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World Heritage Sites in South Africa

South Africa is home to majestic mountain ranges, scenic beaches, and some of the most unspoilt wilderness areas on the planet; it also has a diverse cultural heritage going back thousands, if not millions of years. It is therefore not surprising that South Africa is home to no less than eight UNESCO World Heritage Sites, all of which are impressive in their beauty and their contribution to humanity.

Robben Island

This famous landmark stands at the entrance to Table Bay. It is where Nobel Peace Prize winner and late South African president, Nelson Mandela spent 18 years of his 27 prison sentence together with many of his fellow struggle stalwarts.

iSimangaliso Wetland Park

iSimangaliso translates to miracle and wonder, a very apt name for this 332,000 hectare wetland park that consists of three major freshwater lakes and eight overlapping ecosystems. It is the largest estuarine system in Africa, and is home to 526 species of birds, as well as coastal dunes that are 25,000 years old, and fishing traditions that date back 700 years

Cradle of Humankind

This World Heritage Site has yielded about 40% of all hominid fossils, some of which date back 3,5 million years.

uKhahlamba Drakensberg Park

Locally known as The Barrier of Spears, The Drakensberg is not only the highest mountain range in South Africa, but a place of immense beauty famed for fantastic hikes and historic Bushman rock paintings.

Mapungubwe Cultural Landscape

This Iron Age site is the remnants of a pre-colonial Southern African state that was located south of the point where the Limpopo and Shashe rivers meet. Recovered artifacts provide evidence that a highly advanced society existed there hundreds of years before Africa was colonized by Europeans.

Cape Floral Region

The cape fynbos biome is one of the most diverse floral kingdoms of the world, with 70% of the plants found there occurring nowhere else on the planet. The Table Mountain National Park on the Cape Peninsula is home to more floral species in its 22,000 hectare expanse than the whole of New Zealand or Great Britain, making it a botanists dream.

Vredefort Dome

Dating back 2 million years, the Vredefort Dome formed as a result of the impact of a meteorite measuring 10 kilometers in diameter slamming into the earth. This gigantic meteor crater is not only the world's largest but also the oldest. 

Richtersveld Cultural and Botanical Landscape

This remarkable natural wonder situated in the Northern Cape consists of mountainous arid landscape characterized by rocky kloofs and desert. This biodiversity hotspot is home to a diverse range of plant species, 33 of which are found nowhere else on earth. The area is managed by local Nama -- an indigenous, nomadic people with a rich culture and heritage.  The Richtersveld is a place to put high up on your itinerary when visiting South Africa as the landscape is just so unique, desolate, and hauntingly beautiful.

 

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