South African World Heritage Sites
Our World Heritage Sites
South Africa has nine World Heritage Sites proclaimed by UNESCO, made up of 5 cultural, 3 natural and one mixed (cultural and natural) heritage sites.
Since 1999 South Africa had successfully managed to ensure that the World Heritage community recognizes the outstanding universal values of nine properties within its territory.
The nine Heritage Sites are:
- Robben Island 1999 (Western Cape). Most famous for the incarceration of political prisoners, including Nelson Mandela, the first democratically elected President of South Africa, who 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. In 1999 the island was declared a World Heritage Site.
- iSimangaliso Wetland Park 1999 (KwaZulu-Natal). Formerly called the Greater St Lucia Wetland Park, it has both one of the largest estuary systems in Africa and the continent’s southernmost coral reefs.The park has been noted for its exceptional biodiversity.
- Cradle of Humankind 1999 (Gauteng). It includes the hominid fossil sites at Swartkrans, Sterkfontein and Kromdraai.It well known for the number of humanoid bones discovered in the area and evidence of human evolution over the last 3.5-million years.
- Ukhahlamba-Drakensberg Park 2000 (KwaZulu-Natal). The park has outstanding natural beauty, Africa’s highest mountain range south of Kilimanjaro, and the largest and most concentrated series of rock art paintings in Africa.Making it a World Heritage site of both natural and cultural significance.
- Mapungubwe Heritage Site 2003 (Limpopo). A “place of the stone of wisdom”, was South Africa’s first kingdom and developed into the subcontinent’s largest realm, lasting for 400 years before it was abandoned in the 14th century. Its highly sophisticated people traded gold and ivory with China, India and Egypt.
- Cape Floral Kingdom 2004 (Western Cape). It makes up only 0.04% of the world’s land area, yet contains an astonishing 3% of its plant species, making it one of the richest areas for plants in the world and one of the globe’s 18 biodiversity hotspots. The protected areas include:Table Mountain, De Hoop Nature Reserve, Boland mountain complex, Groot Winterhoek wilderness area, Swartberg mountains, Boosmansbos wilderness area, Cederberg wilderness area, Baviaanskloof and Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens.
- Vredefort Dome 2005 (Free State). Some two billion years ago, a meteorite 10 km in diameter hit the earth about 100 km south west of Johannesburg, creating an enormous impact crater.
- Richtersveld Cultural and Botanical Landscape 2007 (Northern Cape). It covers 160 000 hectares of dramatic mountainous desert in the north-west part of South Africa. You can explore the Richtersveld National Park.A unique feature of the site is that it is owned and managed by a community that until recently had very little to call its own.
- ǂKhomani Cultural Landscape 2017 (Northen Cape). The ǂKhomani Cultural Landscape coincides with the boundaries of South Africa’s Kalahari Gemsbok National Park, located in the extreme northwest of the country, bordering Namibia and Botswana. It is a harsh desert environment in which the ǂKhomani-San people have lived in close association with nature as a nomadic hunter-gatherer community for millennia. The inclusion of the area on the world heritage list recognises the cultural importance of this association between the ǂKhomani-San people and this part of their traditional homeland.
Please contact us to plan your dream safari to South Africa and visit these Heritage Sites!