The creation of this new national park was based on the cultural importance of the archaeological treasures of Mapungubwe, the rich biodiversity of the area and its great. The park comprises the Mapungubwe Cultural Landscape and is located at the confluence of the Limpopo and shashe Rivers. It contains karoo fossils and ancient rocks nearly three billion years old. Declared a National Heritage Site in December 2001, the park was listed as a World Heritage Site in July 2003.
The name Mapungubwe means a place of the stone of wisdom. Until its demise at the end of the 13th 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 the Limpopo and Shashe Rivers. International contacts with Islamic traders on the east coast, who were part of a larger Indian Ocean network. led to African gold and elephant ivory, as well as animal hides and hippo ivory, being worked and exchanged for glass beads and ceramics that derived from as far a field as the Indo-Pacific region, including India, Indonesia and China.
The park has a range of vegetation types associated with cave sandstone. It provides a sanctuary to endangered large mammals, such as the black and white rhinoceros, wild dog, cheetah, brown hyena and elephant. It also is one of the last protected areas of the Limpopo riverine forest.
It is situated 60 km west of Musina and about 230 km from Polokwane, the capital town of Limpopo Province.
Air: Closest airport is Polokwane, 200 km from the park.
From 06:00 - 18:00
Guests at any of the park's camps must check in at the main gate reception area.
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. Accessible by sedan vehicles.
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. Accessible by sedan vehicles.
This luxury lodge is accessible by sedan vehicles. There is a swimming pool and an exclusive eco-trail for 4x4 or high clearance vehicles.
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 climate is semi-arid with mean annual rainfall ranging from 350 - 400 mm. 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 mid.