Mapungubwe National Park is a World Heritage Site located at the confluence of the Shashe and Limpopo rivers. It was the 4th World Heritage Site visited (and braaied at) on the Braai4Heritage Tour.
The area that forms part of Mapungubwe stretches across the borders of South Africa, Zimbabwe and Botswana but as luck would have it the most important part lays in South Africa. This part was inhabited from 900 to 1290 AD and the actual hill from 1220 to 1290 AD. Mapungubwe Hill is so significant because archaeologists believe it to be the first class-based social system in southern Africa. In other words a society where the leaders lived separately and was senior in rank to common inhabitants. (Whether this is truly a step forward is probably a case for debate). In addition there are other signs of previously unthought-of civilization including walls separating various areas of the city, tooling made from stone, copper and iron, jewellery and other ornaments made from gold, and also glass beads that points to trade with areas as far off as Egypt and China. Of all the artefacts discovered the best recognised is the statue of a golden rhinoceros.
In modern times Mapungubwe was discovered in 1932 but kept out of the public eye until somewhere between the 1980’s and late 1990’s (accounts differ).
A big thanks to SANParks (www.sanparks.org, 012 426 5000) who hosted our braai and organized accommodation inside Mapungubwe National Park. Our meat was sponsored by Vleislapa in Polokwane (015 291 1301) who provided us with ten different cuts of meat. We phoned the manager at Vleismark mid-braai, using our Zippisat satellite phone (www.zippisat.com), in order to learn how he prepares his award winning oxtail-for-the-braai.