HISTORY OF SOUTH AFRICA
Long ago people in South Africa lived by hunting animals and gathering plants. They used stone tools. People in the west started to learn to herd sheep and cattle and then mixed farming with growing crops.
In 1652 Jan Van Riebeeck, a Dutchmen found a base where ships could be supplied. They started importing slaves into South Africa. The Europeans tried to trade with the native people, but they did not succeed. They fought their first war in 1658.
The Dutch colony in South Africa expanded and in 1688 the French Huguenots arrived in South Africa fleeing religious persecution. The native people were driven from their land and lots of them died in a smallpox epidemic.
In 1795 the British captured South Africa. They handed in back to the Dutch, but took it back after only 3 years.
The Boers did not agree with the British rule and when slavery was abolished, they were even more upset. The Boer people started a mass migration away from the British called the Great Trek. The Boers fought and defeated the Zulus in the battle of Blood River. Eventually the Boers founded two republics away from the British; Orange Free State and Transvaal. The British recognized the two republics, but after diamonds were found there 17 years later, the situation changed. Diamonds were also found in Kimberley. The British then fought the Zulus in South Africa, but were badly defeated by the Zulus. They did though, eventually win the war.
The British wanted to bring South Africa, including the Boer, under their control. In 1884 Lesotho became a British protectorate, then the Kingdom of Swaziland. At the same time British settlers had moved into the Transvaal Republic. The Boers called them Foreigners. Cecil John Rhodes was Prime Minister of British South Africa from 1890-1895. He plotted a rebellion to overthrow the government of Paul Kruger who was the president of the Transvaal. They were defeated by the Boers and Jameson was captured.
In 1899 a war started between the Boers and the British. The Boers did great until more British troops were called in and the Boers were pushed back. The Boers turned to guerilla warfare. The British started to put Boer women and children into concentration camps where more than 20,000 of them died of diseases.
The Boers finally surrendered in 1902 and the British took over the Boer Republics. It then became the Union of South African with a constitution.
From the beginning, black people were always second class citizens in South Africa. The laws prevented them from owning land outside certain areas. They could not vote either. The ANC was found by the blacks in 1912, but they battled to achieve anything.
In 1914 South Africa joined the 1st World War against Germany. There was also a rebellion by the Boers in the same year which ended up being crushed. They then finally found the secret organization the Broederbond.
In 1939 they joined the 2nd World War against Germany. In 1948 the National party came to power in South Africa. That is when apartheid started. There were organizations in the 1950’s that represented black, white, coloured and Indian people and they formed the Congress Alliance. They adopted the Freedom Charter.
In the 1960’s, planned demonstrations against the passed laws, restricted the movement of the Black People. The government banned the ANC and PAC and Nelson Mandela was sentenced to life imprisonment.
South African then left the Commonwealth and became a republic.
TOURIST ATTRACTIONS OF SOUTH AFRICA
1. KRUGER NATIONAL PARK
This Park offers a wildlife experience that is definitely one of the best in Africa. The park was established in 1989 to protect the wildlife of the Low veld in South Africa. The park is almost 2 million hectares big. Lots of game, reptiles, birds, and amphibians can be seen in this park.
2. TABLE MOUNTAIN
Table Mountain is an icon and the only natural site on the planet to have constellation of stars named after it. Mensa, meaning “the table”. This flat topped mountain reaches 1086 above sea level.
3. ROBBEN ISLAND
Robben Island was used between the 17th and 20th centuries as a prison and a hospital for socially unacceptable groups and a military base. The buildings have witnessed the triumph of democracy and freedom over oppression and racism. This is also the prison from where Nelson Mandela was released.
4. VICTORIA AND ALFRED WATERFRONT
This is a popular and busy shopping, dining and entertainment area in Cape Town. Table Mountain looks upon the waterfront from high and it is also home to the Table Bay harbour.
5. BLYDE RIVER CANYON
This beautiful canyon can be seen all along the winding path of the Blyde River Canyon Reserve. The views are spectacular. You will experience fresh mountain scenery and panoramic views over the Klein Drakensberg escarpment. This is definitely a Panorama route. The viewpoints are named, and “God’s Window” is one of the many you can see on this route.
6. KIRSTENBOSCH NATIONAL AND BOTANICAL GARDEN
This is a must see. This national garden is one of the most acclaimed botanical gardens in the world and runs along the slopes of Table Mountain. The garden lies in the heart of the Cape Floristic region which was declared a World Heritage site in 2004.
7. CRADLE OF HUMANKIND
One of the eight World Heritage Sites in South Africa lays the dotted subterranean limestone caves that have turned up a rich fossil record for human evolutionary studies. It lends credence to the “Out of Africa” theory of where our ancestors came from.
8. APARTHEID MUSEUM
The Apartheid Museum is a museum complex in Johannesburg, South Africa dedicated to illustrating apartheid and the 20th century history of South Africa.
9. BLYDE RIVER CANYON NATURE RESERVE
Bourke’s Luck Potholes in Mpumalanga province are a series of natural geological formations that seem nearer to art than nature. Formed by centuries of water flowing through the landscape, this natural attraction is made up of inter-connected pools, interlaced with sandstone outcrops.
10. uSAKA MARINE WORLD
Located in Durban is a world-class entertainment and tourism destination. At the end of Durban’s Golden Mile is the beginning of uShaka Marine World – spanning over 15 hectares of prime beach front, uShaka Marine World is Africa’s largest Marine Theme park.
11. CAPE OF GOOD HOPE
The Cape of Good Hope has, for a long time, been of special significance to sailors. This marks the point where a ship begins to travel more eastward than southward. In 1488 Bartolomeu Diaz was a milestone in the attempt by the Portuguese to establish direct trade relations with the Far East. Diaz called it the Cape of Storms.
12. TABLE MOUNTAIN NATIONAL PARK
Table Mountain National Park is a unique park in the Western Cape Nature Reserve and stretches from Signal Hill in the city to dramatic Cape Point, encompassing magnificent valleys, bays and beaches, Table Mountain and The Cape of Good Hope.
13. GOLD REEF CITY
Gold Reef City is an amusement park in Johannesburg, South Africa located on an old gold mine which closed in 1971.
The park is themed around the gold rush that started in 1886 on the Witwatersrand. Park staff wear period costumes of the 1880s, and the buildings on the park are designed to mimic the same period. There is a museum dedicated to gold mining on the grounds where it is possible to see a gold-containing ore vein and see how real gold is poured into barrels.
14. CAPE PENINSULA
The Cape Peninsula is a rocky area that walks out into the Atlantic Ocean at the south-western parts of the African continent. The Peninsula was once an island, but 60 000 years ago it was joined to the mainland by the emergence from the sea of the sandy area knows as the Cape flats.
15. CONSTITION HILL JOHANNESBURG
The Constitution Hill precinct is located at 11 Kotze Street in Braamfontein, Johannesburg near the western end of the suburb of Hillbrow. Constitution Hill is the seat of the Constitutional Court of South Africa. The first court session in the new building at this location was held in February 2004.
16. TABLE MOUNTAIN AERIAL CABLE WAY
This Cable way offers you an unforgettable experience taking you up to the highest top of Table Mountain.
17. CANGO CAVES
Situated in a limestone ridge, you will find the finest dripstone caverns with their vast halls and towering formations. Located at the head of the Cango Valley outside of Oudtshoorn.
18. SOUTH AFRICA NATIONAL MUSEUM OF MILITARY
This museum was opened by Prime Minister Jan Smuts in 1947. It preserves the history of South Africa’s involvement in the 2nd World War. Now it includes all conflicts that South Africa has been involved in.
19. TSITSIKAMMA NATIONAL PARK
The park is a protected area on the Garden route in the Western and Eastern Cape in South Africa. It is a well know coastal reserve for its forests, dramatic coastline and the Otter trail. The park covers an 80km stretch of coastline.
20. BRENTON ON SEA
Brenton on Sea is situated on the scenic Garden Route coastline and nestles between the Indian Ocean and the hills of the Western Head of Knysna’s Estuary, a 16 km drive from Knysna. It is a breath taking holiday location and a nature lover’s paradise with its unspoilt beaches and peaceful surroundings.
21. UMGENI RIVER BIRD PARK
Umgeni River Bird Park is a Zoo Park located in Durban.
22. TWO OCEANS AQUIRUIM
The Two Oceans Aquarium is an aquarium located at the Victoria & Alfred Waterfront in Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa.
23. UKHAHLAMBA DRAKENSBERG NATIONAL PARK
The Ukhahlamba Drakensberg national park is a World Heritage Site in South Africa. The Park includes Royal Natal National Park and Drakensberg National Park, which covers part of Drakensberg, the highest mountain in Southern Africa.
24. BUFFALO BAY
Buffalo Beach is a family beach with great swimming and safe surfing.
25. VOORTREKKER MONUMENT
The Voortrekker Monument is located just south of Pretoria in South Africa. This massive granite structure is prominently located on a hilltop, and was raised to commemorate the Voortrekkers who left the Cape Colony between 1835 and 1854.
26. BOULDERS BEACH
Boulders beach is part of the Table Mountain National Park Protected area. This is the home of the tuxedoed little bird. Because of the strict control of access to this beach it is always clean and tidy. The beach is seldom crowded. It is also home to a breeding colony of over 2000 endangered African Penguins.
27. MOSES MABHIDA STADIUM
The Moses Mabhida Stadium is located in Durban. It is a multi-use stadium and was one of the host stadiums for the 2010 FIFA World Cup.
28. KGALAGADI TRANSFRONTIER PARK
This park is a large wildlife preserve and conservation area. It basically form the border between South Africa and Botswana and comprises two adjoining National parks: The Kalahari Gemsbok National Park and the Gemsbok National Park.
29. HECTOR PIETERSEN MUSEUM
The Hector Pietersen Museum is a large museum located in Orlando West, Soweto in South Africa. It is only two blocks from where Hector Pieterson was shot and killed. The museum is name in his honour. It became one of the first museums in Soweto.
30. LESEDI CULTURAL VILLAGE
Lesedi African Lodge and Cultural village is located in the heart of the African bushveld and rocky hills, in the Cradle of Humankind, a World Heritage Site.
Be set to be enthralled in an adventure that reveals the mystical cultures and traditions of the people of Africa, as you encounter five traditional homesteads, each inhabited by Zulu, Xhosa, Pedi, Basotho and Ndebele tribes who live according to tribal folklore and traditions of their ancestors.
31. JOHANNESBURG ZOO
The Johannesburg zoo is about 200 acres big and was established in 1904 and owned and run by the city of Johannesburg. It then turned into a corporation and became a non-profit organization. The zoo is dedicated to accommodation, enrichment, husbandry, and medical care of wild animals, and houses about 2000 individuals of 320 species.
32. KNYSNA AMATOLE MONTANE FOREST
Located along South Africa’s famous Garden Route between Cape Town and Port Elizabeth, Knysna is famous for its lush forests, which attract nature and outdoor enthusiasts from across the globe. During the 19th century, the Knysna forest was home to hundreds of elephants. These were however poached to near extinction by mine workers who lost revenue due to the failure of the Millwood gold mine. Today it is believed that a few isolated individuals may still roam these dense forests.
33. LION’S HEAD
Lion’s Head is a mountain in Cape Town, South Africa, between Table Mountain and Signal Hill. Lion’s Head peaks at 669 meters (2,195 ft.) above sea level. The peak forms part of a dramatic backdrop to the city of Cape Town and is part of the Table Mountain National Park.
34. PRETORIA NATIONAL BOTANICAL GARDEN
The Pretoria National Botanical Garden is one of South Africa’s nine National Botanical Gardens. It is about 76 hectares and hosts the headquarters of the South African National Biodiversity Institute.
35. MANDELA HOUSE
The Mandela house is actually the Nelson Mandela National Museum where Nelson Mandela lived from 1946-1962. Mandela donated the house to the Soweto Heritage Trust of which he was the founder in 1997 and asked for it to be run as a museum. It was declared a National Heritage Site in 1999.
36. MITCHELL PARK ZOO
Mitchell Park Zoo is also known as Mitchell Park or Mitchell’s Park. Situated in the Morningside suburb of Durban, South Africa, it is the only zoo in Durban.
37. HARTBEESPOORT AERIAL CABLEWAY
The Aerial Cableway Hartbeespoort offers visitors panoramic views of the beautiful Magaliesberg, Hartbeespoort Dam and surrounding areas, as well as excellent recreational and educational facilities.
38. NATIONAL ZOOLOGICAL GARDENS OF SOUTH AFRICA
The National Zoological Gardens of South Africa (also informally known as The Pretoria Zoo) is an 85-hectare (210-acre) zoo located in Pretoria, South Africa. It is the national zoo of South Africa, and was founded by J. W. B. Gunning.
39. BIG HOLE
The Big Hole, Open Mine or Kimberley Mine (Afrikaans: Groot Gat) is an open-pit and underground mine in Kimberley, South Africa, and claimed to be the largest hole excavated by hand, although this claim is disputed.
40. CLIFTON CAPE TOWN
Clifton is a suburb of Cape Town. It is very exclusive and home to very expensive real estate. The beach was rated as one of the top ten beaches in 2004 and has received Blue Flag status.
41. UNION BUILDINGS
The Union buildings form the official seat of the South African Government and also house the offices of the president of South Africa. They are located in Pretoria. It has become an iconic landmark of Pretoria and South Africa in general. It is an emblem of democracy and a very popular tourist attraction.
42. DISTRICT SIX MUSEUM
This museum was founded in 1989 and in 1994 became a memorial to the forced movement of 60 000 inhabitants of various races in District Six during Apartheid in South Africa. The floor of the museum is covered with a big map of the district with hand written notes of former inhabitants, which indicate where their houses were located then.
43. GROENKLOOF NATURE RESERVE
Groenkloof is located in the Fountains Valley, only 5km from Pretoria. Paul Kruger established the area as a reserve back in the 1800’s, to protect it from poachers.
Very popular mountain biking destination with lots of wildlife than can be seen.
44. CHIMP EDEN
Chimp Eden was established in 2006 and is the first and only chimpanzee sanctuary in South Africa. This JGI chimpanzee sanctuary brings the world of chimpanzees closer to humanity through education and eco-tourism.
Helderberg is in the Western Cape of South Africa and a very popular wine-producing area.
It used to be known as the “Hottentots-Holland” area and was renamed “Helderberg” by the city of Cape Town.
46. RIETVLEI NATURE RESERVE
Situated 18km from downtown Pretoria and about 38km from the International Airport lays 3800 ha of grassland, open plains and hills. The reserve is owned and managed by the city of Tshwane Metropolitan Municipality. Lots of wild game to be seen in this reserve.
Montecasino is a casino complex in Johannesburg build on a 26 hectares of land. It was first open in 2000.
48. BABYLONSTOREN VALLEY
Babylonstoren valley is one of the oldest Cape Dutch farms. It has a fruit and vegetable garden of beauty and diversity, unique accommodation, fine food and a sense of wellbeing.
49. SABI SABI
SabiSabi is a private game reserve in South Africa, situated in the Sabi Sand Private Game Reserve which flanks the South Western section of the Kruger National Park. The Sabi Sand reserve is one of the parks that make up the Greater Kruger National Park. It is a conservation area where the Big Five game occurs naturally.
50. GODS WINDOW
This is one of the most popular attractions of Mpumalanga province. This is a paradise country and home to a number of magnificent natural features. God’s Window provides visitors with excellent panoramic views over the Blyde River Canyon and the Lowveld, the distant Lebombo Mountains and the Kruger Park.
On the edge of the Blyde River Canyon Nature Reserve you can see rain forest and Aloe gardens.