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Musina, Soutpansberg Region, Limpopo

Musina, Limpopo, South Africa

Musina (formerly Messina) is a tiny but bustling mining town near the Beit Bridge border post to Zimbabwe. Musina is surrounded by tropical fruit farms, citrus and date plantations and game farms, but it is best known for its unrelenting heat and a naturally dry landscape dotted with giant baobab trees.

Musina is built on the back of the local copper mines. Copper was discovered here centuries ago by local tribes, then in the 20th century by commercial prospectors, but copper mining is today only the core of a mining industry that includes mining for iron ore, coal, asbestos, graphite, magnetite, diamonds, semi-precious stones and quartz crystals.

The Musina area is a ‘must visit’ destination for anyone interested in geology, minerals and crystals. The  copper mines at Musina produce several types of mineral infused quartz crystals and ‘Messina Quartz’ is well known throughout the world. The most famous and rare of these are the Ajoite and Papagoite infused Quartz Crystals found there – clusters of which can change hands at considerable prices.

There are several geological attractions in and around Musina including the Musina Experimental Farm, situated on a single 38ha Bulai Granite rock (visit by prior appointment), and the Musina Nature Reserve which includes the oldest rock ever dated along with game and over a hundred baobab trees in the Baobab Reserve. The Sand River Gneiss has been dated to over 3.2 billion years old. These rocks stick up out of the bed of the Sand River and are easily viewed.

A blend of geology and history are the Bulai/Dongola execution rocks, 20km from Musina on the R572 toward the Pontdrift Border Post at Tuli, and the San Rock Art which can be found at various localities in the area.

Other attractions in and around Musina include the Thipise Mineral Springs.  A Forever Resort provides very affordable accommodation, camping facilities and activities there in addition to the hydro. The adjoining Honnet Game Reserve offers game viewing and horse-back safaris.

The countryside around Musina is uniquely beautiful with its ancient rock formation, Mopane bushveld, huge Baboabs. Endemic Impala Lily trees grow everywhere in and around Musina and add bright splashes of deep pink to the an otherwise all but denuded landscape in the dry winter. Many businesses in Musina are named after the Impala Lily, which is ‘related’ to the Frangipani flower.

The forested Soutpansberg mountains lie to the south of Musina, and attractions there include hiking trails, mtb, excellent birding in beautiful surroundings, and the magical Lake Fundudzi.

The Nwanedi Nature Reserve is located to the north west of this area, 40 mins drive from Musina.

Other nearby attractions include the De Beers Venetia Nature Reserve and Diamond Mine 80km to the west, and the Mapungubwe National Park, just under an hour and half drive.

Buy crystals, gemstones, Impala Lily plants, date liqueur and arts and crafts in Musina. Visit a game farm, get your photo taken under a massive Baobab, and soak away your ills at the Hydro before you head east for the very northern Gate to the Kruger National Park or north into Zimbabwe.

Getting there: Musina is about 2 and half hours drive from Polokwane on N1, via Louis Trichardt.

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