Mapungubwe National Park, South Africa's newest, inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2003, is dominated by Mapungubwe Hill, which lies on the border with Zimbabwe north of Muaina. Massive stone ruins, occupied from approximately AD 950-1300, are the precursor of the legendary ruins of Great Zimbabwe to the north. The people who lived there almost certainly mined gold for trade with the Indian Ocean coast, and the area has yielded several fascinating artifacts, including a pair of golden rhinos discovered in 1932.
Covering a dry landscape of tufted grassland dotted with baobab and acacia trees, the park is home to numerous species of antelope, as well as giraffes, baboons and elephants. Bird-watching is excellent and we spotted several large raptors, and the northern boundary along the Limpopo River attracts many aquatic birds.
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