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 Post subject: Re: Skukuza to Mapungubwe in a day or pushing it??
Unread postPosted: Wed Oct 15, 2008 10:42 pm 
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:thumbs_up:

If your last night is in Letaba, I think that it would be best to leave the KNP at Phalaborwa gate, then head for Tzaneen, then the N1 (main freeway) up to Musina, and then on to Mapungubwe.

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 Post subject: Re: Mapungubwe: GETTING THERE
Unread postPosted: Sun Dec 07, 2008 6:39 pm 
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Location: Pietermaritzburg
We are leaving early on Friday 12th December for Mapungubwe. The natural route for us ( from KZN ) would be to take the N3 through Joburg onto the N1 to Pretoria and Polokwane. My feeling is that this stretch of road will be really busy as most industry closes on this Friday. I do not want to leave at 1h00 to miss the rush, nor at 6h00 to get there after it, so we did some looking on Mapsource and have found a route through Newcastle and then Volksrust on to Ermelo,Groblersdal and then join the N1 near Mokopane ( cant remember what it was called before). Does anyone have some advice about the condition of this stretch of road. I know that a lot of coal trucks use it to come down to the terminal in Durban. We are towing a small trailer and would not like to damage anything in large potholes.The road is the N11 if that helps. Please help.


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 Post subject: Re: Mapungubwe: GETTING THERE
Unread postPosted: Sun Dec 07, 2008 8:07 pm 
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Hi Dave,
The road from Newcastle via Ermelo to Middelburg is full of potholes and in some places in very poor condition. If I was doing the trip from KZN I would rather stick to the N3 even if the roads are busy. At least you have less chance of ending up in a giant pothole.


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 Post subject: Re: Mapungubwe: GETTING THERE
Unread postPosted: Tue Jan 13, 2009 2:19 pm 
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Hi Granjan

How was your trip to Mapungubwe. i hope all went right and you didnt get lost :lol:

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 Post subject: Re: Mapungubwe: GETTING THERE
Unread postPosted: Tue Apr 14, 2009 7:14 pm 
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Hi Cassius,
It seems a long time ago now but no, we didn't get lost and oh boy was it worth the effort. A little gem with stunning scenery and fantastic accommodation!


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 Post subject: Re: Mapungubwe: GETTING THERE
Unread postPosted: Tue Apr 14, 2009 7:17 pm 
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I don't recall seeing a trip report about this....... 8)

:pray:

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 Post subject: Re: Mapungubwe: GETTING THERE
Unread postPosted: Wed Apr 15, 2009 9:04 am 
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Hi granjan

I am waiting for the Trip report too like CuriousCanadian. :D but i am glad you enjoyed your trip :clap:

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 Post subject: Re: Mapungubwe: GETTING THERE
Unread postPosted: Wed Apr 15, 2009 11:15 am 
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Location: Fourways, Johannesburg
I have just returned from a trip to North Western Limpopo and was somewhat disappointed with the day we spent in Mapungubwe. The scenery is stunning, as are the views of the rivers and beyond from the viewing decks. The unusual rock formations and flora therein make the trip from close by worthwhile, but as our luck would have it, we saw very little game.

Why is a fence being constructed on the edge of the road on the way to the viewing decks? Given the size (diameter) of the poles being planted, I can only surmise that this will eventually be an elephant fence, but whatever it is intended to be, it will be an eyesore in the middle of a national park. Secondly, the construction of the new centre, purportedly at a cost of around R20 million, may look impressive from a distance, but the mess around the building site is a disgrace. The main contractors should be taken to task, and forced to clean up their site.

On a more positive note, I commend National Parks on attempting to acquire adjoining land to increase the size of the park. We can always do with more rather than less protected areas in South Africa. Now to get the government to stop the potential open-cast coal mining and building of a coal-fired power station just east of this area must become a priority.

And finally, as the historian with whom we were traveling mentioned, Mapungubwe may be culturally significant, but "they" are making a mountain out of a cultural molehill.

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 Post subject: Re: Mapungubwe: GETTING THERE
Unread postPosted: Wed Apr 15, 2009 1:48 pm 
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Hi Scottm! I'll have a go at a few answers, having spent a year in the park (and very few disappointing days). It's my favorite place in the world, so forgive me any possible bias. :wink:

Scottm wrote:
Why is a fence being constructed on the edge of the road on the way to the viewing decks? Given the size (diameter) of the poles being planted, I can only surmise that this will eventually be an elephant fence, but whatever it is intended to be, it will be an eyesore in the middle of a national park.

You are right, this is going to be an 'elephant fence' and it will be a bit of an eyesore, but let me tell you it has been a very tough call for SANParks.

Mapungubwe's park management plan identifies three main assets for the park, which deserve most conservation (and tourism) efforts: cultural history (more on that later), wetlands (mostly still on to-be-acquired farms) and the riverine 'gallery forest. This forest is unique in South Africa and it has been decided that it has to be protected from elephant damage.

I have been lucky to watch elephants roam the riverine forest many times - and even for the relative layman like me it is obvious that the number of ellies are growing each year and the detrimental effect on the forest is more and more visible. Most ellies move in from Botswana, something that didn't happen in the past because of the military fence and trigger-happy farmers. Although I LOVE the ellies in the forest and DISLIKE fences, I completely understand the decision to put the two-strand fence up. Not only will ancient trees and unique vegetation disappear, the bird- and animal life will disappear with it. Similar developments in Botswana have wiped out complete populations of Bushbuck for example.

Scottm wrote:
Secondly, the construction of the new centre, purportedly at a cost of around R20 million, may look impressive from a distance, but the mess around the building site is a disgrace. The main contractors should be taken to task, and forced to clean up their site.

I completely agree. I think they should be in the final fase of building and cleaning up should happen (shouldn't have been necessary in the first place). I will be in Mapungubwe in June and if I still see anything like this, you can be sure that the relevant people will know.

Scottm wrote:
Now to get the government to stop the potential open-cast coal mining and building of a coal-fired power station just east of this area must become a priority.

Indeed!

Scottm wrote:
And finally, as the historian with whom we were traveling mentioned, Mapungubwe may be culturally significant, but "they" are making a mountain out of a cultural molehill.

I am very, very curious how you came to this conclusion. Who are "they"? Why are you equalling Mapungubwe's remarkable history to a molehill? What knowledge does the historian you traveled with have about this? I could say a lot of thing here - and I am perfectly willing to elaborate a bit on Mapungubwe's history - but firstly I am interested to hear why you think it's all peanuts!


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 Post subject: Re: Mapungubwe: GETTING THERE
Unread postPosted: Wed Apr 15, 2009 3:12 pm 
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JoelR wrote:
Hi Scottm! I'll have a go at a few answers, having spent a year in the park (and very few disappointing days). It's my favorite place in the world, so forgive me any possible bias. :wink:

Scottm wrote:
And finally, as the historian with whom we were traveling mentioned, Mapungubwe may be culturally significant, but "they" are making a mountain out of a cultural molehill.

I am very, very curious how you came to this conclusion. Who are "they"? Why are you equalling Mapungubwe's remarkable history to a molehill? What knowledge does the historian you traveled with have about this? I could say a lot of thing here - and I am perfectly willing to elaborate a bit on Mapungubwe's history - but firstly I am interested to hear why you think it's all peanuts!


Hi Joel, and thanks for your comprehensive reply.

Firstly, if there was any bias in your response, it was not noticed :)

The historian mentioned, is pretty knowledgeable about the area from an agricultural land usage perspective, including the changes that have taken place over the past 50 years regarding animal movements and natural vegetation. He has surveyed and valued property in the area (and country-wide) for many years, and his insights around the reasons for the vegetation changes were interesting.

There is no doubt that the history surrounding Mapungubwe is remarkable. Research diggings have continued since 1933, and will probably continue for many years to come. Why I think it's all peanuts was a question posed by you, not a statement by me :naughty: I do not think it is all peanuts, but I do question why this site is being singled out above all other culturally and historically rich sites (asides from possibly Maropeng) that the country has to offer.

As important as Mapungubwe may be in our Southern African cultural history, the current punting of this particular site in the press, both locally and internationally by both tourism agencies and politicians, seems to far exceed the historical and cultural value raised by the archaeologists themselves. In doing so, have they not overshadowed and diminished value of our other cultural and historically important sites around the country? :huh:

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 Post subject: Re: Mapungubwe: GETTING THERE
Unread postPosted: Wed Apr 15, 2009 4:53 pm 
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Scottm wrote:
Research diggings have continued since 1933, and will probably continue for many years to come.

Ai, I wish that was true! The last years only a few projects have taken place, mainly aimed at erosion-prevention so nothing will be washed away when there is eventually funding for more diggings & research. :?

Scottm wrote:
...but I do question why this site is being singled out above all other culturally and historically rich sites (asides from possibly Maropeng) that the country has to offer.


Scottm wrote:
...the current punting of this particular site in the press, both locally and internationally by both tourism agencies and politicians, seems to far exceed the historical and cultural value raised by the archaeologists themselves. In doing so, have they not overshadowed and diminished value of our other cultural and historically important sites around the country? :huh:

Those are very relevant questions, Scottm! I think firstly, the significance of the Shroda (from 900AD), K2 and Mapungubwe (untill 1270AD) societies should not be underestimated. These were highly organized cultures, which show many characteristics that symbolize the strenght of South Africa in a non-white way:
- Strong economy, symbolized by the golden rhino and other golden objects
- Mining industry, mainly copper and iron asfar as I know
- Wide international relations, the people at K2 and Mapungubwe were part of a huge international trading network, linking to Egypt and Asia (via the Indian Ocean coastal trade).

For many years Great Zimbabwe was hailed as the first, organized strong city state in this part of the world, but Mapungubwe dates from before that - historians/archaeologists argue about the link between the two civilizations but there seems to be one. Archaeologists also disagree with some of the oral history that has formed the Mapungubwe-story, but it I think that the importance of a site is partly established by the significance it has gained through the years. (If this makes any sense...)

Under the National Party government Mapungubwe was not part of school curriculum or other public publications - it is believed that this was because it did not 'fit' in the history of black people that the NP was promoting. I think this fact increased the attention of the ANC government for Mapungubwe - and it was the former president (Thabo Mbeki) himself who decided that Mapungubwe should play an important role in his 'African Renaisance'.

So yes, there definately always has been politics involved in this area! Remember, prime-minister Jan Smuts wanted to declare the area a National Park back in the 1940s (for botanical and cultural reasons) but this was reversed after the NP formed a government.

Politics aside, I do think there are valid reasons to give Mapungubwe's history a lot of attention and I don't think this overshadows other sites. part of the attention is political, but not necessarily for the wrong reasons (those characteristics) - I would say. :)

NB Personally I don't like all the attention for Mapungubwe and I want to discourage people of going there. No animals, no scenery, stupid history... (Hehe, like to keep it a bit private...) :twisted: :twisted:


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 Post subject: Re: Mapungubwe: GETTING THERE
Unread postPosted: Thu Apr 16, 2009 8:18 pm 
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Hi Cassius and CC,
There was no trip report basically because I was chicken! However were going to KTP in September and if it's as good as everyone says I will attempt one.
Back to Mapungubwe we had a magical 3 days there. The building work wasn't a problem and although my SO saw a leopard we didn't see a geat deal of game - lots of ellies and birds. For us the scenery and tranquilityand the history gave us wonderful lasting memories and the picture below sort of sums it up.
Image


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 Post subject: Re: Mapungubwe: GETTING THERE
Unread postPosted: Wed Apr 29, 2009 3:22 pm 
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Hi Forumnites - can anyone tell which would be the better route to take to Mapungubwe from JHB? I'm tempted to try the R521 from Polokwane and go via Alldays. What's the general road condition like?

R
:P


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 Post subject: Re: Mapungubwe: GETTING THERE
Unread postPosted: Wed Apr 29, 2009 4:24 pm 
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The first half of the R521 between Polokwane and Alldays you'll be driving through a rural area with lots of pedestrians, slow vehicles and sometimes domestic animals (cattle, donkeys & goats) crossing the road. The road surface is not 100% with some potholes although not as bad as some other places. This all means that you'll be driving a bit slower than on the N1. I can't remember exactly but think the speed limit is 60 or 80 km/h most of the way to at least Dendron and probably to Vivo.

From Alldays to Mapungubwe the road is not bad at all. Still some potholes but going is good.

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 Post subject: Re: Mapungubwe: GETTING THERE
Unread postPosted: Wed Apr 29, 2009 4:59 pm 
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and just be aware of the speed traps in the Alldays area :rtm:

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