Mapungubwe National Park
Travel to Mapungubwe National Park – Rich in Bird and Wildlife
Mapungubwe National Park and World Heritage Site is the ideal location for travellers that are interested in wildlife and birds. Found in the northwest corner of the country, Mapungubwe protects a corridor of mopane veld adjacent to the Limpopo River bordering Botswana and Zimbabwe. With its outstanding botanical, ecological, geological and geomorphological merit, it is envisaged that the park will eventually form part of the proposed Limpopo/Shashe Transfrontier Conservation Area, which will incorporate the Tuli Circle in Zimbabwe and the Mashatu Reserve in Botswana.
The park was formed in 1995 when the South African National Parks was appointed to conserve and enhance the tourism potential of the area and it was declared a World Heritage Site in 2003.
What makes Mapungubwe a World Heritage Site and a place of pilgrimage for Africans is the amazing history of Mapungubwe Hill and its surroundings. The people that inhabited this area between 900 and 1270 AD were cattle and crop farmers who extensively participated in the Indian Ocean trade with Egypt, India and China. Their wealth and the physical division between the sacred leader and the commoners were a first for Southern Africa – the disbanding of the kingdom still puzzles scientists.
Attractions in the park include small Iron Age sites at Greefswald, stonewalled sites on hilltops; some of which are identified as Khami-type ruins, San rock paintings, engravings, fossilised dinosaur footprints and skeletal remains of the dinosaur Massospondylus carinatus, which became extinct some sixty-five million years ago.
You may also spot populations of lion, leopard, elephant, cheetah, black and white rhinoceros and spotted hyena in the area and the permanent pools in the Limpopo offer refuge to crocodile and hippopotamus as well as a variety of indigenous fish species. Bird life is widely recognised to be amongst the best in the country.
There is also a number of well preserved fossils, including flowering plants as well as whole-bodied insects which were recovered from the fine-grained mudstones.
Activities in the Mapungubwe National Park include guided tours to the archaeological and cultural sites, visiting the Tree top walk and various game and bird hides, self guided trails, Eco routes, guided trips to Limited Motorized Zones, birding trips and night drives.
Relax by making use of the onsite picnic facilities. Or opt to hire barbecue equipment from the tuck shop in order to create a fun and adventurous South African experience here in the beauty of the national park.
- See historic rock paintings.
- Visit the site of a former African civilisation.
- Spot bird and wildlife in the beautiful surroundings.