I’ve done my fair share of travels this year taking me through countries in Africa like Kenya and Ethiopia, but who knew where I needed to go to find some really incredible African talent was to visit the Ribola Art Route in Limpopo.
One thing I said as we drove deeper and deeper into Limpopo recently was “Wow, this is proper Africa up here” as it is so jam packed full of raw culture that I’ve only ever seen while travelling through our neighboring African countries.
The trip was part of an Open Africa campaign through Limpopo’s Ribola Art route with a bunch of other bloggers, and if you’ve not already read about my first impression of Limpopo, read that post here where I talk about the Kurisa Moya Forest Lodge and zip-lining over waterfalls with the Magoebaskloof Canopy Tour.
The next couple of days were spent at the Shiluvari Lakeside Lodge where we were treated to a sunset cruise on our first night that included a table full of local treats and delicacies like fried termites and mopani worms, washed down with some locally made beer.
Shiluvari also had a Marimba Band come through for our first evening and played late into the night around the fire. Ahhhh Africa, it’s such a pleasure to call this continent home and everyone here my brother and sister!
During our second day at Shiluvari we awoke to a 4:30am sunrise and an early start to a jam packed day exploring the Ribola Art Route!
Here’s what we got up to at the Ribola Art Route:
We were split into two groups in the morning, one group went to a pottery class, and our group, which consisted of Carlinn, Kyle and I, went to learn a hands on technique textile design at Twananani Textiles.
I was partnered with Molly and I couldn’t have been happier! She and I got on so well that I called her my African Wife by the end of the morning. She guided me through using a stencil to outline what I wanted on my textile. Once the outline was done, we used hot wax painted onto the outline and then finished it off by painting it using different colored dyes.
The little textile operation they have is located on the ground of a pre-school and those little kids were such a treat to hang out with for the morning too.
Patrick The Wood Sculptor
From there we made our way to a talk with a local wood sculptor, Patrick, who took us through his process of choosing the right wood and how he decides what to carve. The wood already know’s what it is going to be, so when Patrick looks into the wood before carving it, it tells him what to carve out.
It is certainly an interesting creative process that he has, but his work is amazing and if you don’t have space in your car before visiting him, don’t say I didn’t warn you.
Pilato Bulala The Scrap Metal Artist
My personal favorite artist has to be the Scrap Metal artist, Pilato Bulala, who has made a working car out of scrap bicycles, a chainsaw engine and a few other bits and bobs! He also puts more stuff together and sells it, but ah man, that car!! The talent in this guys head is clearly shown in what he thinks up and puts together.
This car though!!
Lunch at Ceasars Roadside Chicken
By the time we were done with the art and crafts side of the Ribola Art Route, it was lunch time and we were all starving! All that starvation got taken care of with a locally made chicken flame grilled to perfection at Ceasars Roadside Chicken! What would an epic lunch like this be though without an ice cold Zamalek (Black Label).
I was not driving, so I was lucky enough to quench my thirst with a beer. As for our drivers, they had coke! Always drive responsibly and NEVER Drink & Drive!
Singing & Dancing with the Tinyiko Art School Musicians
Our last activity for the day was unbelievable and I was left running around in the heat capturing moments with my GoPro in the faces of these talented locals aged from around 13/14 and up.
They put on a such a colorful show for us that included singing, dancing and playing instruments under the baking sun.
It was such a pleasure to witness what such a special part of South Africa does, while we live our lives in the busy cities.
Life out there, is peaceful and the communities are strong, so if you’re thinking of somewhere awesome to travel to next, give Open Africa a shout and they’ll be able to tailor make your trip to Limpopo so you don’t miss a thing!