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FFeast your eyes, feed your soul and be inspired by South Africa in full bloom…
South Africa is unique. It is one country in the world where one can weave a vibrant tapestry of culture and heritage from the many and varied attractions, experiences and influences that permeate daily living.
In South Africa, September is the start of the Spring season, which signals new beginnings and positive tidings. It also ushers in bright and warm sunny days perfect for exploring all the fun and beauty that this multi-cultured country has to offer.
It may be the arresting vistas of a kloof, or the meandering route up a ragged mountain range, perhaps the picturesque and tranquil surrounds of a national botanical garden, or the calming warm waters of the Indian Ocean on the east. It may even be the sweeping panoramic views overlooking the Atlantic Ocean on the west, replete with marine life, or maybe the exhilarating and majestic Orange and Vaal rivers, wherever you look in South Africa, the splendour of natural beauty shines through.
There are plenty of places to see and explore in South Africa. One can choose to visit The Castle of Good Hope in Cape Town (Western Cape province) which stands as the oldest colonial building in South Africa. Dating back to 1666 it was a maritime replenishment station for the Dutch East India Company. Or you can explore the Panorama Route of the Kruger Lowveld in the Mpumalanga Province and get to relive the famous Transvaal Gold Rush of 1873 in the quant museum town of Pilgrim’s Rest which is small town but boasts big historical significance. Or you can get up close and personal with Africa’s Big 7 which include the lion, the leopard, the mighty buffalo, elephant, rhino as well the southern right whale and the great white shark in the intrigue of the Eastern Cape. South Africa has plenty of enriching experiences to broaden every traveller’s horizon.
As spring sets in, the symphony of nature in the national gardens, gorges, forests and swamps of South Africa rise to a crescendo. The flowers in full bloom in Namaqualand provide a mosaic of patterns and a potpourri of smells as nature wakes up from the slumber of the winter months and life gets back into a glorious rhythm.
South Africa has a rich heritage with cultures as diverse as the county’s wide range of experiences and attractions. From the exuberant Zulu with colourful beads, animal hides, the umqhele (headband) and isicholo hats; the demure and graceful Xhosa umbhaco (long traditional skirt) paired with the dramatic head wraps; to the colour-blocking of the Tsonga and the intricate workmanship of the specially engineered xibelani skirts, there is no short supply of inspiration, during Heritage month, aesthetics come out in full display as the different cultural groups in the various provinces adorn colourful pieces in a radiant expression of heritage.
The Shweshwe prints of the Sotho, their traditional blankets paired with modianyewe (conical hats) and the riot of colour and geometric patterns unique to the Ndebele households expressed in their blanket, bracelets, aprons, chokers and leg braces, are a work of art.
The Tswana makgabe (traditional skirt) and tshega (male shorts) made out of animal hide, the Venda and Pedi symmetrical colour patterns and the unmistakable Swati red and white kangas add to the kaleidoscopic fashion range.
The glittering Indian sari and the Afrikaner velskoen (animal hide shoe) complete the sartorial feast. South Africa is an artist’s canvass bursting with creativity and heritage that has been passed on from generation to generation.
Food is central to South Africa’s heritage. Our cuisine ranges from high end fine dining borrowing from the Dutch, Malay, Indian and French heritages paired with the finest South African wines and fused with traditional food that has been the staple for generations. Our street food showcases a fusion of influences from across the world seamlessly complemented by authentic South African wonders such as braai meat or bunny chows. Every palette is catered for with a range of road side eateries, take away options and top restaurants found in the various parts of South Africa’s nine provinces.
Blessed with plentiful sunshine, pleasant climate all year round, natural beauty, cultural and traditional experiences abound, it’s little surprise that South Africans are so inspired and ready to welcome the world and share the country’s beauty with visitors from all over the world. Come soak up the heritage of a spirited nation to broaden your horizons. Come take in the crisp fresh air in our wide open spaces. Come to soulful South Africa, where inspiration knows no limits.
SSouth Africa has ten World Heritage Sites proclaimed by UNESCO
South Africa boasts a remarkable number of World Heritage Sites. There are ten Sites in total as declared by Unesco given their significance in evolution and historical importance:
- Robben Island in Cape Town - (Western Cape) is probably one of the most famous isles in the world. Nelson Mandela spent 18 years of his 27-year long incarceration here. Today, Robben Island stands as a reminder to the world of Mandela and his comrades’ fortitude and resilience against a brutal government of oppression and racial segregation.
- The Cape Floral Region – (Western Cape) The magnificent Cape Floristic Region is, as its name implies, situated in the Western Cape and parts of the Eastern Cape provinces of South Africa. It is significant for being one of the world’s most diverse and abundant floral areas, home to about one-fifth of the vegetation in all of Africa. Perched right at the tip of the continent, this region is not only fascinating for those with a penchant for flora, but also spectacular.
- The Cradle of Humankind in the Gauteng province holds the clues to the origins of humankind dating back several million years. It’s a place of scientific importance, especially the Sterkfontein Caves which housed the pre-human skull of Mrs Ples and the Little Foot hominid fossil and most recently Homo naledi skeleton discovered in the Rising Star Cave.
- For more magic, make a turn at the Vredefort Dome in the Free State and make contact with the extra-terrestrial. It was here that a 2 to 5km radius crater struck the earth some two million years ago and changed the landscape of the northern Free State forever. The impact of the asteroid is evident some 300km from the place of landing and the unique evolutionary changes make for a fascinating trip.
- Ukhahlamba-Drakensberg Park in KwaZulu-Natal is not known as an open-air mountain museum for nothing. It boasts over 30 000 Bushman rock art inscriptions in the caves of the park. Endangered bird and plant species add to the appeal of the biodiversity to make it a premium eco-tourism destination.
- iSimangaliso Wetland Park Kwa-Zulu Natal - covering about 240,000ha, with a further 84,000ha in, on or under the sea, thissub-tropical paradise stretches 220km along the East Coast from St Lucia to the Mozambique border. iSimangaliso is teeming with life and has a mind-blowing variety of natural eco-systems ranging from dune, swamp and coastal forests to rocky and sandy shores, coral reefs and submarine canyons, mangroves, savannah grassland, thickets, woodlands, and the largest protected wetland in Southern Africa. The activities you can enjoy here include game drives, snorkelling, diving, bird-watching and hiking.
- Travel back into time with a visit to the Mapungubwe Cultural Landscape in the Limpopo Province. Here, remnants of early African civilisation give clues to life circa 900AD to 1300AD. Be inspired as you walk on the ruins of ancient palaces and settlements of our forebears.
- Richtersveld Cultural and Botanical Landscape – (Northern Cape Province) was inscribed as a South African World Heritage Sites in June 2007, the Richtersveld Cultural and Botanical Landscape is a remarkable mountainous desert in the north-west of the country that is uniquely owned and managed by the Nama community, descendants of the Khoi-Khoi people. (source: http://www.nhc.org.za/declared-world-heritage-sites-in-south-africa/)
- ǂKhomani Cultural Landscape is the area in the southern Kalahari, bordered in the east by Botswana and the west by Namibia, and is where you will find a small group of the ǂKhomani San a people who, until recently, were thought to have vanished (source: http://www.nhc.org.za/declared-world-heritage-sites-in-south-africa/)
- The Barberton Makhonjwa Mountain Land - (Mpumalanga province)
The Barberton Makhonjwa Mountain Land is the first UNESCO World Heritage Site in the province. Mpumalanga, which shares borders with Gauteng and Limpopo, has always been one of South Africa’s prettiest provinces in terms of dramatic landscapes. And the mountains are just one more dazzling gem in this treasure chest.