Golden rhino, ancient civilizations, big game and award winning architecture at Mapungubwe World Heritage site confluence of the Limpopo and Shashe,where many generations left their footprints; from Iron age peoples to San hunters, earlier Venda tribes, ivory hunters and settlers.
Where two wide African rivers and three robust countries meet.
At the confluence of the Sashe and Limpopo river in the Mapungubwe reserve, three countries unite: Botswana, South Africa and Zimbabwe. Within this most northern part of South Africa, lie the remains of the Kingdom of Mapungubwe, an ancient society of Southern African splendour and wealth, yet forgotten for more than seven centuries. Between 900 AD to 1300 AD, Mapungubwe was home to an advanced culture of people who thrived through trading gold, ivory, pottery and beads with China, Egypt and India. Mapungubwe represents the most complex society in Southern Africa.
Today a National Park and World Heritage site with magnificent African architecture.
Today Mapungubwe is protected and celebrated as both a National Park (declared in 2004) and a World heritage Site (declared by UNESCO in 2003). The Interpretation centre puts the history of the Mapungubwe cultural landscape into perspective and has won prestigious architectural awards for several of its eco-friendly architectural attributes.
Scenic road from Madi a Thavha to Mapungubwe.
From Madi a Thavha follow R 522 west along the southern slopes of the Soutpansberg mountains with its magnificent rock formations. Further on this road you find Schoemansdal Environmental centre, an old Voortrekker settlement with walking routes into the Soutpansberg Mountains.
When you drive further in the direction of Vivo you pass the turn-off to Buysdorp, a small community of descendants of the famous Dutch rebel Coenraad Buys who defied British and Dutch rule in the Cape, married several black princesses and settled in the Western Soutpansberg in the early nineteenth century.
Vivo is a small farmers village, not more than a crossing of roads actually, where you find a petrol station, a good butchery that also sell jams, biltong, chutneys, dried fruit and nuts and has a small supermarket. When you like to pop in at Vivo, turn left at the crossing at the end of the mountain range in the direction of Mogwadi (Dendron) / Polokwane. These shops are just around the corner, near the petrol station on your left.
From Vivo you drive north to Alldays, another small farmers settlement, where you can stop for coffee at one of the small eating places run by local farmers. In Alldays you take the R 572 in the direction of Pontdrif, the Botswana border. However, just before the border post you turn to the right and after about 15 kilometers you see Mapungubwe National park on your left side.