South Africa has become one of the most talked about countries in recent years – not just for its incredible history and rise from the ashes, but also because of its unrivalled beauty. It has won many travel awards over the years for this very reason, and if we do say so ourselves, it’s worth seeing and experiencing it for yourself.
Not only is South Africa a stunning place, but it’s also a place which speaks to many different types of travellers, with varying interests and passions. Whether you’re a creative cat, foodie, nature lover, adventure seeker; or one who gets a thrill from visiting historical landmarks and hearing interesting stories about the past; South Africa will certainly fulfil your desires!
One is often taken aback at just how blessed this country is. With its breathtaking sights; friendly, welcoming people, incredible food, interesting things to do and stunning weather for most of the year, South Africa is a country that can easily compete with some of the world’s most popular travel destinations.
While South Africa is a dreamy destination, it’s also a country that has come exceptionally far. Just a few decades ago South Africa was a place of oppression, social injustice and segregation. Now, a mere 24/25 years later, South Africa is a country of freedom and equality. It’s a country which has risen from the ashes, and it continues to blossom to this day.
Due to South Africa’s past, there are many great historical landmarks that one should not miss while there. These landmarks will give you as a visitor, further insight into how this beautiful country was shaped; and it will certainly surprise you just how far South Africa has come.
Robben Island | Cape Town
Robben Island is an iconic landmark in South Africa as it was at this island prison where Nelson Mandela spent 18 years of his 27 year sentence. Tourists as well as locals visit Robben Island to better understand the life that Nelson Mandela lived, and seek to gain better insight into what he gave up for the people of South Africa. Not only does this place open your eyes to the state South Africa was in at the time, but it also awakens you to the beautiful, moral and virtuous man Mandela was. One is able to take a +- 30 minute ferry from the Cape Town harbour at the waterfront (check the schedules before arriving) to Robben Island; and once there, you are taken on an incredible tour of the entire prison as well as Nelson Mandela’s cell.
The Castle of Good Hope | Cape Town
The Castle of Good Hope is another fascinating landmark which attracts tourists and locals aplenty. The castle was built in the 17th century, making it the oldest colonial building in South Africa. It was built by the Dutch East India Company during the time of unrest between Britain and the Netherlands, when there were speculations that there may be a war ensuing. The castle had many uses, one being a place of safety should war breakout; a replenishment port for the passing ships on their way to Europe, as well as a prison in later years.
District Six Museum | Cape Town
The District Six Museum pays homage to the 60,000+ inhabitants that were forcibly evicted from District Six, a residential community in Cape Town, during the Apartheid era in the 1970’s. This was an area inhabited by a mixed race community which was seen as ‘illegal’ by the ruling government at the time. Many people lost their homes and were forced to part with their friends, family and tight-knit community due to the segregated laws. Here at the District Six Museum, you’ll see old pictures, memorabilia as well as notes from the former inhabitants as well as exhibits about the demolition of District Six.
Nelson Mandela Capture Site | Kwazulu-Natal (Durban)
The Nelson Mandela capture site is situated in Howick, Kwa-Zulu Natal. It has become an iconic landmark and historical exhibition location, as this was the very place where Nelson Mandela was captured for imprisonment, because of his fight against the Apartheid regime. Here you’ll find an erected artwork of Mandela where one can take some beautiful photographs.
The Cradle of Humankind | Gauteng (Johannesburg)
The Cradle of Humankind is a paleoanthropology site situated just outside of Johannesburg. The site, which covers around 47,000 hectares and was declared a World Heritage Site by Unesco, is where the oldest hominid fossil was found in 1947. The fossil was nicknamed ‘Mrs Ples’ and is around 2-3 million years old. Since then a number of early hominid fossils have been found; with the Cradle of Humankind officially producing a third of all early hominid fossils ever found on earth. It’s believed it was in this region where human life began.