National Heritage Site declaration: 28 June 2002
World Heritage Site decleration: 2005
Makapan is a paleontological site of international significance and is part of the serially declared Fossil Hominid Sites of South Africa World Heritage Site together with the Cradle of Humankind and Taung Fossil Site.
Situated in the Waterberg northeast of Mokopane in the Limpopo Province, the site plays an important role in our understanding of human evolution. The network of limestone caves has yielded thousands of fossil bones, including the early hominin Australopithecus africanus.
It also contains a remarkable unbroken sequence of archaeological remains from the Early Stone Age through to the recent Iron Age, and one of the earliest evidence of the controlled use of fire by our ancestors.
The caves are also the site of the clash between the Boers and Kekana people in 1854. After attacks on the Voortrekkers at Moorsdrift, Chief Mokopane (Makapan) and his people, together with their herds of cattle, were besieged in one of the caves. The siege lasted almost a month with thousands dying from starvation and dehydration.