Madi a Thavha Mountain Lodge

Madi a Thavha, meaning ‘water from the mountains’, is set in a beautiful and quiet valley of the Soutpansberg mountains, Limpopo, only 10km drive from the centre of Louis Trichardt (Makhado).

Enjoying the stylish and bright accommodation, excellent food, the warm hospitality and supportive attitude of the Madi a Thavha – the friendly staff will make your stay a memorable experience.

At Madi a Thavha Mountain Lodge you will find all the area has to offer, a permanent exhibition of the art and craft work of the Venda and Tsonga artists, numerous bird species, walking and hiking routes and the textile workshop of Madi a Thavha Design.

Madi a Thavha Mountain Lodge is an excellent base to spend a few days exploring the Venda and Tsonga culture by visiting the artists and crafters in the villages around Elim and Mutale and to discover unspoiled nature and culture of the people of the Soutpansberg and Limpopo Valley.

Madi a Thavha Mountain Lodge is a spectacular stopover when travelling towards the Northern part of the Kruger National Park, Mapungubwe World Heritage Site, the bush camps at Tuli Block in Botswana or the Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe.


Madi a Thavha Mountain Lodge provides self-catering, bed & breakfast and full boarding services for up to 18 guests.

The accommodation consists of guest rooms and guesthouses which are located in and around the original farm house – all with mountain views and a terrace or veranda and own entrances.

The following accommodations are available:

  • Two guest rooms with en-suite bathrooms in the farm house (one room with a double bed and one room with two twin beds);
  • Two self-catering guesthouses (two and three beds);
  • One large self-catering family guesthouse with two bedrooms and en-suite bathrooms (five beds);
  • One wooden cottage with two bedrooms and one bathroom (four beds).

The farm house includes a lounge with a fireplace and DSTV, dining room, open plan kitchen, reception with telephone and internet facilities, a craft shop and verandas. In the garden you will find a refreshing swimming pool and lapa.


Madi a Thavha Mountain Lodge serves breakfast and dinner on the veranda of the farmhouse or in the dining room. They offer a 3-course dinner as a set menu in the evenings. Breakfast is an exclusive and varied buffet of juices, yoghurts, fruits, muesli’s, baked muesli or pancakes, bread, toast, muffins, cheese and various egg dishes.

  • Breakfast is served from 07:00 to 10:00 (at an additional cost);
  • Lunch is served upon request between 12:00 and 15:00 (at an additional cost);
  • A 3-course dinner including coffee and tea (set menu) is served from 07:00 to 21:00 (at an additional cost).


During your stay at Madi a Thavha Mountain Lodge you can explore the area or enjoy the activities on the farm.

Activities at the lodge:

There are various walking routes on the farm and excellent birding opportunities. Guests can visit the craft shop in the farmhouse, displaying the products of 25 artists and craft groups and the sewing workshop of Madi a Thavha Design. In addition to the textile collections that are available at the craft shop, the Madi a Thavha Design team makes tailor made products such as tablecloths, cushions and bed spreads.

Madi a Thavha Gallery:

Art and crafts from various artists and crafters are displayed in and around the lodge. The actual exhibition centre displays the cultural history of Vendas, Tsongas and Northern Sothos in Northern Limpopo and the development of art and crafts in the traditional, transitional and contemporary periods. You will find information and displays about medicinal plants and traditional healing, agriculture and food preparation, childhood and family life, traditional story telling, music and musical instruments.

Activities in the surrounding:

You can join one of the organised tour programmes or explore the area on your own. They offer various self-drive or guided day trips by car or 4×4. There are tour programmes focusing on arts and culture, history and nature, such as the Elim art and culture tour, the Land of Legends tour and the Soutpansberg Skirmishes tour that lead you to historical places of the Anglo-Boer War. In the Soutpansberg area you will also find various birding hot spots. 

Some examples of tour programmes include:

  • Walking routes and hiking trails, varying from 2 hours to 2 day hikes;
  • Village life and sun downer mountain bike tour;
  • Birding tours;
  • Baobab and Land of Legend tour to Northern Venda;
  • Soutpansberg Skirmishes route;
  • Elim art, crafts and culture tour;
  • Village walks;
  • Blouberg and Makgabeng Cultural Heritage tour;
  • Workshops with artists and crafters; and
  • Programme with dancing, singing traditional music and storytelling.

Activities with children:

  • Madi a Thavha offers opportunities for children and their parents to experience a special and exciting holiday. While playing and enjoying the activities, children learn about African culture and daily life of people living in the rural villages.
  • They have a large family guesthouse available where guests can prepare the meals and eat with the children, but meals can also be enjoyed in the farmhouse;
  • They always make sure there is nutritious food available for children. Enjoy a meal around the fire and let the children prepare their own bread and snacks;
  • They can arrange a babysitter when parents want to enjoy dinner by themselves. The meal for the children can be served in the family house;
  • Toys and games are available. Children who like arts & crafts can join the Madi a Thavha Design team. Children can play traditional music instruments and there is a box with African fabrics and clothes for doing performances;
  • There is a swimming pool at Madi a Thavha and water games are available;
  • The Elim art and crafts tour would be a nice activity for young children. During the tour children can play traditional music and decorate a small clay pot;
  • For families with teenagers the 4×4 adventure tour to the north of Limpopo would be an exciting experience. During the tour they will prepare lunch on a fire and it is possible to swim in a small mountain lake.

Social responsibility:

Madi a Thavha Mountain Lodge is a Fair Trade in Tourism South Africa (FTTSA) certified establishment where tourists are assured that their travel benefits local communities and economies, and that the business is operated ethically and in a socially and environmentally responsible manner.

Madi a Thavha staff:

The employees did not get opportunities for education in the past. Now they attend skills training to work towards NQF accredited certificates. Furthermore they gain job skills and social and management skills through ‘learning by doing’ and support on the job. Their handyman attended a four week woodcraft production training programme and their farm manager acquired his tourguide qualification.

Four women of Madi a Thavha Design are doing a two year course in fashion design. The entire team was involved in a training needs assessment and HIV/Aids awareness. They developed with each of their employees a skills development plan – with these plans they are able to plan future training and support and raise the needed funds.

Local procurement:

They try to support local economy by buying as much as possible from local suppliers e.g. to buy from the local women who run fruit stalls and other street vendors.

Most of the art and craft products that they sell in the lodge shop are produced by local artists and crafters. The guests who visit the rural villages also buy directly from the artists and local shops.

For all the renovations at Madi a Thavha Mountain Lodge they made use of local contractures and labour from the local villages around Madi a Thavha. The builders gained many skills during the building process e.g. planning skills, measuring and building and technical skills.

Community development:

The staff and owners of Madi a Thavha are committed to make an effort to improve the lives of their families and people in the local communities.

There is a strong support structure between all members of staff and their extended families. They support each other as much as possible when somebody in the family is sick or with funerals. They involve the partners and children of their staff when they have something to celebrate or when organising their annual outing.

Furthermore the team supports the children who live on the farm.  The children are able to attend a crèche and a school in town by donations of the Madi a Thavha school fund.

Guests are invited to contribute to a toy box for crechés supported by the Farananani trust, an organisation who supports Early Childhood Development. All the Madi a Thavha staff are involved with the support to the artists and crafters by contributing to their training, supporting them while they visit Madi a Thavha Mountain Lodge for inspirational gatherings and contributing to the improvement of their products and workshops.


  • SA Grading Council – 4-star lodge;
  • Fair Trade in Tourism South Africa (FTTSA) certified;
  • Member of the AA Quality Assured Programme – highly recommended; and
  • Member of the Portfolio Collection.

Credit cards accepted:

  • Master and Visa.
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