Greater Mapungubwe
Mapungubwe national park


Mapungubwe National Park and World Heritage Site is well known among anyone interested in wildlife and birds and magnificent  scenery – but also to those in search of serenity, identity and the extraordinary history of this World Heritage Site.


Mapungubwe Hill is the place where archeogists excavated the famous golden rhino and other evidence of a wealthy, highly developed African kingdom. This civilization prospered between 1220 and 1290AD. The area was already inhabitat by an iron Age community from 900AD and became rich through trade with places like Egypt, India and China.


Sandstone formations, mopane woodlands, unique riverine forest and baobab trees from the astounding scenic backdrop for a rich variety of animals life. Elephant, Giraffe, white Rhino, eland, gemsbok and numerous other species occur naturally in the areaof present- day South Africa , Botswana and Zimbabwe. South Africa signed a memorandum of understanding with Botswana and Zimbabwe setting out principles for the Limpopo- Shashe Transfrontier conservation Area {TFCA}.


On 8 April 1933, The illustration London News reported a remarkable discovery in the former province of the Transvaal, now Limpopo : graves of unknown origin, containing many  gold art- facts, were found on the summit of a natural rock stronghold. This site, Mapungubwe Hill, was subsequently found to have been an iron Age metropolis – almost 800 years old. The remains of this ancient society, known as the kingdom of Mapungubwe, lay forgotten for more than seven centuries before they were discovered. After the discovery in 1933, the finding was initially not publicized but later research and news report have told the story of Mapungubwe.

Mapungubwe was the center of the first and largest kingdom in the subcontinent, where a highly sophisticated people under the reign of Africa kings traded gold and ivory with China, India and Egypt.

At the neighboring archeological site, known as K2, the remaining of a central homestead can be seen which is evidence of an extensive farming society. Together these sites were declared National Heritage Sites in December 2001. In July 2003 the area was listed as a World Heritage Site by the United Nation Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization {UNESCO}

Mapungubwe and Great Zimbabwe {the ruins near Mashvingo in Zimbabwe} are the most significant sites in the history of early Southern African civilizations. Further archaeological work has revealed the extend of the influence of these kingdom in the whole region.