Baleni Cultural Camp

Klein Letaba River, Limpopo

TFPD no longer manages any of the African Ivory Route camps. They are run directly by their owner co-operative and remain wonderful places to visit. This information remains online for traveler and trade information.  Please contact info@africanivoryroute.co.za directly for the latest information.

Baleni is an environment where nature, economy and spiritualism have a rich integration. With an economy strongly dependent on traditional salt-mining, visiting Baleni allows the responsible traveller the opportunity to see how modern people integrate ancient traditions and techniques into their 21st century lives.

The area around Baleni provides an outdoor playground for hikers, trail runners and mountain bikers. Single-tracks created by cattle meander through the mopani scrub, allowing you an endless variety of loops. Bird watchers will be delighted with the variety of birdlife, especially along the Klein Letaba River. This is a ‘get outdoors’ venue where the whole family can keep active.

Baleni Sacred Salt – Read more about the strong grandmothers of Baleni who harvest salt using ancient traditions.
Blog in Swedish on Resemagasinet Vagabond

Experience Ancient Traditions

Baleni is situated near the banks of the Klein Letaba River, on land belonging to the Mahumani Traditional Authority. Staff from Baleni can take guests for a walk down to a geothermal hot spring – the only undeveloped hot spring in Southern Africa. Maintaining a water temperature of around 42 degrees, this spring is a sacred site for the local Tsonga community. Your guide will explain the spiritual significance of the spring, and educate you in the expected terminologies and behaviours for visitors. After washing away your bad luck in the spring, your walk can continues to the salt harvesting site.

During the winter months guests can watch local ladies harvesting salt from the crystals that are deposited from the geothermal spring. This is an ancient skill and of important economic value to the people of the area.

Facilities

Accommodation includes linen & towels, with en-suite facilities (shower, toilet, and vanity.) There are LED solar lights in rooms and USB-solar charging facilities.

Self-catering includes facilities with gas cooker, fridge & freezer, cooking utensils, crockery & cutlery.

Please note: optional meals or activities must be pre-ordered & paid when booking accommodation. We do not carry any stock of alcohol, soft drinks or bottled water in the camps, and guests are advised to bring their own. Should this not be suitable, please advise us at the time of booking and we will quote for your specific requirements.

Directions from Phalaborwa

Drive 16 km on the road to Gravelotte R71 and turn right on Road D3260 to Selwane (1). Drive 39 km and turn left at the four way stop towards Giyani (2) After 18 km turn right onto a gravel road just after the new Gandla Filling Station (3) Follow the road and drive through an entrance gate to the camp. Continue following the road to the first Ivory Route signpost, where you will turn left (4). Follow the signposting to the camp (5). The camp is 8 km from the main road.
Total distance from Phalaborwa is 81 km and approximate driving time is 1 hour. Be on the lookout for stray livestock along the road. | Download PDF

Directions from Polokwane

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Directions from Gravelotte

Drive 39 km on the road to Phalaborwa R71 and turn left on Road D3260 to Selwane (1). Drive 39 km and turn left at the four way stop towards Giyani (2) After 18 km turn right onto a gravel road just after the Ghandla Filling Station (3) Follow the road and drive through an entrance gate to the camp. Continue following the road to the first Ivory Route signpost, where you will turn left (4). Follow the signposting to the camp (5). The camp is 8 km from the main road.

Total distance from Gravelotte is 104 km and approximate driving time is 1,5 hours. Be on the lookout for stray livestock along the road.

Directions from Giyani

Leave Giyani on road to Tzaneen R81. 1.5 km after crossing the bridge over the Little Letaba river turn left (1) No signpost. Drive 30 km until you reach the village Shawela. Turn left onto a gravel road with a sign for Baleni Rest Camp (3) Follow the road and drive through an entrance gate to the camp. Continue following the road to the first Ivory Route signpost, where you will turn left (4). Follow the signposting to the camp (5). The camp is 8 km from the main road.

Total distance from Giyani is 38 km’s and approximate driving time is 30 minutes. Be on the lookout for stray livestock along the road.