The town lies south of the Brak River, in a gap between the Soutpansberg and the Blouberg Range, some 72 km west of Louis Trichardt. The name is thought to be derived from Sotho phefo, ‘cold wind’, though it has been stated that the hills resemble the spelling of ‘Vivo’ when seen from a certain angle.
Vivo is situated on the road between Polokwane and Musina; the towns located closest to it are Alldays and Louis Trichardt. The main economic activities in the area are farming and conservation. The town once had a boarding school that hosted local farm children as well as various others from bigger cities as far as Johannesburg. Known as a military-type institution with very poor conditions for students, the school closed in the mid-1990s. The town has a post office, a filling station and a small convenience store. For larger purchases residents would have to travel to one of the neighbouring towns.