Wander through Mapungubwe
1. Spot the leopard
A combination of stone koppies and lush forest makes Mapungubwe a leopard paradise. The best time to see the nocturnal hunter is to keep a fine eye on the vegetation along the river bank just before sunrise. If you’re the first one on the path, fresh tracks can provide hints as to what animals are in the area. You can spot hordes of other animals, so if you’re in your car keep to a slow pace, and you may spot some of the massive elephant population.
2. Observe the forest from above
Experience the Limpopo forest from above by taking the treetop tour. In the summer months, the fever trees here are the perfect place to spot exotic birdlife. A rope bridge, 4 m above the ground, leads you through the treetops for hundreds of meters to a platform on the riverbank. If you’re lucky, a troop of elephants may walk beneath you! The tour is wheelchair accessible.
3. Sunbathe with the dark-capped bulbul
Mapungubwe’s mian camp, Leokwe, has a pool tucked between sandstone rocks. There is a shelter from the sun and the wooden deck is the ideal place if you need to get some sun on your pale body. If you lie still, dark-capped bulbuls, blue waxbills, and rock buntings will come down to drink right next to you. A bull elephant once surprised me, wandering within a stone’s throw of the pool as he grazed. Only overnight residents of the camp may use the pool.
4. Take a peek over the border
At the lookout points overlooking the point where the Limpopo and Shashe Rivers flow together is a shady picnic spot. On the south side there is a path that leads to the so-called Pinnacle Deck, overlooking a huge, rocky plain. To the north there is a steep path leading to four decks, each with a unique view of the two rivers that separate South Africa, Botswana and Namibia. Look out for Verraux’s eagles.
5. Learn from the experts
More good ways to get to know Mapungubwe:
A heritage tour: Visit Mapungubwe Hill with a guide on one of these three hour tours and learn more about the park’s rich history. Cost: R115 p.p.
A game drive: Explore the park in an open vehicle for two to three hours in the day or night-time with a game ranger. Cost: R140 p.p.
Morning walk: Discover the smaller wonders of the veld with a guide. Cost: R245 p.p.
Sanparks: 012 428 9111; www.sanparks.org
Mapungubwe reception: 015 534 2014