Everything you need to know about the Mapungubwe Cultural Landscape
Set against the northern border of South Africa, Mapungubwe is an open savannah landscape that holds a bountiful history. Many, many years ago, before it was abandoned, Mapungubwe was one of the largest kingdoms in the sub-continent and what remains today, South African’s hold very dearly to their hearts.
The Mapungubwe Cultural Landscape is a visual indication of the rise and fall of the first indigenous kingdom in Southern Africa between 900 and 1 300 AD. The area is around 30 000 ha big within which are the remains of three capitals – Schroda; Leopard’s Kopje and the final capital located around Mapungubwe hill.
UNESCO labelled this site a heritage site based on the following key factors:
It contains evidence of the far-reaching cultural and social changes in Southern Africa between AD 900 and 1300.
What remains of the Mapungubwe Cultural Landscape is a complete testimony to the growth and decline of the Mapungubwe State which was, at the time, the largest kingdom in Africa.
Mapungubwe was once a powerful state trading through the East African ports with India and Arabia.
The landscape is an indication of the impact of climate change and a culture that became vulnerable to irreversible change.
No one truly realised the significance of Mapungubwe and its related sites until graves with gold, iron, pottery and glass beads were found on Mapungubwe Hill in the 1930’s. After that, excavations were undertaken before World War II and the rich history and cultural significance of Mapungubwe was uncovered.
The area is littered with San Rock Art sites which dates back as far as fifteen thousand years ago. UNESCO labelled Mapungubwe as a World Heritage Site in July 2003. It can be said that Mapungubwe is truly one of Limpopo’s great highlights and shouldn’t be missed when in the area.
Things you can do at the Mapungubwe National Park:
Stay over at the Venda-styled Leokwe Camp
Gain a breath taking view over at the viewing decks at the Confluence
Explore the stone tribe
Go on a guided night or sunset drive
Go on a guided heritage walk
Take a look inside the interpretive centre and museum
Visit the Maloutswa Pan hide
Go on an authentic 3-day hike on the Vhembe trail
Go bird watching
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