September is Heritage Month in South Africa so here are some amazing places to visit this month that will teach you things you may not have known before.
September is Heritage Month, so what better time to explore and experience the best our rich local multi-cultural society has to offer. Whether it’s a trip to a noisy shebeen or shesa nyama, or a visit to a historic museum or heritage site while on holiday, September serves to celebrate our unique and abundant cultural diversity. Flight Centre has compiled a list of quirky destinations to visit to ensure a cultural encounter like no other.
Cultural Cape Town and surrounds
In addition to a rich Dutch heritage, the Cape is also home to a large Cape Malay community whose heritage continues to thrive in the colourful Bo-Kaap district in Cape Town.
The area is renowned for its quaint colourful houses and cobble-stoned streets and it is also home to the Nurul Islam Mosque that dates back to 1844. For an authentic Cape Malay culinary experience visit Bo-Kaap Kombuis whose owners are still churning out traditional recipes passed down through the generations.
Take a trip back in time at South Africa’s oldest wine farm. Despite the fact that it remains a fully operational farm, Groot Constantia has been declared a national heritage site. The estate houses an orientation centre and homestead, both of which are national monuments and contain a wonderful selection of antique artifacts.
Historic Kwa-Zulu Natal
Situated north of the city of Durban is a living monument to traditional Zulu culture – aka Shakaland. Stay over in one of the traditionally built Zulu huts and enjoy an authentic Zulu meal at the on-site Shisa Nyama. There are also various cultural experiences on offer including a beer drinking ceremony, spear throwing, fighting formations, as well as a visit to a traditional sangoma.
Home to a large number of historic battle sites a trip along the Battlefields Route, KZN provides fascinating insight into the clashes that shaped our country’s history. In addition to an accurate and detailed road map, it’s highly advisable to employ the services of a knowledgeable tour guide as they are experts on the history of the area and the significance of the various sites and monuments.
Traditional Free State
Scenically nestled in the east of the Golden Gate Highlands National Park a visit to the Basotho Cultural Village is an absolute must. The camp has been deliberately constructed to resemble an 18th century Basotho village and a trip here gives visitors an authentic taste of traditional Basotho culture, architecture and hospitality.
Visitors can taste Basotho traditional cuisine, and are also given an introduction to commonly used implements and weapons. A walk along the herbal trail gives visitors insight into herbal medicines that are still used by African healers to this very day.
Heart of Gauteng
When it comes to celebrating our unique heritage, no place is more apt to visit than a trip to the birthplace of where it all began – the Cradle of Humankind. A UNESCO World Heritage site, this region comprises some of the world’s most important fossil sites including Sterkfontein, Swartkrans and Kromdraai.
Maropeng, the official visitors centre means ‘returning to the place of origin’. Here visitors are transported back billions of years and can marvel at the many exhibitions that include authentic fossil and interactive displays together with intriguing information about humankind.
Home to an ancient southern African culture, the Kingdom of Mapungubwe region in Limpopo is today a National Park and a protected heritage site. Archeological finds indicate that between 900 AD to 1300 AD, Mapungubwe was home to an advanced culture of people who thrived through trading gold, ivory, pottery and beads.
A visit to the Interpretation Centre reveals the fascinating history behind this culture and the building structure itself won prestigious architectural awards for its eco-friendly architectural attributes.