World Heritage Sites

The South African government is making a concerted effort to preserve the natural and cultural heritage treasures for present and future generations.

A world heritage site is defined as an area that holds outstanding universal value. The World Heritage Convention of UNESCO was established to encourage countries to preserve their natural and cultural heritage, to promote international cooperation to protect heritage sites and to lend assistance to countries to preserve their heritage. In keeping with these policies, the South African government nominated the following three priority areas to be recognised as World Heritage Sites:

Robben Island
Immortalised by the plight of political prisoners, most notably Nelson Mandela, this symbol of democracy lies just off Table Bay near the famous city of Cape Town in the Western Cape. Frequent boat trips are undertaken from the V&A Waterfront that allows visitors to either travel around the island or to embark and tour the island prison.

Greater St Lucia Wetland Park
The Greater St Lucia Wetland Park lies along the north eastern coast of KwaZulu-Natal. This particular area is renowned for its five separate but interlinked ecosystems. The marine system features warm waters, coral reefs, submarine canyons and sandy beaches. The coastal dune system features high dunes, sub-tropical forests as well as grassy plains and wetlands. The lake system features two estuary linked lakes as well as four other lakes. The swamp system includes swamp forests, as well as extensive reed and papyrus swamps. The inland system includes ancient terraces and savannah woodlands.

Fossil Hominid Sites of Sterkfontein, Swartkrans, Kromdraai and Environs
The area where some of the most significant palaeoanthropological finds in the world have been made, lies west of Johannesburg and near Krugersdorp in Gauteng. Since it has presented us with valuable answers to the questions surrounding the origins of mankind, it is often called the “Cradle of Mankind”. The skull of “Mrs Ples” and “Little Foot” are some of the most important finds.

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