From pristine wilderness and picturesque shorelines to epic mountain ranges, South Africa is home to a number of awe-inspiring heritage sites. Steeped in cultural significance and natural diversity, these sites are a must-see for all and they make the ultimate road trip destinations this heritage month.
But before you pack your bags and get your family and friends into the car, make sure you are fully prepared for your big adventure.
What to do if there’s a bump in the road
When travelling there are two key things to consider:
- Your car’s safety
- Your and your passenger’s safety
Whether you go far and wide to see one of the incredible heritage sites listed below or you’ve just slightly veered off the beaten path, Matrix is here to help you arrive at your destination safely.
Vehicle theft is a real concern for travellers, but that doesn’t have to dampen your adventurous spirit. With the Matrix GeoLoc Advanced Alert anti-theft solution that you can enable/disable via the app, you will be alerted if your vehicle is moved without your consent. If you have the unfortunate experience of your vehicle getting stolen, the Beame Recovery service will send a team of trained agents to search for your car and bring it safely back to you.
Something else to think about is the need for Emergency Roadside and Medical Assistance. Accidents and car troubles can be stressful at the best of times, but add in an unfamiliar area and that stress is multiplied tenfold. Matrix is prepared for situations just like this and offers 24/7 support to our customers. Using the latest GPS technology, we can send the necessary emergency assistance to your vehicle’s exact location.
Now that we’ve covered the practical safety stuff, let’s explore some of our country’s top heritage sites:
- Cradle of Humankind, Gauteng
Covering the Sterkfontein, Swartkrans and Kromdraai region and occupying about 47 000 hectares of land, the Cradle of Humankind was declared a UNESCO world heritage site in 1999. Widely considered to be the birthplace of humankind, this area mainly comprises of dolomitic limestone –the ideal environment for the formation of caves and the preservation of fossils. It is an intriguing destination which offers much value when it comes to our collective history and evolution.
Why visit Cradle of Humankind:
- The first virtually complete Australopithecus skeleton known as “Little foot” was found here
- Home to the Sterkfontein Caves, which is renowned for its fossil finds and cave tours
- The Maropeng Visitor Centre boasts an award-winning exhibition exploring the evolution of humans and the world around us
- Mapungubwe Cultural Landscape, Limpopo
Located at the northernmost border of South Africa, and situated within Mapungubwe National Park, Mapungubwe Cultural Landscape is an unmissable destination for those interested in learning about the continent’s fascinating history. This UNESCO heritage site, also called the Lost City of Gold, was once home to the first indigenous African kingdom in Southern Africa. Here visitors can view the remains of the palace sites and the settlement area of the kingdom that reigned hundreds of years ago.
Why visit Mapungubwe Cultural Landscape:
- An unrivalled opportunity to catch a glimpse into the development of trade and how it shaped society
- Excavation site of the famous Golden Rhinoceros which is over 800 years old
- Amazing game drives through scenic landscapes
- Cape Floral Kingdom, Western and Eastern Cape
Renowned for having the highest concentration of different plant species in the world, the Cape Floral Kingdom is truly a sight to behold. While it is the smallest of the six floral kingdoms recognised by UNESCO, it is the most diverse with over 9 000 species of plants, cementing its position on all nature lovers’ bucket lists.
Why visit Cape Floral Kingdom:
- Home to several mountain ranges, including Table Mountain
- A chance to explore the Groot Winterhoek Wilderness Area which has the largest rock pools in the Western Cape
- Includes Kogelberg Nature Reserve which boasts 18 000 hectares of land that remains untouched by human activities
- Vredefort Dome, Free State
Dating back over 2 billion years, the Vredefort Dome is regarded as the oldest meteorite impact structure found on Earth. Also known as an astrobleme, this site provides geological evidence of a meteorite, larger than Table Mountain, that collided with Earth. This UNESCO World Heritage site is a clearly visible, deeply eroded crater which is well worth the trip.
Why visit Vredefort Dome:
- Perfect location for those with an adventurous spirit as activities offered in this area include hiking, rock climbing, mountain biking, and abseiling
- A chance to take part in white water river rafting and canoeing in a unique landscape
- Boasts rare geological structures such as granophyre dykes
- uKhahlamba Drakensberg Park, KwaZulu-Natal
Comprising of colossal sandstone cliffs and magnificent river valleys, uKhahlamba Drakensberg Park is well known for its dramatic landscape and scenery. In fact, its name translated from Zulu is ‘barrier of spears’. The Drakensberg is the tallest mountain range in South Africa with peaks as high as 3 475 m, making it an unmissable destination for avid hikers.
Why visit uKhahlamba Drakensberg Park:
- Made up of many cave and rock shelters which house the largest group of rock paintings in Southern Africa
- It is the habitat for a large variety of endangered wildlife species, including the Cape Vulture
- Home to South Africa’s two highest peaks – Mafadi Peak and Injisuthi Dome
This Heritage Month, be inspired to explore your country with the peace of mind that Matrix will be right by your side during all your road trip adventures.