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Mapungubwe: GETTING THERE

Golden Gate, Mapungubwe, Marakele
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granjan
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Mapungubwe: GETTING THERE

Unread post by granjan » Fri Jan 04, 2008 11:35 pm

I'm arranging a trip from south to north of knp in october 2008 and would love to visit Mapungubwe. Can you tell me what the road is like from Parfuri to Mapungubwe and is it a reasonable day's drive for two oldies. [We lived in Botswana years ago so are fairly used to the conditions.] Our last camp in knp will be 2 nights in sirheni.
Any info would be greatly appreciated.
Cheers Granjan

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Unread post by Freda » Sat Jan 05, 2008 4:33 am

Hi and welcome, Granjan :D
We did it the opposite way, Mapungubwe, then Kruger north to south.
We left Mapungubwe main gate at about 7.30am, stopped in Musina for shopping and arrived at Pafuri gate by midday.
Sirheni is 89kms from Pafuri gate.
Have a great trip!

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Getting from KNP to Mapungubwe

Unread post by sujaya » Wed Aug 27, 2008 7:33 am

We will be in KNP from the 31st to the 4th and fly back on the 9th evening. In KNP we will be in Bateleur, then Mopani and then in Olifants and are trying to decide whether Mapungubwe is also doable or whether we go to the Blyde River Canyon. If anyone has travelled from KNP to Manungubwe and could suggest whether its doable and worth it or whether we are better off going to Blyde? thanks a lot.

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Re: Getting from KNP to Mapungubwe

Unread post by JoelR » Wed Aug 27, 2008 7:58 am

Hi sujaya! Assuming that you want to stay in Mapungubwe for one or more nights, the trip from Olifants is perfectly possible. The quickest route would be Kruger Phalaborwa Gate, Tzaneen, Louis Trichardt, Musina, Mapungubwe. Alternatively, if you leave Olifants as early as possible, you can also exit via Punda Maria Gate.

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Re: Drive from Marakele to Mapungubwe

Unread post by JoelR » Wed Aug 27, 2008 8:04 am

Hi overlandef! The best route to is the R510 and then the R572 passing Thabazimbi, Lephalale (Ellisras), Tom Burke and Alldays (where you should refuel). It's about 400km on good roads, which should take about 3,5 hours. Beware though, there are usually a lot of kudus and steenboks on/near the road - especially around dusk and dawn.

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Re: Getting from KNP to Mapungubwe

Unread post by Tongasabi » Wed Aug 27, 2008 3:13 pm

You can drive up in a day. The 5th I presume. The route via Punda as suggested above is the nicer (but slower one). It will give you 6, 7 and 8 for Mapungubwe if you drive down on the 9th + fly back. But driving back on the 9th might be a bit to stressed (+/-550-600 KM to OT). Depends on the time of departure of your flight. You'll also have to check availability of accommodation I guess.

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Re: Mapungubwe: GETTING THERE

Unread post by JoelR » Wed Apr 15, 2009 1:48 pm

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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Re: Mapungubwe: GETTING THERE

Unread post by Scottm » Wed Apr 15, 2009 3:12 pm

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:
"Take nothing but memories, leave nothing but footprints"

Photographs help to crystallize memories, but cannot be seen to be a replacement of them!

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Re: Mapungubwe: GETTING THERE

Unread post by JoelR » Wed Apr 15, 2009 4:53 pm

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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Re: Mapungubwe: GETTING THERE

Unread post by Adrenalin » Wed Apr 29, 2009 3:22 pm

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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Johann
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Re: Mapungubwe: GETTING THERE

Unread post by Johann » Wed Apr 29, 2009 4:24 pm

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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Re: Mapungubwe: GETTING THERE

Unread post by Scottm » Wed Apr 29, 2009 4:59 pm

and just be aware of the speed traps in the Alldays area :rtm:
"Take nothing but memories, leave nothing but footprints"

Photographs help to crystallize memories, but cannot be seen to be a replacement of them!

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Re: Mapungubwe: GETTING THERE

Unread post by Hippotragus » Sun May 03, 2009 3:24 pm

Hi MM

I live near Fourways - Kyalami.

We go out on the R55 through Crowthorne, Olivenhoutsbosch on to the N14 Krugerdorp Highway. You could also go R511 onto N14 from Fourways. The road past Diepsloot is not too bad.

Your worst problem will be the roadworks on N1 past Pretoria, around the Atterbury off-ramp. Last time it took us one hour to get past Pretoria!! From there on you will have an easy run.

Last time we came back from Pont Drift it took approx. 5 hours.

Have a good trip.
Punda Maria 21-25 May 2016
Shingwedzi 25 - 28 May 2016
Letaba 28 - 30 May 2016

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Scottm
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Re: Mapungubwe: GETTING THERE

Unread post by Scottm » Sun May 03, 2009 3:51 pm

I use the road past Diepsloot each time I go to Pretoria, without any hassles. If you would prefer, go up Cedar, turn LEFT towards lion park, and then right towards Lanseria and use the onramp to the N14/R28 on the road to Lanseria, which is a bit longer but less taxi's. Remember to start your holiday from home rather than when you get to your destination. Makes for a more relaxing trip :D
"Take nothing but memories, leave nothing but footprints"

Photographs help to crystallize memories, but cannot be seen to be a replacement of them!

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Re: Mapungubwe: GETTING THERE

Unread post by Jozigirl » Mon May 04, 2009 11:00 am

Hi Meandering Mouse,

We live in Fourways and we go via Hartebeespoort through Brits and out past Thabazimbi to Alldays. That route took us 7 hours taking into account the traffic from Brits to Fourways. For everyone's info there is a new petrol station 30km from Mapungubwe between Musina called the The Palms. Previously Alldays or Musina were the nearest places for petrol.


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