Heritage Sites

Heritage Sites in South Africa

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Heritage Sites are cultural or natural places of importance which have been preserved to be enjoyed by future generations. Being named a UNESCO World Heritage Site is the highest accolade for heritage sites. With 10 UNESCO World heritage sites South Africa is a great heritage sites destination. In no particular order below are the 10 best UNESCO World heritage sites in South Africa.

1. The Cradle of Humankind

The Cradle of humankind was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1999. A visit to the Cradle of humankind located 50km from Johannesburg will be a great experience. They always have interesting exhibitions that can be enjoyed by the whole family. Visitors will go on an educational journey of learning about the origins of humankind and there is also a lot of activities for kids to enjoy. it currently occupies 47,000 hectares and contains a complex of limestone caves. You will also do the Sterkfontein Caves tour. Sterkfontein was formed in dolomitic limestone over millions of years. They began to form as early as 20-million years ago. Most caves including Sterkfontein – are formed by the dissolving action of weakly acidic rainwater, which seeps into the soluble rock through the soil. Read more 

Accommodation: Where to stay near Cradle of Humankind

2. Robben Island Museum

Nelson Mandela

Robben Island Museum was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1999. This UNESCO World Heritage is not to be missed on your visit to Cape Town. The tour on the island is very informative, takes you through South Africa’s history and origin of how Robben Island Museum. You will get an eye-opening first-hand experience from a former political prisoner who amongst Nelson Mandela spent many years as political prisoners there. Read more 

Accommodation: Where to stay near Robben Island Museum 

3. Mapungubwe National Park

Mapungubwe national park

Mapungubwe National Park was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2003. This world heritage site is located in the Limpopo province of South Africa. As the place of Southern Africa’s first kingdom, the archaeological site is a must-visit. Apart from the historical and cultural experience the national park also has a great landscape and lots of wildlife to see. Sanparks

Accommodation: Where to stay near Mapungubwe National Park 

4.iSimangaliso Wetland Park

heritage sites

isimangaliso Wetland Park was declared South Africa’s first UNESCO World Heritage site in 1999. It is a world-renowned heritage site where conservation, sustainable tourism and benefit-sharing prevail. Located about 2 hours from Durban isimangaliso means miracle in Zulu. This is a wonderful place to visit when you visit Durban. With so many ecosystems in one place like the sea, dunes, lakes and wildlife isimangaliso is a magical heritage site to visit. Read more 

Accommodation: Where to stay near isimangaliso Wetland Park 

5. Khomani Cultural Landscape

heritage sites

The Khomani cultural landscape in the Northern Cape was declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2017. The area is home to the Khomani San people who are the descends of the ancient people that lived in Southern Africa during the stone age time. The Khomani san people are known for their ancient and deep understanding of maintaining a balanced approach when living off the land. The landscape covers an area of 959,100ha which has an abundance of red dunes. Read more 

6. Maloti Drakensberg Park

Maloti Drakensberg Park was declared a UNESCO world heritage site in 2000. The Kwa-Zulu Natal located heritage site offers visitors a breathtaking landscape, beautiful hikes and lots of wildlife. This is a great place to go for all outdoor lovers as you will not be disappointed. There is a wide variety of activities you can do while there like horse riding and cycling. Accommodation and campsites are also available. Read more 

Accommodation: Where to stay near Maloti Drakensberg Park 

7. The Cape Floral Region World Heritage Site

The Cape floral region was declared a UNESCO world heritage site in 2004. It begins from the Cape Peninsula in the Western Cape up to the Eastern Cape province of South Africa. Did you know that 30% of the plants found in the Cape floral region are found nowhere else in the world? UNESCO also identified this world heritage site as one of the world’s 18 biodiversity hot-spots and it is one of the 6 floral kingdoms in the world. Read more

8. Barberton Makhonjwa Mountains

heritage sites south africa

Barberton Makhonjwa Mountains in Mpumalanga also known as Barberton Greenstone Belt was declared a UNESCO world heritage site in 2018.  This heritage site is also known as the the “Genesis of Life” because of the ancient green rocks which are among the world’s oldest geological formations. The Barberton Makhonjwa Mountains represents the best-preserved succession of volcanic and sedimentary rock dating back 3.6 to 3.25 billion years when the first continents were starting to form on the primitive earth. Read more 

Accommodation: Where to stay near Barberton 

9. Vredefort Dome World Heritage Site

Located in the Free State province of South Africa the Vredefort Dome has declared a UNESCO world heritage site in 2005. It is the oldest and largest meteorite impact site in the world. The Vredefort impact crater was created when a meteorite 10-15 Km in diameter collided with the earth at a speed of about 40 000km per hour. It’s not only the largest its also the deepest and largest with a radius of 190km. The heritage site is a great place to visit for all those that like educational and geographic tours. Read more

Accommodation: Where to stay near Vredefort Dome 

10. Richtersveld World Heritage Site

Richtersveld in the Northern Cape province of South Africa was declared a UNESCO world heritage site in 2007. The heritage site is located in the heart of what is known as the Succulent Karoo Biodiversity Hotspot. The area offers rugged and beautiful views that are worth the visit. You can also look forward to amazing rock formations and dry sandy riverbeds making it a photographers paradise.  We must say that the place is not for the faint-hearted but a great for all those that love spending time in nature. Make sure you bring lots of water, suncream and an extra spare tyre. Read more 

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