The proud home to 8 UNESCO World Heritage Sites
We all know that South Africa is a place of spectacular natural beauty, history and diverse cultural heritage, and that is exactly why we have to do everything in our power to try and preserve this beautiful country of ours.
UNESCO is an organization that protects these spectacular and outstanding areas in South Africa for us, so that one day we can visit these places over and over, take our children and even our grandchildren to experience these places with us.
South Africa is home to 8 UNESCO World Heritage Sites:
Richtersveld Cultural and Botanical Landscape World Heritage Site: Northern Cape
The key word for this area is extreme. Here you will find extreme temperatures; it is a harsh, dry landscape. Even so, it is a remarkable mountainous desert, managed by the community. The fact that the community chose to dedicate the land to conservation says a lot. With the Richtersveld National Park bordering the 160 000 hectare Richtersveld Cultural and Botanical Landscape, it ensures further protection.
Greater St Lucia Wetlands Park World Heritage Site: Kwazulu Natal
It is home to a diversity of landforms, including coral reefs, long sandy beaches, coastal dunes, lake systems, swamps and widespread reed and papyrus wetlands, truly magnificent! The geographical location of the Greater St Lucia Wetlands Park, being between subtropical and tropical Africa, makes for breathtaking scenery and an indescribable ecological system. Here you will also find the largest mammal, the humpback whale, and on land you’ll find the African Elephant. This is bird lovers’ paradise, with over 500 different species of birds found here.
Mapungubwe Cultural Landscape World Heritage Site: Limpopo
Located to the northern border of South Africa, Mapungubwe Cultural Landscape is an open savannah landscape. Once the largest kingdom, and now just the remains of the palace sites, the settlement area and two earlier capital sites.
Ukhahlamba Drakensberg Park World Heritage Park: Kwazulu Natal
This is a place of exceptional natural beauty, with a high level of endangered species, including birds and plants. You will find many caves and rock shelters as well as a high concentration of quality San Rock paintings. These paintings are the best preserved paintings in South Africa, the oldest paintings being 2400 years old.
Cape Floral Kingdom World Heritage Site: Western Cape
This 553 000 hectare region is one of the richest plant areas in the world and is home to almost 20% of Africa’s flora. Fynbos vegetation is diverse, dense and unique to the Cape Floral Region.
Robben Island World Heritage Site: Western Cape
Robben Island, only 12km from Cape Town, was known as a place of exile and isolation, a prison, for almost 400 years and was also known internationally as an institution of brutality. For many Robben Island is synonym to one of the world’s greatest leaders, former president Nelson Mandela.
The Cradle of Humankind World Heritage Site: Gauteng
This is a truly unique experience to visit The Fossil Hominid Sites of Sterkfontein caves, Swartkrans, and Kromdraai. These sites produced a lot of information on human evolution over the past 3.5 million years. The Cradle of Humankind lies predominantly in the Gauteng province, but it does extend into the North West province. On this 47 000 hectares of land you will find limestone caves with fossils of ancient animals, plants and hominids.
Vredefort Dome World Heritage Site: Free State
The Vredefort Dome is the oldest astrobleme in the world so far, being 190km in radius. It is located in the Free State and was formed approximately 2000 million years ago when an enormous meteorite hit the earth.
Knowing that South Africa has so much to offer, the above only being a drop in the bucket, we can really be proudly South African!