The month of September is a special one in South Africa, and this year, its particularly special to us! It’s Heritage Month and World Tourism Month. Also, with interprovincial travel opened again, it is an ideal time to rediscover our beautiful country. Travel local and experience the awe-inspiring cultures and heritages that make South Africa what it is.
When you think of South Africa, what first comes to mind is the King Protea, the Springbok, and the Blue Crane – all national symbols of our breath-taking country. What do these all have in common? They all play a major role in the upholding of national unity and provide South Africans with a platform for valuing their ethnicity, culture, and nationality. South Africans are a group of friendly, hard-working people who that embraces diversity and love each other’s differences – a beautiful sentiment and one to live by.
September in South Africa calls upon its people to use Heritage Month to foster social unity, nation-building and a form shared national identity and how better can we do that by travelling around our beautiful country, learning about the South African heritage and cultures, and visiting our iconic national treasures.
Travel to Kwa-Zulu Natal and experience one of South Africa’s most iconic cultural traditions – Zulu Dancing. These dancers can be found in various locations in Kwa-Zulu Natal such as on the beachfront or at the Phezula Game Park. Watching the dancers move with such passion, grace, agility (and a little humour) is a sight to behold – admiring the dancers, fully dressed in their traditional attire, dancing, singing, and beating the drums is quite spectacular. The perfect outing to feel the rhythm of Africa.
San Rock Paintings
The San, otherwise known as Bushmen, are indigenous people of Southern Africa. There are thousands of examples of San rock art and these ancient cultural rock paintings can be found in the Drakensberg, Cederberg, and the Eastern Cape. Varying from paintings of people and wildlife, initially, it was believed the paintings were a record of everyday life but much of the artwork is considered to display the specific San experience of journeys in the spirit world and of San Shamans.
These depictions of a world we can only imagine today are interesting and thought-provoking – a definite must for those who are interested in history and the heritage of South Africa.
The Nelson Mandela Capture Site
Nelson Mandela is the former president of South Africa who is praised for his efforts to establish racial, social, and political equality in South Africa. The Nelson Mandela Capture Site, located in Howick, KZN, is a culturally historical exhibition that pays homage to the site at which Nelson Mandela was apprehended for his anti-Apartheid activism. The monument comprises 50 steel columns that are between 6 and 9.5 metres in height which form an image of the late president when viewed at the correct angle. The columns line up so that, at a specific angle, they create a two-dimensional image of Mr Mandela. A true display of his greatness and a must-visit during your travels.
Heading over to the shores of Cape Town, Robben Island is an island in Table Bay and is situated west of the coast of Bloubergstrand, north of Cape Town. Over 300 years ago, this island was a place of exile where leaders would send those who they considered outcasts and troublemakers. In the late 20th century the islands buildings were used as a maximum-security prison for political prisoners. This is where the Former President of South Africa served 18 years for political activism. Tourists can visit his cell and can see the world through his eyes, looking out the window upon the prison yard – a view Nelson Mandela endured for 18 years of his 27-year prison sentence. Robben Island was declared a World Heritage Site as the buildings on the island are a reminder of a sad history but also to show the power of the human spirit, freedom, and the victory of democracy over oppression.
One of the 7 Wonders of the World, Table Mountain is a sight of beauty and strength. Known as Table Mountain for its flat surface, which was created through thousands of years of erosion. The view from the top is extraordinary and can be admired by either taking an adventurous hike up the mountain or by a ride on the cable car. One of the few conservation areas in the world that is entirely surrounded by a city, Table Mountain is home to a variety of wildlife and fauna, from dassies to porcupines and close to 1500 plant species. This is one adventure you can’t miss out on!
Cradle of Humankind
This astonishing World Heritage Site is truly remarkable. The Cradle of Humankind lies mostly in the province of Gauteng, slightly extending into the North West Province, covering over 40 0000 hectares. The sit is comprised of a dozen limestone domes/caves which contain fossilized remains from an ancient world – forms of hominids (the ancestors of modern humans), animals, and plants. The domes are filled with significant fossil finds, including the well-known fossils “Mrs Ples” and “Little Foot”. If you are interested in ancestry, history and what the world was like millions of years ago – this is the perfect spot for you.
After being in lockdown for what seems like an eternity, you must be itching to escape the restrictions and have a change of scenery. Why not get out and discover the beauty of South Africa all while learning about its interesting and diverse cultures and heritage? With it being Heritage Month and World Tourism Month – it’s the best time to do so! Go out, travel locally, and make memories to last a lifetime.
Just remember to keep safe, sanitise, wear your mask and flatten the curve. Travel may be permitted but we MUST continue to follow the rules for the safety of ourselves and those around us.
Safe travels and we look forward to welcoming you back!