South African national treasures: a select few from a long list
South Africa is blessed with so many treasures, selecting a few is tough. But no-one would deny that the following attractions are South African national treasures.
National Parks and reserves, which number close to 600, and between them offer up a heady melange of scenery, flora and wildlife. A tip: don't get too focused on the big stuff - keep an eye on and wondrous - and sometimes almost invisible- world of insects and plants. It is at this level that you'll realise how ingenious the workings of nature are.
World Heritage Sites are not only national treasures of South Africa, but deserve to be shared with the world. We have 4 cultural sites and 4 natural ones, and 1 of mixed cultural and natural significance, the achingly spectacular uKhahlamba-Drakensberg Park.
Table Mountain, an iconic symbol of South Africa, is a moody soul who determines Cape Town's disposition - outrageous when the sun shines; a little reserved when shrouded in cloud cover. But always, Cape Town is breath catchingly beautiful, a South African tourism treasure we value beyond measure.
Our diverse people, from the globally-venerated Nelson Mandela to the street vendor or shack dweller, have the characteristics of tenacity, forbearance, resourcefulness and love of life. They all contribute multi-strands of colour to our Rainbow Nation (as another national treasure, Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu, dubbed us).
"We love braaivleis, rugby, sunny skies and ..." So went an advertising jingle for a make of car some years back. The jingle struck a chord and remains with us ever since. Braais or barbecues are undoubtedly the favoured South African way of entertaining; our national rugby team may have taken us to extreme highs and lows, but we idolise them all the same; and those sunny skies are the ultimate South African national treasure.