South Africa is home to eight of the world’s official heritage sites, testifying to its wonderful variety across the boards of cultural, historical and natural treasures. With South Africa’s complex cultures, deep history and undeniably spectacular natural landscapes, it is no wonder that this country boasts so many of these special sites and attractions. Here is a pick of our favourite South African World Heritage Sites.
Ukhahlamba Drakensberg Park
Just two hours’ drive from Durban, the uKhahlamba Drakensberg Park is a slice of heaven here on earth. The Ukhahlamba Drakensberg Park has exceptional natural beauty in its soaring basaltic buttresses, incisive dramatic cutbacks, and golden sandstone ramparts. Rolling high altitude grasslands, the pristine steep sided river valleys and rocky gorges also contribute to the beauty of this world heritage site.
Robben Island is most famous as the place where Nelson Mandela, the first democratically elected president of South Africa, was imprisoned for 18 of his 27 years in jail. The island has since become a symbol of the triumph of democracy and freedom over oppression. Robben Island was declared a World Heritage Site in 1999. It can be reached via ferry from the V&A Waterfront. Call ahead to book your visit to Robben Island as there are sometimes problems with the ferry service. Weather can also affect tours.
Richtersveld Cultural and Botanical Landscape
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, descendents of the Khoi-Khoi people. It is a land of extreme temperatures characterised by a harsh, dry landscape. The Richtersveld boasts extreme landscapes comprising rugged kloofs, high mountains and a harsh climate. Photographers and artists will find plenty of inspiration here.
iSimangaliso Wetland Park
The iSimangaliso Wetland Park is where coral reefs, sandy beaches, coastal dunes, lakes, swamps, and wetlands meet and harmonise. A few stand-out species include the sea turtles which nest on the sandy shores, and the enormous flocks of flamingos which roost on the edge of the lakes. The incredibly beautiful series of beaches, coral reefs, lakes, swamps, wetlands, woodlands, coastal forests and grasslands that stretch all the way from Kosi Bay, virtually on the Mozambican border, to Cape St Lucia in the south collectively form the first of eight South African World Heritage Sites.
Make sure you visit these World Heritage Sites on your next trip to South Africa. If you wish to view some exciting career opportunities in South Africa, make sure you click through to our job section.