The North of South-Africa has got more National Parks than Kruger. One of them is Mapungubwe National Park. The name doesn’t help in how well known the park is with foreigners nor does the location (unless you are on your way to Botswana). The park is ‘hidden away’ near the Botswana and Zimbabwean border. Nevertheless we visited it after staying at Zvakanaka.
Split up into two parts
After a wonderful stop at Delicious in Alldays, a great place for a milkshake and something on the side, we arrived at Mapungubwe’s main gate. We got a brief introduction about the park and that it consists of two parts. The western part has got a lot of place to stay, including our campsite. The eastern part has got the most game and is home to two of the highlights of the park.
Treetop walk & confluence view point
Two of those highlight are the Treetop walk and the confluence viewpoint. At first it didn’t look that special when we entered the park. It looked a bit dry and empty and there was hardly anyone or anything to be seen. This changed dramatically when we drove a couple of kilometers down the road. Out of nowhere we saw this big valley stretching out in front of us. The Limpopo river was flowing quite rapidly and caused the landscape to be a lot greener. Our first stop where we could get out of the car was the Treetop walk. This small hike over a boardwalk through the trees gave us a nice view on the flora and fauna around us from a different perspective. At the end of the ‘walk’ there’s a bench where you can enjoy a lovely view over the river.
Once we were back in the car we headed to the confluence view point. If you’re there your in the middle of the park and you can walk towards four different ‘decks’ where you have an amazing view on both the Limpopo and ShaShe river and three different countries being Botswana, Zimbabwe and South Africa.
The western part: Mazhou Campsite
After we’ve finished our round in the eastern part we drove towards the western part where our campsite was. Since there are a couple of private game parks between the two parts you have to exit the park and drive about 40km through some farms to reach the western gate and thus our Mazhou campsite. This place (together with the confluence view point) was one of the best parts of this trip. Our ‘local bushbuck’ came to visit a couple of times on the campsite while we were grilling some lamb over our fire.
Bird hide & Mopani 4×4 Trail
The next morning we decided to have a proper breakfast (not in the car) when we woke up to the sounds of the birds around us. That could be worse. Then we drove a bit along the river where we needed our 4 wheel drive capability for the first time to get through the sandy and muddy parts. The morning drive ended with a visit to the bird hide that was situated along a small lake.
We decided to stay in the western part and did a 4×4 track in the afternoon. While it started ‘OK-ish’ with some sandy roads it ended up going over some small rocks. We were glad once we were back in the camp.
Would we recommend Mapungubwe? I think the answer is ‘Yes’ if you’re on your way to Botswana. If you’re just going to go there and drive back to somewhere in South Africa it’s a lot of extra kilometers to take. However, the lunch in Alldays was really good 🙂