Historical sites in South Africa

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Start planning your historical tour of South Africa

A turbulent past, unique language varieties, and breathtaking architecture are what await travelers interested in South Africa's historical sites. From Mandela's imprisonment on Robben Island to the celebration of Afrikaans on the hill overlooking Paarl, South Africa historical sites offer different glimpses of the country's past.

What makes South Africa a great destination for history lovers?

South Africa's contrasting cultures feature Dutch, British, Zulu, Xhosa, Swazi, and other traditional southern African elements to create a unique experience for travelers. It is called the Rainbow Nation for this unique congregation of cultures, each one unique in its historical importance to the country.

The best historical sites in South Africa to visit

Nelson Mandela was imprisoned on Robben Island, making it one of the most important and popular historical sites in South Africa. But the Rainbow Nation has more to offer visitors to the southernmost tip of the African continent, not least The Cradle of Humankind in Maropeng.

  • Explore South Africa's military history at the Castle of Good Hope

    The pentagonal fortress is South Africa's oldest colonial building. Located in Cape Town, the fortress served an important link between the west and east, giving Dutch settlers a firm grip of the Spice Trade. Flute pillars and curved staircases welcome visitors interested in the historical wonders of this old fortress.
  • Remember Mandela's struggles at the Nelson Capture Site

    South Africa's greatest son was arrested in Howick, KwaZulu-Natal, and imprisoned for 27 years. On the site of his arrest, a sculpture of 50 laser-cut metal columns spanning 30 meters show a dramatic visage of the great man. Stay to watch the dramatic multi-faceted image that forms as the sun shifts.
  • Explore the origin of species at The Cradle of Humankind

    Mrs. Ples, the most complete skull of the oldest Australopithecus africanus was found in Sterkfontein Caves, a network of limestone caves some 25 miles to the north-west of Johannesburg. Another set of fossils was found nearby at the Rising Star Cave, earning the site in Maropeng its legendary status.
  • Read history at the Afrikaans Language Monument

    Visitors will marvel at the towering convex and concave structures that indicate the influences of different languages on the Afrikaans language. Opened to commemorate the 50th anniversary of adopting Afrikaans as a South African language, the structures overlooking Paarl in Western Cape is a literary bridge between Western Europe and Africa.
  • Gaze at the longest granite edifice of the Voortrekker Monument

    The massive granite edifice is located south of Pretoria to commemorate the pioneering efforts of Dutch-speaking settlers. The massive Hall of Heroes features the largest marble frieze in the world. Meanwhile, a Cenotaph receives sunrays at noon on 12th December each year to commemorate the Battle of Blood River in 1838.

Tips for planning a historical tour of South Africa

The best time to visit South Africa is in the dry winter season. Being in the southern hemisphere, this falls between May and September and offers travelers a better chance at enjoying the outdoors in cooler temperatures. With a rich connection of local experts, Evaneos helps experienced and new travelers get in contact with local tour guides to make your historical tour fun and educative.

When to go in South Africa?

South Africa is marked by two seasons: a hot and humid summer (November to March) and a dry cooler winter (April to October). The Western Cape region has winter rainfall from June to August. The good thing is that South Africa has something to offer for each season. Safari season is from April to October. From November to March, the beaches of the Western Cape are idyllic. If you come between June and September there is a fair chance you will see whales… And then there is the Kwazulu-Natal coast, perfect for bathing all year round.
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