South Africa’s UNESCO World Heritage Sites (part one)
South Africa is home to eight different UNESCO World Heritage Sites. This is everything you need to know about the Heritage Sites when you plan your road trip to see them.
- Robben Island
This is one of the world’s most well-known tourist destinations. It was Nelson Mandela’s home for 27 years. A boat will ferry you to the island just off Table Bay where you can see the cell where Mandela and many other stalwarts were kept during Apartheid. It has a somber atmosphere and when combined with its tragic history, it makes for a highly poignant experience.
Province: Western Cape
Where to stay: at the V&A Waterfront as it will put you within walking distance of the departure points.
Must-do experience: the tour with someone previously imprisoned on the island.
- iSimangaliso Wetland Park
This is one of the largest estuaries in Africa. You will find more than 520 different bird species here as well as high sand dunes, beaches , coral reefs, wetlands, mangrove swamps, woodlands, forests and grasslands. You can also go snorkeling, whale watching and go on midnight turtle tours.
Province: Kwa-Zulu Natal
Where to stay: within the park itself in a variety of accommodation from camping to lodges
Must-do experience: a boat ride on Lake St. Lucia where you can see hippos, crocodiles and even sharks in the same place
- Cradle of Humankind
This is where you see the oldest remains of homids which are the early ancestors of the human race. The area is one of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites because of the contribution it has made to understanding the history of humankind over the last three million years. Keep an eye open for the fossils ‘Mrs Ples’ and ‘Little Foot.’
Where to stay: Various accommodation options in neighbouring town of Muldersdrift.
Must-do experience: tour the Sterkfontein Caves where you can see even more wonders about the history of humankind.
- uKhahlamba-Drakensberg Park
KwaZulu Natal is also home to the awe-inspiring Drakensburg Mountains. They are the highest mountain range in South Africa and has plenty to offer nature and adventure enthusiasts. There are also a number iof sites within the park which have garnered acclaim for their sheer beauty and wonder. These include Giant’s Castle, Monk’s Cowl and Cathedral Peak.
Province: KwaZulu Natal
Where to stay: there is a large amount of accommodfation available from adventure camps to farm lodges
Must-do experience: hike up to a wall of rock 5km long and 1000m high known as the Amphitheatre
This is only half the list of extraordinary UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Read next week’s article to learn about the rest.
To read last week’s MasterTravel article, click here