Take a trip and visit the Makapan’s Caves

The valley at the Makapan's Caves.

LIMPOPO – Makapansgat, a series of 72 dolomitic limestone caves, is home to one of the greatest paleontological records of human evolution in the world thanks to the remarkable quantity of ancient mammal remains and fossil evidence of an early human-like primate ancestor excavated here. It is only possible to visit three of the caves as the other ones are dangerous and unstable.

This is also where the Boer forces and the Kekana Ndebele chiefdom came to blows in the valley in 1854.

Cave structure with beautiful plantlife.

Retaliating over several attacks on the Voortrekkers, Boer forces laid siege to the caves where Ndebele king, Mogombane, and his followers had sought refuge following the killings of the Voortrekkers. The siege lasted nearly a month and thousands, mostly women and children, died of starvation and harsh circumstances in the caves.

According to one of the tour guides at the cave, that is the place where Voortrekker leader, Piet Potgieterwas shot through one of the small holes in the cave after he wanted to kill the Ndebele chief through it.

Fossils at the caves.

According to the guide Paul Kruger retrieved the body of the deceased soldier.

Mokopane was firstly known as Vredenburg, renamed as Piet Potgietersrust after the slain Voortrekker leader Piet Potgieter. The name was changed to Mokopane in 2003 in honour of king Mgombane Kekana who resided on the land and ruled the area before he was overthrown and killed by the Voortrekkers.

One of the deep dark ends of the caves where there was mining activity years ago.


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Lionél van Wyk

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