Experience South Africa’s rich history, from its turbulent past to its unique architecture and languages, by visiting these historical monuments.
The Big Hole, Kimberley
Kimberley was put on the mining map when it became clear, it the late 1860s, that the area is rich in diamonds. Massive excavations started in 1871 and the aptly named Big Hole and its surrounding buildings are what remains of the diamond rush.
One of the oldest buildings in South Africa, Castle of Good Hope, completed in 1666, was the hub of political and military activity in the country. The Castle is to this day, one of the best examples of 17th-century Dutch East India Company architecture in the world.
Isandlwana Battlefield, Isandlwana
The Battle of Isandlwana took place on January 22, 1879, when approximately 20,000 Zulu warriors, under King Cetshwayo’s command, successfully ambushed and defeated a British camp. This was a major, yet unexpected, moment in the history of the Zulu nation.
Nelson Mandela Capture Site, KwaZulu-Natal
Nelson Mandela’s arrest occurred on August 5, 1962, at this spot in KwaZulu-Natal after which The Rivonia Treason Trial followed. Its infamous adjudication sentenced Mandela to 27 years in prison, until his release on February 11, 1990.
The Cradle of Humankind, Maropeng
The Cradle of Humankind, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is home to the Sterkfontein Caves, and could very well be the birthplace of mankind as we know it. This famous excavation site is where an approximately 3.5 million-year-old hominid fossil, Australopithecus Africanus, (‘Mrs. Ples’), was found in 1947.
Robben Island, Cape Town
Former South African president Nelson Mandela was imprisoned at Robben Island for 18 of his sentenced 27 years. The original jail building still remains and three tours are conducted daily, some by former political prisoners.
The Afrikaans Language Monument, Paarl
The Afrikaans Language Monument (Afrikaanse Taal Monument) was opened on October 10, 1975, to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of Afrikaans being declared an official language of South Africa, separate from Dutch.
The Huguenot Memorial Monument, Franschhoek
The Huguenots immigrated to South Africa during the 17th and 18th centuries and had a major impact on traditional Afrikaans culture. This monument, inaugurated in 1948, is dedicated to this influence and the history of the Afrikaner nation.
Union Buildings, Pretoria
The Union Buildings in Pretoria, designed by star architect Sir Herbert Baker, is the official seat of the South African government and contains the president’s office. The complex boasts beautiful surrounding gardens, rolling lawns and panoramic views over the city.
Voortrekker Monument, Pretoria
The Voortrekker Monument, situated in a Pretoria nature reserve, won the Trip Advisor Traveller’s Choice award for 2016. The granite edifice, which opened in 1949, honours the pioneer history of South Africa, as well as that of Afrikaners, and boasts the world’s longest historical marble frieze.
Explore more of Africa on our 10-day trip to Egypt or our 11-day adventure around Morocco. Alternately, browse our collections of Epic Trips, Mini Trips and Sailing Trips to find your next exciting destination.
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Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.
Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.
Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.
We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.