Five historical sites you can visit for Heritage Day

One of the five historical sites you can visit on Heritage Day.
One of the five historical sites you can visit on Heritage Day.
Charles O'Rear

Heritage Day is a South African public holiday that honours, recognises and celebrate the cultural wealth of our nation.

It is a day that South Africans use to remember who they are and where they come from. 

And each year, various events are staged throughout the country to commemorate this day.

However, if you are not sure how and where to spend Heritage Day, Drum has compiled a list of five historical heritage sites that you can visit across the country.

Read more| 20 African natural wonders could get World Heritage site status - including Succulent Karoo desert in SA

Robben Island, Western Cape

The solitary island of Robben Island situated some 9km offshore from Cape Town and has a deep connection with the history of South Africa. It is where South African President Nelson Mandela spent 18 of his 27 years in prison.

Visitors can go on a guided tour to the Robben Island Museum and get first-hand accounts of Nelson Mandela's life in prison.

UKhahlamba-Drakensberg Park, KwaZulu-Natal

This World Heritage Site in KwaZulu-Natal is an open-air mountain museum where more than 30 000 examples of Bushman rock art can be viewed on the walls of caves.

The park includes Royal Natal National Park, a provincial park, and covers part of the Drakensberg, an escarpment formation with the highest elevations in southern Africa.

Covering 242,813 hectares of area, the park spans parts of both South Africa, in KwaZulu-Natal province, and Lesotho.

It has a wealth of biological diversity.

Read more| 30 famous World Heritage sites you can virtually visit on Google Earth while social distancing

Mapungubwe Cultural Landscape, Limpopo

South Africa's fifth World Heritage Site Mapungubwe National Park is the ideal location for anyone interested in wildlife and birds.

Mapungubwe is set hard against the northern border of South Africa, joining Zimbabwe and Botswana.

The Mapungubwe Cultural Landscape demonstrates the rise and fall of the first indigenous kingdom in Southern Africa between 900 and 1,300 AD.

Richtersveld Cultural and Botanical Landscape, Northern Cape

The Richtersveld is one of the Earth's richest reservoirs of plant and animal life. It is one of the few places where one can still see harmonious interaction between man and nature.

In the rarely explored land behind Khuboes and Eksteenfontein, there are 33 types of plants that you will find nowhere else in the world.

The Richtersveld is the pastoral grazing ground for the Nama, the indigenous community who live the transhumance lifestyle - migrating seasonally with their livestock from mountains to the river and, as such, make sustainable use of the fragile succulent ecosystem.

Cradle of Humankind, Gauteng

The Cradle of Humankind is where the origins of humans can be traced back to and holds great scientific importance.

It is located about 50 km northwest of Johannesburg, South Africa, in the Gauteng province. And was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1999.

The world-renowned Sterkfontein Caves is home to the oldest and most continuous paleontological dig in the world. It is also the site of discovery of the famous pre-human skull affectionately known as "Mrs Ples", and an almost complete hominid skeleton called "Little Foot", dated 2.3 and 4.17 million years old respectively.


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