers hips look bigger so that the hip movement during the xibelani dance can be more apparent. The Tsonga people have their own distinct music when the xibelani dance is performed. The staple diet in Giyani is maize porridge (vuswa or pap in Afrikaans and rice often eaten with meat, chicken and vegetables (matsavu)).
Giyani’s location in the warm African Bushveld makes it attractive for both local and international visitors. The Giyani Golf course is home to zebra, giraffe, bushbuck and some other herbivores, however the viewing of these animals has not yet been commercialised. At the moment, there are a number of Bed and Breakfast and Guest House facilities for tourists. A few are: Hanyani Lodge, Riverside Guest House, Xisaka Bed and Breakfast, Tihosi Guest House, Elridge Mountain Lodge, Rosanna Guest House, Nwayitelo Lodge and Mopani Guest House. Limpopo Lodge (formerly Giyani Hotel) is situated in the center of town and managed by the Oasis Group. Manombe Nature Reserve is located 6 km east of Giyani. Giyani also borders Kruger National Park on the Western side of the Northern Region.
Giyani’s economy is predominantly rural-based. Cattle ranching and production of maize, peanuts, tomatoes, potatoes, mangoes and bananas forms the backbone of farming. With the economic boom, Giyani has now become a major retail and entertainment centre for the local population. Modern shopping centres, with all the well-known chain stores presented, have vastly uplifted the local trade.
Whether you’re looking for history, culture, or just a relaxing getaway, Giyani has it all. Come and experience the warmth and hospitality of this charming town, and discover why Giyani should be on every traveler’s bucket list.