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SSouth 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 millions 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.
iiSimangaliso 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.