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TTshugulu Lodge, Mapungubwe National Park in Limpopo, is tucked between ancient sandstone rocks, the luxury thatched-roof chalets blend in well with the thick bush and lush indigenous Mopani trees. This place gets so hot during summer months, so don't waste any time, get settled and enjoy a dip in the pool. You will soon realise there was more to this park than just animals.
The itinerary will be jam-packed with activities for a three-day stay and the park caters for all types of travellers. Those who enjoy roughing it will enjoy the three tent camps, while those used to luxury might prefer Tshugulu Lodge or cottages at Leokwe rest camp. A fully equipped kitchen and braai facilities are on-site at the tented camp. You need never be bored at Mapungubwe, there’s plenty to keep everyone occupied. The rangers were so passionate and knowledgeable about their park that it was impossible not to fall in love with it.
HHere are just some of the things you shouldn’t miss:
Visit the historic Mapungubwe Hill. The idea of following in the footsteps of the ancients who lived on the hill in AD900−1 300 seemed somewhat surreal. The Mapungubwe kingdom was the most potent in southern Africa. Johannes Masalesa is a Mapungubwe descendant and with passion, he narrates the tale of the kingdom as you walk up the wooden stairs to the top of the hill. Apparently, the royal family lived on the hill, which is flat on top, while the subjects settled around it. People would carry water and grain up the hill for the king.
Lose yourself in magical Mapungubwe
HHe will point out grooves dug into the rock for the foundation of the huts and describe the waterhole and the grain storage space the people filled up for the royal family. It was here that 23 graves of the royal family were discovered by archaeologists in 1932. The king and two women were buried in clay pots, kneeling, facing west. The queen was found buried with 100 gold bangles, 26 000 glass beads and 12 000 gold beads. The king was buried with a golden rhino, bowl and sceptre. For a long time after the kingdom’s fall, people in the area believed the mountain was enchanted and no one was allowed to go there. It’s said that when white settlers arrived, they were curious and tried to bribe King Mabina Mokoena to take them up. The king’s son, tempted, took them to the path that led to the mountaintop. His disobedience left him blind at the age of 21 until he died in 2010 at 102. “At the time the people had reverence for the hill, believing that if you went up you might not return. Rituals have since been carried out and the spirits appeased. Even Masalesa had to undergo traditional rituals to enable him to take people up the mountain. At the top, many baobabs stand majestically as if they too can tell the story of the Mapungubwe people.
Enjoying the wild
Spot elephant and other wildlife during your bush breakfast as they suddenly appear through the trees and cool themselves down at the waterhole - it is breakfast with a special view for sure. Keep an eye out for giraffe, zebras, buck, lion or even spot a crocodile basking in the sun. During one of your sunset game drives, your knowledgable game ranger will most certainly restore or grow your respect for wildlife and the harmony of the bush. Throughout the almost two-hour game drive, the gamer rangers tell stories of their lives in the wild and the people they meet along the way. End your game drive with a braai in the bush under the stars.
At the Confluence viewpoint decks, you get to see some parts of Botswana and Zimbabwe. This is where Zimbabwe’s Shashe River meets the Limpopo. Many couples book this place to take their wedding vows. The deck visit is usually accompanied by a treetop walk to the edge of the Limpopo River. There is a “silence” sign as you enter the 200m decking walkway with wooden railings. Recent rains had resulted in a good flow into Zimbabwe.
Tshugulu has seven self-catering rooms with a lapa and communal area overlooking the pristine swimming pool.
If you don’t feel like preparing your own meals, there's a restaurant with an à la carte menu near the main gate. Groups can also book specially catered menus. The Leokwe rest camp, modelled on a Venda village, is not fenced so one cannot walk around without supervision at night.
Mapungubwe National Park and World Heritage Site is the ideal location for anyone interested in wildlife and birds, to those in search of serenity, identity and the extraordinary history of this Park...
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The Waterberg Meander in Limpopo is a celebration of culture in an area that includes national parks, wilderness areas, private game reserves and tribal areas.
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