Mapungubwe National Park and World Heritage Site is the ideal location for anyone interested in the park's wildlife and birds, to those in search of serenity, identity and the extraordinary history of this World Heritage Site.
Come and join these diverse pilgrims and share unforgetable moments sipping sundowners at the confluence of the legendary Limpopo and Shashe Rivers, watch the eagles soar over Botswana and Zimbabwe's skies, hear the echo of elephant trumpets, take a tree top walk or just relax and absorb the surroundings. Mapungubwe National Park and World Heritage Site is rich in biodiversity, great scenic beauty and the cultural importance of the archaeological treasures of Mapungubwe.
Mapungubwe National Park Cultural Landscape The park comprises the Mapungubwe Cultural Landscape and the Mapungubwe World Heritage Site.
The remains in the Mapungubwe Cultural Landscape are a remarkably testimony to the growth and subsequent decline of the Mapungubwe state (between AD 900 and 1300), which at its height was the largest kingdom in the African subcontinent.
Until its demise at the end of the 13 th century AD, Mapungubwe was the most important inland settlement in the sub-continent and extended over an area of about 30 000 sq kilometres on either side of Limpopo and Shashe Rivers.
Mapungubwe Archaeological Site was a precursor to Great Zimbabwe and Thulamela. It was also the location where the Gold Rhino and many other artefacts were uncovered. The Golden Rhino plus displays of pottery, beads and other aspects of the Mapungubwe Kingdom can be viewed in the Mapungubwe Museum in the Fine Arts Building at Pretoria University.
Most of Africa’s big game still occurs in the area and the bird, reptile, invertebrate and plant diversity is rich.
There is a viewpoint that offers a breathtaking view of the Limpopo-Shashe Rivers confluence; there are tree-top walks that allow visitors access to the Limpopo River and a bird hide at Manoutswa pan.
Accommodation at Mapungubwe National Park: Leokwe Camp This is Mapungubwe’s main camp, located in the eastern section of the Park in the spectacular sandstone hills. Close to the camp guests can enjoy the Treetop Hide and the Confluence View Site & Picnic Area. The camp itself has a swimming pool and sundeck, as well as a central braai area.
The following accommodation is available at Leokwe: Cottages - One bedroom with 2 single beds, plus a double sleeper couch, equipped kitchen, bathroom (w/c and shower) and air-conditioning & ceiling fans installed in all units. Each unit has a large lapa with braai facilities
Family Cottages - 2 Bedrooms, each with 2 single beds, equipped kitchen, bathroom (w/c and shower) and air-conditioning & ceiling fans installed in units. Each unit has a large lapa with braai facilities.
Additional children (on mattresses) are not allowed at Leokwe.
Limpopo Forest Tented Camp This camp, situated in the Limpopo riverine forest which offers excellent birding, is located in the western section of the Park. The camp is close to the Maloutswa Pan hide and accessible with normal sedan vehicles.
Accommodation is in the form of Forest Tents with 2 single beds, Barbeque Facilities, Ceiling Fan, Wc and shower and Kitchen.
Tshugulu Lodge This luxury lodge sleeps 1 x 12 in the guest lodge with 6 x bedrooms, a bath, en-suite swimming pool and an exclusive eco-trail.
The Lodge consists of 3 en-suite bedrooms each with 2 single beds, 3 en-suite bedrooms each with a double bed, Accessible with normal sedan vehicles, Aircon, Equipped kitchen, Exclusive eco-trail for 4x4 or high clearance only, Malaria area, No restaurant, shop, filling station or phones, Swimming pool
Vhembe Wilderness Camp In the eastern section of Mapungubwe National Park, Vhembe Wilderness Camp has been built on a small ridge within a valley, within walking distance of the Limpopo River and Mapungubwe Hill.
The cabins provide two single beds each with an en-suite bathroom (WC and shower). The camp runs on solar-generated electricity and no plug points are available in the units.
The four units share a central, fully equipped communal kitchen and lapa.
Guests to Vhembe Wilderness Camp check in at the Mapungubwe Main Gate.
Mazhou Camping Site The Mazhou Camping Site in Mapungubwe National Park is situated close to the Limpopo Forest Tented Camp in the Western Section of the Park caters for 10 caravans or tents, and each camping site is equipped with a powerpoint.
Guests intending to stay over at Mazhou Camping Site check in at the Mapungubwe Main Gate.
Please note There is no fuel station inside the park. The closest fuel station is at Dongola filling station about 30km east of the park. The other filling stations are in Musina 70km and All days 65km from the main gate.
Fill up your fuel tank at Alldays/ Musina. Gate hours: 06:00 to 18:00
Important Notice 1. Accommodation rates do not include Conservation Fees which are payable at the entrance gates. 2. Please ensure that you are familiar with the Rules & Regulations of National Parks before making a booking.
Facilities at Mapungubwe National Park: The following facilities are available at Mapungubwe National Park: - Mapungubwe Interpretive Centre: With the park's UNESCO World Heritage Status, an amazing building (that won World Building of the Year in 2009's World Architectural Awards) has been constructed that houses a museum section with many of the artefacts uncovered in the park, on display. Information on the park's fascinating history and biology is also available at the Intepretive Centre with knowledgeable guides on hand to take visitors through the centre.
- Auditorium that is ideal for educational groups or small conferences and can seat up to 50 guests.
- Restaurant and Catering Facilities. The restaurant operates from 08:00 a.m. to 16:00 p.m. There is a comprehensive breakfast and light lunch menu on offer and the restaurant is licensed. Pre-prepared dinners are available if ordered prior to 14:00 p.m. and collected before 16:00 p.m.
- Picnic Facilities - Hides - Swimming Pools
Hints & Tips Mapungubwe National Park is an area with large and dangerous game animals and unguided walking is not permitted. Guests, who would like to arrange activities such as walks, drives and visits to cultural attractions, can do so directly with Mapungubwe.
Guests should take precautions against malaria when visiting Mapungubwe.
All Mapungubwe’s camps are accessible by normal sedan vehicles, as are many of the roads inside the Park. There are also a number of eco-trails for which a 4x4 is required.
The closest shops and fuel supplies to Mapungubwe are in Alldays and Musina, both about 70 km’s from the Park.
What visitors need to take: There are no shops at Mapungubwe. The units are self catering and fully equipped. Take all food, drinks and firewood. The Vhembe Trails Camp is catered, but take your own drinks. Sunscreen, hat, binoculars, field guides, liquids for drinking. Fill up your fuel tank at Alldays/ Musina.
The entrance to the Mapungubwe National Park is situated on the Musina-Pondrift Road - R572 - about 68km from Mussina and 23km from Pontdrift.
The closest shops and fuel supplies to Mapungubwe are in Alldays and Musina, both about 70 km’s from the Park.
Gate opening and closing times From 06:00 to 18:30 from September to March From 06:30 to 18:00 from April to August
Check-in / check-out Check-in is from 12:00 to 18:00 and check-out is before 10:00.
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 Activities:
There is a picnic site with ablution facilities at the Confluence with shaded picnic spots with tables and taps. You can also hire a skottel braai and stock up on cooldrinks at the tuck shop.
Heritage Tours As part of this tour, you will be given the opportunity to visit the elite graveyard at the top of Mpaungubwe Hill, view a natural amphitheatre and the entire spectrum of the region… traverse the territory once walked upon by the ancestral Mapungubwe People … now roamed by four of the Big 5.
**Please note: Meals optional. Visitors are encouraged to bring their own food.**
Do the Tree Top Walk or a Game Drive Take a walk among the riverine forest on a raised canopy walk that takes you to a hide over looking the Limpopo River.
Guided Walks are also available.
Areas of Special Interest The Lost City:
Visit Mapungubwe Hill, where a far developed African civilisation prospered between 1200 and 1270 AD. The area was already inhabited by a growing Iron Age community from 900 AD and became rich through trade with faraway places like Egypt, India and China.
This is the place where archeologists excavated the famous golden rhino and other evidence of a wealthy African kingdom.
Wildlife and Mystic Scenery:
Sandstone formations, mopane woodlands and unique riverine forest and baobab trees form the astounding scenic backdrop for a rich variety of animal life. Elephant, giraffe, white rhino, eland, gemsbok and numerous other antelope species occur naturally in the area.
Lucky visitors might spot predators like lions, leopards and hyenas. Birders can tick off 400 species, including kori bustard, tropical boubou and pel’s fishing owl.
The Iron Age civilization of Mapungubwe was not limited by the Limpopo river and animals have always been able to wander around in the area of present-day South Africa, Botswana and Zimbabwe.
Mapungubwe National Park Map:
Health & Climate: The climate is semi-arid with mean annual rainfall ranging from 350mm - 400mm. Rainfall is highly variable and usually falls during the summer months. Extended periods of below average rainfall occur. In summer temperatures sometimes rise to 45°C. The winters are mild.
Summer can be hot, but bearable and enjoyable if planned correctly. Early summer mornings and afternoons are the most rewarding in the park, for birds, trees and game. Winters are mild. There is on average 10 rainy days per year.
This is the most natural game park that I have been to. We saw a lot of game and had elephants walking right past our accommodation. We enjoyed the many different species of birds that visited our braai area asking for crumbs. The tours offered are excellent and competitively priced with knowledgeable staff. We stayed at Lowekwe Camp in a two bedroomed rondarval which was large and well equipped however some of the furnishings were on their last legs - it would be a great shame to let standards slip.
Reviewed by Helen Glover on 29 August 2014
The family chalet in the Leokwe Camp is beautiful situated in the park where we could spot the animals from our terrace while having a braai. An elephant passed our douche cabin while we were using it. A great experience! The guide gave an interesting explanation of the archeological site. We would have enjoyed the park even more if we had a 4X4 car or if there were more 2X4 roads.
Reviewed by Rik van Hout over a year ago
We were pleasantly surprised by the Leokwe facilities. Approaching the place is suggestive of approaching an authentic African village. The Heritage tour was great and recommended for all South Africans. We also enjoyed the treetop walk and the confluence views. Well done to SANPARKS, should do more to market the place.
Reviewed by Sheila Thipe over a year ago
We stayed in Leokwe Camp. Fantastic location, beautiful park. Only comment is that the lady of the reception sent us to the wrong camp. Cost us about 2 hours!