Mapungubwe: ADVICE

Golden Gate, Mapungubwe, Marakele

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ruthers
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Advice Mapungubwe - Tented Camp and Camp Site

Unread post by ruthers »

Perhaps someone can help.

We are traveling up to Mapungubwe in January. We are 2 couple - our friend enjoy the rigours of camping and we prefer the slightly more civilized permanent tented camps/chalets etc.

The Limpopo Tented Camp and Mazhou Campsite - appear to be very close together in the Western section - would it be easy/possible to walk between these two, ie could we socialize?

Any other little gems of advise for up-to-date info on Mapun. Nat Park - there is not nearly enough information on the Sanparks page and generally on the internet it is not as thoroughly talked about as other Sanparks.

Regards
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arks
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Re: Advice Mapungubwe - Tented Camp and Camp Site

Unread post by arks »

Even tho the tented camp and the campsite are relatively close, you would not be able to walk between them, or to travel between them by car after gate closing time, so any socialising would have to be done during the day. Elephants often come quite close to the camps and there are also lions and other dangerous animals in the area, so you need to always be careful even in camp as I believe that both camps are unfenced (I know that the tented camp is).

Mapungubwe is a very special place and I'm sure that you will enjoy it if you like remote places and peace and quiet. It is very different from Kruger, Addo and other larger parks. You may be able to find more information and answers to your questions on Mapungubwe's Facebook page.
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RosemaryH
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Re: Advice Mapungubwe - Tented Camp and Camp Site

Unread post by RosemaryH »

Lucky you to have a trip planned to Mapungubwe ruthers :dance:

Thanks for the info arks :thumbs_up:

ruthers, you can also have a look at these topics re Mapungubwe and at some of the maps here

The official SANParks Mapungubwe National Park FB as arks has suggested, might answer some of your questions too.
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Re: Mapungubwe: ADVICE

Unread post by edfriendly »

Good day everyone

Is Mapungubwe a malaria area?

Cheers Ed
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Re: Mapungubwe: ADVICE

Unread post by arks »

Yes Ed, it is.
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Re: Mapungubwe: ADVICE

Unread post by barryels »

edfriendly wrote:OK thanks Arks. Also, I want to spend two nights there. One at the Limpopo Forest tents and another at Leokwe. Is there just a single entrance gate to the park? Will I need to drive from the main gate to the western section?


Dear edfriendly,

There is only one entrance to the park, however it is only approximately a 23 km drive from the main gate to the Limpopo Forest tents. See the link HERE where you will find a map of the park for easy reference :thumbs_up: .
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Re: Mapungubwe: ADVICE

Unread post by edfriendly »

Thank you very much. And you need to do all your shopping in Alldays I guess?
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Re: Mapungubwe: ADVICE

Unread post by arks »

RayK wrote:Hi barryels,
The maps of Mapungubwe are terrible. According to the map, from Leokwe Camp, it seems possible to drive on the northern fringes of the Park to reach the Western section. Five years ago, to get to the Maloutswa Hide I had to leave the Park and drive onto Dan Staats Road where there was an unattended booth at the entrance to the Western section. Have things changed since my last visit? Or am I confused more than usual?

Ray, the Dan Staats Road has been closed to all thru traffic for some time (since the major floods some years ago) and there the are apparently no plans to reopen it, so now to get to the western part of the park one must drive from the park gate via the R572 and R521 to the farm road that leads to the entrance to the western section. It's a long way round :wall:

On my last visit to Mapungubwe (April 2016) I chose to stay at Leokwe and only make a day visit to the western section, which I found to be even less suitable for a sedan (I drove a Polo) than on previous visits. I had on two previous visits negotiated the very interesting road along the river in a Polo with no problems, but in 2016 I found it almost impossible and definitely not recommended (and I also saw very little, whereas in the past I'd had many good sightings on this road). On the plus side, the new Maloutswa Hide is terrific and I spent a most rewarding few hours there. However, I was very glad that I had chosen not to stay any nights in the western section.

And I agree with you that the SANParks maps of Mapungubwe are less than useless. The AA map that includes the park is far better.
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Re: Mapungubwe: ADVICE

Unread post by PantoffelSlippers »

Morning all

Two quick questions:

I’m travelling from Malungubwe to KNP (Sirheni) later this week. I saw posts around this inside this thread but they’re from several years ago. I’m assuming best entry would be Pafuri gate. Any suggested roads to take / avoid? Also, expected travel time? I was thinking around 2 hours to pafuri gate.

Many thanks
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Re: Mapungubwe: ADVICE

Unread post by arks »

I think that it will take you considerably longer than two hours to reach Pafuri gate from Mapungubwe. I can't recall how long it took me, but I'd estimate 4-5 hours. Do you plan to stop in Mussina for groceries and/or petrol? If so, IMO the Shoprite (in a large mall on your left when entering central Mussina) is better than either of the Spar locations. And for petrol unless things have changed, your best/only bet is a Shell on your left as you are leaving the centre of Mussina.

There is also a detour on the main road to Pafuri (forget the name of the town) that is poorly marked when you are travelling east. There is a not-verry-well-marked 'gate' shortly before you reach where the road is washed out.

I was last there in April 2016, so things may have changed. Perhaps someone with more recent experience will also reply.
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Re: Mapungubwe: ADVICE

Unread post by barryels »

Dear PantoffelSlippers,

I agree with Arks that you should stock up and refill in Musina, however my suggestion would be to enter Kruger at Punda Maria gate. I drove along the R523 - R524 during 2017 to Punda and it is quite safe.

The route to take will be the R572 from Mapungubwe to Musina. Then south with the N1 for 68 km where you will get the R523 turn off to your left (East) towards Thohoyondou. Take the R524 at Thohoyondou and follow the road until you get to Punda Maria gate. Sirheni is approximately 42.5 km from the Punda gate :thumbs_up: .

Below is a map with the distance of 269 km and time of 3 hours and 43 minutes for your info. Just click to enlarge:

Mapungubwe to Punda Maria.JPG
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Re: Mapungubwe: ADVICE

Unread post by arks »

The road from Pafuri Gate to Musina was fine when I travelled on it, but that was nearly two years ago (April 2016). There is a detour around a washed out bridge, but it is well marked heading west, you should have no problems.

As for shopping in Musina, I recommend the Shoprite (in a mall near the western end of the town), it is IMO far better than either of the Spars, but for petrol be sure to stop at the Shell, which will be on your right towards the eastern end of the town, as it's the only option on the main route.

Mapungubwe is one of my very favourite parks and I am sure that you will enjoy it. Have a great trip!
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Re: Mapungubwe: ADVICE

Unread post by Flavia »

Some questions:
1) Sleeping at Leokwe, it possible to have dinner at the restaurant at main gate and then go back to the camp (11 km)? Or is possible only in daylight?
2) Is possible to visit the park with a sedan? Are the roads for sedan enough? Is possible to go to the conflunce with a sedan?
Thanks in advance.
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Re: Mapungubwe: ADVICE

Unread post by arks »

I'm not 100% sure about dinner at the restaurant, but I think that the answer is yes, because from what I remember, if you sign up for a sunset or night drive, you must drive from your camp to the gate.

I've always visited in a sedan, altho that does limit what roads you can drive. But there is still plenty to see. This park doesn't have an abundance of game, like Kruger, it's more about scenery and birds, as well as the visitor centre and other historic sights. On my last visit (April 2016), the roads in the western part of the park, particularly the riverside road, which on previous visits I had been able to negotiate with care in a sedan, were close to impassable.

However, the new Maloutswe hide in the western part of the park is superb! I spent several hours there and had the hide all to myself, as people staying in the western part of the park tend to visit the hide early mornings and late afternoon. I've always visited it midday and had fabulous sightings. On that last visit I had elephants so close to the hide that I could have reached out and touched them (and they could have reached in to investigate me, had they chosen to), as well as a processions of elephants on the opposite shore. I also saw wildebeest and waterbuck and a variety of birds. I was there for several hours and all on my own the entire time. Amazing!

The confluence is viewed from several platforms that you reach on foot from a large parking area. There are four different platforms, linked by a circular pathway, providing different views of the confluence when the borders of Botswana, Zimbabwe and SA meet. People often go there for sunset and sundowners, but it is less busy at other times.

Enjoy your visit, Mapungubwe is one of my favourite parks!
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Re: Mapungubwe: ADVICE

Unread post by tetrol88 »

Have just spent 6 nights in Mapungubwe, and sent a trip report to our travel agent - so rather than retype, cut and paste on the way.


The trip to Mapungubwe was relatively smooth – and better if someone could erect some signs in Polokwane! The drive via Alldays is considerably shorter than sticking with the N1. Alldays has a good supermarket for stocking up for the self-catering. The road had only a few potholes

Mapungubwe NP – absolutely loved it. The game density is perhaps lower than Kruger, but it is much quieter with respect to the number of other travellers. The game is far less accustomed to traffic and will react more like truly wild animals. Elephants will get upset even at 100+ metres for example. The bird life is great. We managed to see quite a species range of game, much of it fleetingly – lion, leopard, eland, gemsbok included.
The scenery/geography of Mapungubwe is spectacular – and enormously varied – I would recommend it for that alone. Some of the Baobabs are amazing.
Don’t go without a 4WD.
We did not even manage to get the East side properly explored – would probably need 7 days minimum to do it all – and all with self-catering and no shop. 3 days West, 4 days East perhaps.
Mobile phone worked in a number of (high) spots but not the camps – using the Botswana network.
A funny “breach” of SANParks rules – you are not meant to drive after dark – but you can eat your evening meal at the limited restaurant (read café) and/or take the SANParks night drive from the main gate – then have to drive back to Leokwe in the dark.
The Den Staat road that appears to join the two halves of the park is permanently “blocked” due to flood damage – but a 4WD can negotiate it easily – until the next wet season perhaps?

Limpopo Forest Tented Camp – excellent, although a bit of backtracking as check-in is at the main entrance. – about 20 - 25 minutes each way. Similar accommodation to Punda Maria Safari tents, but under trees in Riverine forest, with the braai in an attached lapa. The kitchen area is inside the “tent” with dining table etc.
There is a large game electric single wire at about 1.5m high around the camp – so anything that can avoid a single wire has free entry. (or anything that finds the non-closing gate) Confident bushbuck, nervous impala and reasonably well behaved vervet monkeys were numerous in camp.
The camp was very quiet with respect to other travellers, but we had lions roaring, elephants crashing trees down and trumpeting all on our first night to welcome us. That night was bitterly cold!
The Maloutswa bird/game hide is nearby and is great, especially at dawn.

Leokwe – Units 3 and 4. Welcomed on arrival with elephant within 50m of our door. Spectacular camp with game visible from the accommodation. The accommodation is equal or better than any other on the trip – even considering the outdoor showers! Think of two modernised Kruger rondavels joined together, one for bedroom, the other kitchen/sitting. It is about 11km from the entrance gate, and close to the confluence of the Limpopo and Shasha rivers, and also the “treetop” walkway.
On the second morning, the 40m path between our units had leopard tracks overlying our own footprints from our return the evening before – so everything was close.

Vhembe Camp – unfortunately the solar power had failed and the camp was closed. We were relocated to one night at Tshugulu Lodge and one more night at Leokwe.

Tshugulu Lodge – while being the supposed luxury location it was a bit “sterile” – it is tucked away between towering rocks. Couldn’t see dawn/dusk or any game other than the odd baboon. The cooking facilities are for large parties (10+) and don’t have the “charm” of a simple braai, but a large gas powered cooktop. There are no staff present on site once the cleaners leave around 10 or 11am until the following morning. With a good 4WD Tshugulu does give close access to some really great true 4WD tracks (called Eco-routes on the Mapungubwe maps, some requiring low ratio and some planning)

Leokwe mark 2 – relocated to units 10 and 11 – try to book these two if anyone wishes to come here – SANParks staff told us later these are the choice two units at Leokwe when they stay there. They are at the end of the road (no passing cars) and have their “own” secluded area with resident antelope (Klipspringers), dassies and more birds than other units.


Hope that is helpful for any prospective visitors
22/10/19 Mopani 3 nights
25/10 Satara 3 nights
28/10 Lower Sabie 3 nights
31/10 Biyamiti 2 nights
2/11 Skukuza 2 nights
Out of park 4-8/11
9/11 Skukuza 3 nights

and Kgalagadi booked June-July 2020 :)
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