Cape Town - National Heritage Day is not only about throwing a few ‘tjoppies’ on the braai and calling it a day. No, apart from braaiing, we have so much more to celebrate in this diverse country.
After 20 years of democracy, we’ve come a long way in growing a proud collective heritage in South Africa – and revisiting the reasons why we love this country can only make that proudly SA feeling stronger.
We’ve gone in search of the best SA trips that will remind South Africans of their roots in a fun, adventurous way.
These aren’t boring trips to the museum, rather road trips that will take you through and past the legacies that make South Africa the highly regarded global tourism hotspot it is.
The Freedom Walk from the Voortrekker Monument to Freedom park
This walk form the Voortrekker Monument to Freedom Park symbolizes so much more than just a brisk stroll through a park in Pretoria.
The Freedom Walk symbolizes how South Africans should walk the path of reconciliation from our past to our present. Symbolically, it is certainly not an easy path to stroll down, but note how it can and should be walked from both sides of the spectrum. Take along a picnic basket for the day and enjoy late lunch on the beautiful lawn in front on the Union Buildings.
Duration: Half day
Must-stops: Union buildings; Freedom monument, Women’s monument, Voortrekker monument.
The Battlefields Routes of KwaZulu-Natal
With 82 battlefields, museums, old fortifications and places of remembrance this rich heritage route boasts the largest concentration of significant battle and war related sites than anywhere in South Africa.
The route takes visitors on a bloody warpath through centuries of South African history, but ends in reconciliation in the modern democratic South Africa. There are various routes to choose from, each following a specific war, era or time frame. The best idea is to choose a warpath and stick to it; this way you can spend time fully understanding the complexities that spurred on the conflict in the first place.
Duration: One day per route
Must-stops: All the routes are remarkable, but the most famous ones are the Voortrekker – Zulu Conflict, the Anglo Zulu War and the Anglo Boer War.
National Braai Tour from Bloemfontein to Tietiesbaai
Even though we’re not only about braaiing, we are definitely very serious about it. Follow Jan Braai’s second annual National Braai Tour route from Bloemfontein to Tietiesbaai through some of the most beautiful, seasonal landscapes on earth – the Namaqualand daisies.
Through his tour, Jan aims to show off parts of South Africa that is both culturally significant, off the beaten track and a joy to visit.
Duration: One week
Must-stops: Kimberley's Big Hole, the Donkey Memorial at the Kalahari-Oranje Museum in Upington, the Oranjekom Lookout Point at the Augrabies Falls, the natural flower show of Namaqualand and the fresh seafood braaied on the West Coast.
Midlands Meander around the Madiba capture site
This lovely KZN route revolves around the iconic statue erected on the exact spot where Nelson Mandela was captured before being sent to prison. It was first started, however, by four potters, a weaver and a couple of artists and has since become a magnificent route celebrating South African creativity. From artisan cheeses, weaved rugs, tanned leather, handmade shoes and handcrafted pottery, you'll find the real deal at the Midlands Meander. Supporting these local artists mean supporting the diverse South African cultural inheritance.
Duration: One day
Must-stops: Howick falls, Madiba Capture site, Karkloof Market, Bierfassl, Rawdons Hotel, Rawdons Brewery, Pig Farmstall Mall place
READ: A Meander through the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands
SANParks’ Drive to view our natural Big 5 Heritage
Drive into any of the South African National Parks and you’ll find yourself within the biggest South African natural inheritance – our nature and wildlife. It’s important to realise that we are the sole heirs of the priceless and uniquely South African heritage and it is our responsibly to protect it against all costs.
Ponder on that while you marvel at the awe-inspiring beauty of our rhino, lion and elephant.
READ: How to make the most of the FREE SANParks week
Duration: One day, at least
Must-stops: Try to spot the Big 5, or any endemic animals to the park you're visiting
Cape Whale Route along the southern coast
The Cape Whale Route is another splendid natural inheritance of South Africa and this superb route takes you along one of the most scenic drives on the planet. Driving through iconic whale-watching towns such as Betty’s Bay, Kleinmond, Hermanus, Pringle Bay, Stanford and Gansbaai, the route offers some of the best land-based whale-watching opportunities, whilst also showing off the rugged coastline of the Cape. This is a great idea for a family road trip.
Duration: One day
Must-stops: Hermanus, one of the pull-over picnic spots along the way
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