Some places have exceptional universal value, whether in terms of their cultural or natural significance. Giving them protection status is a way to foster their preservation for generations to come. On the tip of Africa is a country rich in places that deserve such safeguards. Here are ten sites that have been inscribed as UNESCO World Heritage Sites in South Africa.
Richtersveld Cultural and Botanical Landscape (cultural)
The three Nama villages in the community area are Kuboes, Lekkersing and Eksteenfontein. Stay over in the villages to experience the culture, the stories, the Namastap dancing, then explore the Ai-Ais/Richtersveld Transfrontier Park's glorious desert mountain landscapes in your 4x4.
More about the Richtersveld
Where: Northern Cape
Khomani Cultural Landscape (cultural)
Enjoy a cultural experience with the San, stop and chat to people selling their age-old crafts on the way to the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, and explore the park itself to better understand where and how the Khomani San lived in times past.
More about the Kalahari
Where: Northern Cape
Mapungubwe Cultural Landscape (cultural)
Don't miss a tour to Mapungubwe Hill and a visit to the stylish Visitor Interpretive Centre at Mapungubwe National Park for an insight into the heritage of the area.
More about Mapungubwe
Robben Island (cultural)
Today, you can tour the island to see sites like the leper graveyard, a lime quarry, the army and navy bunkers and the prison. The tour, conducted by ex-prisoners who tell their personal stories, ends with a visit to the cell where Mandela stayed.
More about Robben Island
Where: Table Bay, Western Cape
Fossil Hominid Sites of the Cradle of Humankind (cultural)
The Maropeng Visitor Information Centre is a good place to start your heritage exploration. More adventurous activities in the area include water sports and ziplines.
More about the Cradle of Humankind
Where: Gauteng and North-West
Cape Floral Region Protected Areas (natural)
Exploring the mountains of the Cape will bring you into contact with this natural heritage, or visit Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden in Cape Town for easy access to some of its fynbos wonders.
More about the Cape Floral Kingdom
Where: Western, Northern and Eastern Cape
Vredefort Dome (natural)
Apart from guided geotrails, activities in the area include sky-diving, abseiling, canoeing, white-water rafting and fishing.
More about the Vredefort Dome
Where: Free State and North-West
iSimangaliso Wetland Park (natural)
Go snorkelling or scuba diving to explore the coral reefs and colourful underwater life. Game drives, horse riding and kayaking are just some of the other adventures you can have in the area.
More about iSimangaliso
Barberton Makhonjwa Mountains (natural)
One of the best things to do here is to drive the 37km Barberton Makhonjwa Geotrail on the R40 between Barberton and eSwatini (Swaziland), stopping at the 11 lay-byes to read the geological info panels.
More about the Barberton Makhonjwa Mountains
Maluti-Drakensberg Park (mixed: cultural and natural)
One of the best activities to enjoy here is hiking along the numerous trails, keeping your eyes out for birds and ducking into caves to explore the rock art.
More about the Maluti-Drakensberg Park
Like it? Pin this image!