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Madi a Thavha

Fair Trade certified and graded 4 star

Madi a Thavha Mountain Lodge is an idyllic country retreat and affordable base set in the lush green of the Soutpansberg Mountains of northern Limpopo. Explore the vivid colour and splendour of Venda and Tsonga art, craft, culture and heritage. This lush little oasis is a guest house, gallery of local artists as well as a craft and education centre.

Traditional arts and crafts

Follow signs through colourful villages to the home studios of talented artists, award-winning potters, batik artists and sculptors.

Join in workshop programmes: Woodcarving, making traditional clay pots, paper making, musical instruments and visual art such as print making, collage techniques and water colouring.


Decorated in vibrant colours, accommodation varies from simple lodge rooms in the main house to a series of farm buildings converted into houses sleeping couples or families. Madi a Thavha maximum occupancy is 20 guests per night.

Guest areas and relaxation

Tasty home cooked meals are served al fresco on the wide verandah of the main building.  Comfortable loungers invite relaxation around the swimming pool.

Madi A Thavha is one of the four “Pearls of Limpopo” – The circuit includes Leshiba Wilderness, Kololo Game Reserve and Mopane and Madi A Thavha. An additional 10% reduction in cost is available for those booking all four properties in a circuit.

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  • 5 hours north from Johannesburg OR Tambo Airport
  • 1.5 hours from the nearest airport at Polokwane
  • 15 minutes from Louis Trichardt a picturesque town situated in the foothills of the Soutpansberg Mountains
  • 30 minutes from Leshiba Wilderness
  • 1.5 hours from the nearest airport at Polokwane
  • 2.5 hours to Mopane Bush Lodge
  • 5 hours from Kololo Game Reserve in the Waterberg
  • 2 hours to the Pont Drift border post into Botswana and Mashatu Game Reserve
  • 1.5 hours to the Zimbabwe border at Beit Bridge, visit Great Zimbabwe or the Matopas

Who it's for

  • Perfect dust-off pre or post safari
  • Family friendly farm houses sleeping up to 6, parents enjoy poolside relaxation, curious kids can get involved in creative works
  • Slow Travellers – stay for a week or more, learn a new craft from local artisans
  • Artists, Crafters, Painters, Sculptors, Ceramists, come for inspiration
  • Birding and nature lovers
  • Pearls of Limpopo circuit visitors


  • Dancing Fish Gallery and Museum of traditional and contemporary art
  • Get involved at the Madi a Thavha Design and Sewing workshop
  • Hire a mountain bike, walk to the baobab tree
  • Guided or self drive journeys visiting artists workshops
  • Explore natural attractions such as the Soutpansberg, Lake Fundudzi and Letaba Dam
  • Learn a trade such as wood carving, textile and ceramics during a longer stay
  • Participate in craft workshops, children’s workshops and sewing activities.

Best features

Experience the vibrancy and creativity of  local art and craft in every aspect of the lodge. Shopping – Find unique arts direct from local artisans, no mass-produced artefacts encountered in tourist shops. Childrens activities – Great kids meals, opportunities to learn how to cook bread on a fire or create crafts with the Madi a Thavha design team. On the Elim art and crafts tour children can play traditional musical instruments and decorate a small clay pot.

Good combined with...

As part of the Pearls of Limpopo circuit, four distinctive lodges offering varied experience. In combination with a ‘big-5’ safari in Botswana at Masahtu Game Reserve or Pafuri Camp in the northernmost Kruger National Park. As a base for exploring the Ribolla Arts route, listen to the audio track on the Great Guides website Perfect en route to, or from Zimbabwe

Community focus

Fair Trade for Tourism SA (FTTSA) accredited, Madi a Thavha empowers its staff through skills development and ongoing training in areas such as sewing, craft production, business skills and HIV/Aids awareness, to name a few. The business is extensively involved with its community, in particular through arts and crafts mentoring programmes, while the entire Madi a Thavha team participates in on site environmental education activities.


Dutch Owners Aart and Marcelle care, really care, down to the roots of their hair follicles about the music, art and craft of the Venda and Tsonga. Their commitment to supporting the arts in Limpopo is remarkable as is the relationships they have forged with local artists. They run a gorgeous country retreat at ridiculously good value for the quality of accommodation, food and service offered to guests fortunate enough to discover this genuine african treasure.


  • Back in Madi a Thavha for the 3rd time and the place continues to amaze and charm us! this was our 3rd visit and while Madi a Thavha is still so beautiful and peaceful, it has also evolved and become much more than a lodge. Marcelle and Aart have now opened an incredible art gallery on the premises, where they exhibit local artists
    ~ caviar - Geneva

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