Situated halfway between Polokwane (Pietersburg) and the Zimbabwe border is the small town of Makhado, once known as Louis Trichardt. The town is located at the foot of the thickly forested Soutpansberg Mountains, and is an excellent base for sorties to the northern half of the Kruger National Park. There are numerous cliffs and peaks in the Soutpansberg to challenge the climber. The moderate climate and high rainfall of the Soutpansberg mountains give rise to their thickly forested slopes with Yellow-woods and Stinkwoods and lush sub-tropical vegetation.
Makhado has become a centre for fruit growing, and tropical fruit orchards abound here. There are mangoes and litchis, bananas and a wide selection of nuts. The 2500-hectare Ben Lavin Nature Reserve, a privately owned reserve just to the south of Makhado, is home to more than 50 mammal and 230 bird species, the latter including the rare Gymnogene, the Gorgeous Bush Shrike and the Bronzewinged Courser. There are excellent accommodation facilities here.