Mapungubwe National Park is Africa's must visit tour destination, renowned for its scenic landscape. Unique sandstone formations, woodlands, riverine forest and a rich history filled with tales of royalty. The distinctive and scenic landscape is amazing to wander around and Mapungubwe Hill formed an impressive fortress in times gone by as it was only accessible through a narrow gap between the rocks.
Mapungubwe National Park is one of eight UNESCO World Heritage Sites in South Africa and has a rich history filled with tales of royalty. Thousands of years ago the park was home to an African Kingdom that flourished on trade with the East. The most famous discovery made here is that of the Golden Rhino, evidence of the population’s wealth. Formed to protect the former capital of the Kingdom of Mapungubwe, the hill which the park is named after is a site of historical importance. The history of the people who used to live in the area dates all the way back to the Iron Age and numerous archaeological finds have been made. Some finds have indicated that the community used to trade with places as far away as China.
Mapungubwe National Park is a national park in Limpopo Province, South Africa. It is located by the Kolope River, south of the confluence of the Limpopo and Shashe rivers and about 15 kilometres (9.3 mi) to the NE of the Venetia Diamond Mine. The National Park borders Mapesu Private Game Reserve to the south. It abuts on the border with Botswana and Zimbabwe, and forms part of the Greater Mapungubwe Transfrontier Conservation Area. It was established in 1995 and covers an area of over 28,000 hectares (69,000 acres). The park protects the historical site of Mapungubwe Hill, which was the capital of the Kingdom of Mapungubwe, as well as the wildlife and riverine forests along the Limpopo River. The Mapungubwe Hill was the site of a community dating back to the Iron Age. Evidences have shown that it was a prosperous community. Archaeologists also uncovered the famous golden rhino figurine from the site. It is one of the few places in Africa that has both meerkats and Nile crocodiles
The history of the Mapungubwe Cultural Landscape dates back 210 million years ago when one of the earliest plant-eating dinosaurs, Plateosauravus (Euskelosaurus), was known to have lived in the area. The Mapungubwe area became a focus of agricultural research in the 1920s through the efforts of the botanist Illtyd Buller Pole-Evans. Pole Evans was instrumental in the creation of the Botanical Survey Advisory Committee, which was tasked with coordinating botanical research throughout the Union of South Africa. One of the network of botanical and research stations set up by the Botanical Survey was situated in the Mapungubwe area. At the request of General Smuts, the government set aside a block of nine farms in this area as a preserve for wildlife and natural vegetation in 1918. A few years later this became known as the Dongola Botanical Reserve.
The Vhembe Dongola National Park was renamed Mapungubwe National Park and opened officially on Heritage Day, 24 September 2004. In the 21st century, Mapungubwe has been embraced as a site of significance by South Africans and the international community. The Mapungubwe National Park was declared in 1998. The Mapungubwe Cultural Landscape (MCL) was declared as a National Heritage Site in 2001 and it was inscribed on the World Heritage List in 2003.
With the park's UNESCO World Heritage Status, a building has been constructed that houses a museum section with many of the artefacts uncovered in the park on display. Information on the park's history and biology is also available at the Interpretive Centre
Internal Road Network:
Approximately 35km of roads are suitable for normal sedan vehicles. A further 100km is accessible to all terrain (4x4) vehicles. Fill up your fuel tank at Alldays/ Musina as you cannot buy petrol at the park.
Mapungubwe National Park and World Heritage Site:
Mapungubwe and its recent declaration as a World Heritage Site has helped to highlight the significance of cultural heritage within South African National Parks.The inextricable links between people, biodiversity conservation and cultural heritage have become more evident through Mapungubwe. A number of initiatives have now come up within South African National Parks to enable a more dedicated focus on cultural heritage and community participation. The Mapungubwe National Park provides unparalleled opportunities for the development of cultural resources as a sustainable component in the overall park development and management.
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