Historic Sites in South Africa

Steven Rabkin

From archaeological treasures to towering monuments, these historical destinations represent some of the most impactful aspects of the expansive history of South Africa.

Afrikaans Language Monument, Coedmore Castle, Apartheid Museum, District Six Museum, The Big Hole, Nelson Mandela Museum, Nelson Mandela Capture Site, Cradle of Humankind, Voortrekker Monument, Huguenot Memorial Monument, Robben Island, Castle of Good Hope

  • Afrikaans Language Monument in Paarl, South Africa

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      This monument honors Afrikaans becoming an official language in South Africa, distinctive from Dutch. The monument has a dynamic architecture that captures the diverse history of the country, overlooking a picturesque Paarl valley.

  • Coedmore Castle in Durban, South Africa

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  • Apartheid Museum in Johannesburg, South Africa

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      The Apartheid Museum chronicles the Apartheid which lasted during the 20th century in South Africa. A central part of South African history, this museum both details the history as well as celebrates the progress which has been made since the end of apartheid.

  • District Six Museum in Cape Town, South Africa

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      The District Six Museum was built to remember the disastrous effect of Apartheid. Originally an inner-city residential area, over 60,000 inhabitants were forcibly moved from their homes during the 1970s. The museum is located in an old Methodist Church in the District Six area.

  • The Big Hole in Kimberley, South Africa

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      The Big Hole is the deepest hand-dug excavation around the world. This fascinating destination offers a look into the history of mining of South Africa, complete with a museum and access to underground recreations of mining shafts.

  • Nelson Mandela Museum in Mthatha, South Africa

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      This Museum, which was established as a nonprofit museum by the government of South Africa, chronicles the life of one of the most famous historical figures in South African history.

  • Nelson Mandela Capture Site, South Africa

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      Marked with a captivating steel sculpture and a nearby museum, this location is a central part of the vast history of South Africa. In 1962, South Africa's prominent leader and anti-apartheid revolutionary Nelson Mandela was captured at this location after previously evading arrest.

  • Cradle of Humankind, South Africa

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      The Cradle of Humankind is a UNESCO world heritage site located on the outskirts of Johannesburg city. This is considered to be one of the most important archaeological sites in the world, offering a look into some of the oldest fossils of humans and their relatives.

  • Voortrekker Monument in Pretoria, South Africa

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      The Voortrekker Monument is a massive granite formation that towers from a hilltop just south of Pretoria. This structure was built to commemorate the Voortrekkers, pioneers that migrated from the Cape Colony to form new communities in South Africa.

  • Huguenot Memorial Monument in Franschhoek, South Africa

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      This picturesque monument stands tall against a backdrop of mountains in the town of Franschhoek. This pearly white structure and adjacent museum were built to honor the Huguenot immigrants to South Africa and their cultural influence. The Huguenots were protestant Christians who fled from Belgium and France to evade religious persecution from the French Catholic church.

  • Robben Island, South Africa

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      Robben Island is deeply rich in political and human history, this world heritage site traces back to some of the oldest civilizations. The Island is most famously known for housing the prison that held Nelson Mandela along with other anti-apartheid captives.

  • Castle of Good Hope in Cape Town, South Africa

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      This star-shaped fortress is the oldest building in South Africa, built in the 17th century by Dutch colonialists. The Castle of Good Hope was consistently at the center of all civilian and military life, and a major player in the history of Cape Town.