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About Thulamela Ruins

Revisit an ancient African kingdom at the mysterious fortress of Thulamela.

For a glimpse of an early African civilisation that was an offshoot of Great Zimbabwe, go to see the intriguing ruins of Thulamela on the southern banks of the Luvuvhu River near Pafuri in Kruger National Park.

Meaning ‘place of birth’ in the VhaVenda language, the stone citadel is regarded as one of the most significant archaeological finds in South Africa.

Discoveries reveal a thriving mountain kingdom that was occupied by 3 000 people who traded in gold and ivory between 1200 and 1600 AD. The prolific trading community were skilled goldsmiths although they also traded in iron that they extracted and smelted from 200 local mines.

Recent excavations have uncovered the burial place of an African king and queen with beautiful gold artefacts. The royal citadel accommodated 1 000 people and surrounding the stone walls are signs of numerous dwellings dotted around the landscape.

Guided tours of Thulamela can be arranged at the Punda Maria Gate.

+27 (0) 13 735 5611
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Thulamela Ruins Map

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Thulamela Ruins is 17.4km from the centre of Pafuri Gate , the nearest airport 218.3km (Eastgate Airport).
*Distances are shown as the crow flies and not necessarily the actual travelling

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