Holidays in South Africa - amazing beaches, wildlife and outstanding beauty
Places to visit in South Africa

 

Beautiful South Africa
Great views of Plettenberg on the coast from the mountains north of Plettenberg

 

South Africa remains one of the world's most amazing holiday destinations.  It has a wealth of beauty and a rich variety that is not found anywhere else in the world.

SSouth Africa semi-desertome of the most spectacular must-sees are the eight World Heritage Sites in South Africa:

  • The uKhahlamba-Drakensberg Park (2000): the only mixed site (cultural AND natural) recognized for its majestic mountains, spectacular gorges and sand-coloured parapets, its alpine vegetation, endemic fauna, sources of pure rivers and highly threatened grasslands. This mountain range (the Dragon’s Back) boasts original San rock art of animals and people in rock shelters and caves depicting a cultural history of more than 4000 years. 

  • The Cape Floral region: home to nearly 20% of the continent’s flora and one of the richest plant areas in the world. Only 553 000 ha of Fynbos vegetation lay claim to dazzling biodiverse systems (including pollination and fire) and unmatched diversity and endemism of the flora therein. 

  • The Greater St Lucia Wetlands Park (1999): South Africa’s first ever Natural World Heritage Site ranges across 280km of almost untouched coastline and more than 300 000 ha of enviable ecosystems and landscapes. These unique wetland systems are vital for the region’s biodiversity and attract many endangered animals and plants to their shores for food and shelter. 

  • The Vredefort Dome (2005): the oldest and largest meteorite impact site in the world – known as an Astrobleme. It is believed that a meteor larger than Table Mountain hit South Africa some 2 000 million years ago creating an indent about 40km in diameter! Geologists say that it is possible that 70 cubic kilometers of rock would have disintegrated on impact. The crater now looks like a ring of hills.

  • The Mapungubwe Cultural Landscape: known as South Africa’s first ever kingdom between 1050 and 1270 AD, researchers believe that this very intricate group of people existed before the Shonas. The well preserved remains are now part of the Mapungubwe National Park. The site protects the confluence of the Limpopo and Shashe Rivers, mopane woodlands, ancient floodplains, unique riverine forests, baobab trees and a rich array of wildlife.

  • The Cradle of Humankind: located in Gauteng and North West Province these dolomitic limestone caves still contain the fossils of ancient forms of animals, plants and people. This 47 000 ha of archeological history began more than 2 billion years ago as a coral reef in a shallow sea! 

  • On Robben Island South AfricaRobben Island (1999): part of South Africa’s unhappy history - over a period of 400 years it was the place of banishment for those the governments regarded as political stirrers or social misfits who could no longer be part of “normal” society. This cultural World Heritage Site is associated with Apartheid and was the prison where Nelson Mandela spent most of his life. Anyone opposing Apartheid was sent here for isolation and torture but many of these “freedom fighters” rose up against their imprisonment and survived the psychological and physical exploitation to tell their stories today in the New South Africa.

  • The Richtersveld Cultural and Botanical Landscape: declared the eighth South African World Heritage Site only two years ago for its unique conservation management by the Nama community, whose ancestors were the Khoi-Khoi people. Despite their exploitation the Nama people persevered and were recently granted their land back as part of the government’s land restitution programme. These people have elected to conserve the striking mountainous desert and its unusual flora as a form of natural wealth that belongs to all that visit her.   

     

     

     

     

    Travel pages - for places to visit outside South Africa