The perilous 1,000-mile journey to save Africa’s endangered black rhinos
28 Oct 2022
On 5 March, Mapungubwe National Park staff hosted environmental teachers from Botswana for a successful cleaning campaign. The 13 teachers were welcomed by Reckson Mashaba and Johannes Masalesa at Pont Drift border post.
The day started with a guided visit to the Mapungubwe museum, which won World Building of the Year Award in 2009 and tells the story of the Mapungubwe World Heritage Site, home to the famous gold rhino – a symbol of the power of the King of the Mapungubwe people who inhabited the Limpopo River Valley between 900 AD and 1300 AD. This was followed by a guided tour of Mapungubwe Hill, to learn more about what was, at the time, the largest kingdom on the subcontinent. It is believed that a highly sophisticated civilisation, which traded with Arabia, Egypt, India and China, existed at Mapungubwe.
Working on Fire then joined the staff and teachers and the cleaning started in earnest at the confluence of the Sashe and Limpopo Rivers, where Botswana, South Africa and Zimbabwe meet, and at the treetop walk along the Limpopo River.
The afternoon ended in a friendly soccer match between Mapungubwe staff and Botswana teachers at Point Drift soccer field, followed by an evening of sharing stories around the camp fire. The following day, cleaning continued at Maloutswa Pan Hide, a favourite spot for wallowing warthogs and water birds. This was followed by another soccer match, this time teaming members of South African Parks, Defence Force and Police Service against the Botswana environmental teachers.
A great time was had by all and everyone was sad to see the teachers cross back into Botswana that afternoon.
Story and photos by Reckson Mashaba
Section Ranger, Mapungubwe National Park