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The entrance sign to Phalaborwa
The entrance sign to Phalaborwa
Phalaborwa is located in South Africa
 Phalaborwa shown within South Africa
Coordinates: 23°56′S 31°7′E / 23.933°S 31.117°E / -23.933; 31.117Coordinates: 23°56′S 31°7′E / 23.933°S 31.117°E / -23.933; 31.117
Country South Africa
Province Limpopo
District Mopani
Municipality Ba-Phalaborwa
Established 1957
 • Total 193.33 km2 (74.65 sq mi)
Population (2011)[1]
 • Total 13,108
 • Density 68/km2 (180/sq mi)
Racial makeup (2011)[1]
 • Black African 39.8%
 • Coloured 1.9%
 • Indian/Asian 1.5%
 • White 56.4%
 • Other 0.4%
First languages (2011)[1]
 • Afrikaans 51.0%
 • English 15.1%
 • Tsonga 11.1%
 • Northern Sotho 10.8%
 • Other 12.0%
Postal code (street) 1389
PO box 1390
Area code 015
Website Phalaborwa trade and tourism

Phalaborwa is a town situated in the Mopani District Municipality, Limpopo province, South Africa. It is located near the confluence of the Ga-Selati River and the Olifants, halfway up along the eastern border of the Kruger National Park in the Lowveld. This area, also known as the Valley of the Olifants, has the highest winter temperatures in South Africa. The rainfall is low and the average winter temperatures range from 11°C to 25°C. During summer the average temperatures vary from 20°C to 47 °C with occasional heavy rainfall.

Originally a mining town and still home to the Palabora Mining Company, the massive open cast mine is Africa's widest man-made hole at almost 2,000 meters wide.[2]

Tourism and wildlife play a dominant role in the life of this town. It is the only town in South Africa that borders the Kruger National Park, the Mozambiquan border is only two hours drive away. Lately, with the incorporation of various private game reserves into the conservancy area, Phalaborwa is all but enclaved by nature conservancies. The Hans Merensky Golf Estate is situated on the skirts of the town.

Nearby natural attractions are Blyde River Canyon, the Rondavels, God's Window and Bourke Luck’s Potholes; the Tzaneen fruit farms and Hoedspruit game farms can all be visited within a day.

The name "Ba-Phalaborwa", given to the area by the Sotho tribes who moved here from the south, means better than the south. The Sotho mined and smelted copper and iron ore here as far back as 400 AD. Masorini, near Phalaborwa gate, is a reconstructed Ba-Phalaborwa hill village, with huts, grain storage areas, and an iron, smelting site.

There are two townships, Namakgale and Lulekani where the Pedi and Tsonga reside, and rural areas such as Mashishimale, Makushane and Ga-Maseke. It also the birthplace of the babirwa baga malema who presently reside in the eastern part of Botswana.

South Africa international cricketer Dale Steyn hails from Phalaborwa.


  1. ^ a b c d "Main Place Phalaborwa". Census 2011. 
  2. ^ Mining

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