Mpumalanga boasts with its first World Her­itage Site

Vuk'uzenzele - - Toyuorgueitsnhmefrmoacolunsth - Al­li­son Cooper Robben Is­land- Ma­luti-Drak­ens­berg Park Vre­de­fort Dome

SOUTH AFRICA'S beau­ti­ful rolling hills and scenic coast­line come to­gether to cre­ate mag­nif­i­cent World Her­itage Sites.

The Bar­ber­ton-Makhon­jwa Moun­tains, in Mpumalanga, were of­fi­cially de­clared as South Africa’s 10th World Her­itage Site by the United Na­tions Ed­u­ca­tional‚ Sci­en­tific and Cul­tural Or­gan­i­sa­tion (Un­esco).

The site com­prises 40 per­cent of the Bar­ber­ton Green­stone Belt, one of the world’s old­est ge­o­log­i­cal struc­tures, and rep­re­sents the best-pre­served suc­ces­sion of vol­canic and sed­i­men­tary rock dat­ing back 3.6 to 3.25 bil­lion years, when the first con­ti­nents were start­ing to form on prim­i­tive Earth.

The moun­tain lands are also be­lieved to con­tain the old­est signs of life‚ with a mi­cro fos­sil of bac­te­ria dis­cov­ered there that is es­ti­mated to be 3.1 bil­lion years old.

Min­is­ter of Arts and Cul­ture Nathi Mthethwa, said in a state­ment that World Her­itage Sites are recog­nised as hav­ing global his­tor­i­cal or en­vi­ron­men­tal sig­nif­i­cance.

“To be ac­cepted onto the list‚ a coun­try must meet strin­gent cri­te­ria and show how the site will be con­served. The recog­ni­tion al­lows the coun­try to ac­cess funds for con­ser­va­tion from the World Her­itage Fund and may in­crease tourism to the area,” said Mthethwa.

Mthethwa added that it is hoped that Mpumalanga’s first World Her­itage Site will pro­vide a global mar­ket­ing boost for tourism that can reach be­yond that of its estab­lished na­tional parks. Bar­ber­ton-Makhon­jawa Geo­trail

The site also has a the Bar­ber­ton-Makhon­jawa Geo­trail de­vel­oped to pre­serve Bar­ber­ton’s ge­o­log­i­cal her­itage, by build­ing aware­ness and in­ter­est among lo­cal stake­hold­ers, as well as lo­cal and in­ter­na­tional tourists.

The geo­trail con­sists of strik­ing and in­for­ma­tive road­side pan­els that have been in­stalled along the 40 km tarred road be­tween Bar­ber­ton and the Swazi­land bor­der post at Josefs­dal Bulembu.

The geo­trail pro­vides vis­i­tors of all ages with an en­joy­able and ed­u­ca­tional out­door ex­pe­ri­ence, guaranteed to pro­vide new and fas­ci­nat­ing in­sights into how life on Earth be­gan.

The site also in­cor­po­rates one of Mpumalanga’s hid­den gems, the Songimvelo Na­ture Re­serve, one of South Africa’s largest pro­vin­cial re­serves sit­u­ated among mag­nif­i­cent rolling hills and steep moun­tains with the Ko­mati River wind­ing through it.

South Africans should also take pride in liv­ing in a coun­try that is home to other World Her­itage sites, which are:

Fos­sil Ho­minid Sites of South Africa - Known in South Africa as the Cra­dle of Hu­mankind, the re­gion of Sterk­fontein, Swartkrans, Krom­draai and en­vi­rons has one of the world's rich­est con­cen­tra­tions of ho­minid fos­sils, ev­i­dence of hu­man evo­lu­tion over the last 3.5-mil­lion years. These fos­sil sites are found in the prov­inces of Gaut­eng Lim­popo and North West. iSi­man­gal­iso Wet­land Park­iSi­man­gal­iso Wet­land Park is a pro­tected area along the KwaZulu-Natal coast. The park boasts the scenic Lake St. Lu­cia which is home to hip­pos, croc­o­diles, pel­i­cans and flamin­gos.

The Is­land was de­clared a World Her­itage Site for bear­ing build­ings that are a tes­ti­mony to his­tory, and at the same time sym­bol­ise the tri­umph of the hu­man spirit, of free­dom, and of democ­racy over op­pres­sion. * - This has the fa­mous Am­phithe­atre in the Royal Natal Na­tional Park and the south­ern Drak­ens­berg. This park is home to black ea­gle, bearded vul­ture and herds of eland as well as many other indige­nous plants and an­i­mals.

Ma­pun­gubwe Cul­tural Land­scape- This was South Africa's first king­dom, and de­vel­oped into the sub­con­ti­nent's largest realm, last­ing for 400 years be­fore it was aban­doned in the 14th cen­tury. It is sit­u­ated in the Ma­pun­gubwe Na­tional Park in Lim­popo.

Cape Flo­ral Re­gion Pro­tected Ar­eas - The Cape Flo­ral Re­gion takes up only 0.04 per­cent of the world's land area, yet con­tains three per­cent of its plant species. This makes it one of the rich­est ar­eas for plants in the world and one of the globe's 18 bio­di­ver­sity hot spots.

- The area dis­plays ex­cep­tional beauty and is rich in bio­di­ver­sity with an­i­mal and plant pop­u­la­tions. The Vre­de­fort Dome has ex­cep­tional tourism po­ten­tial, is sit­u­ated about 100 km from Jo­han­nes­burg.

Richtersveld Cul­tural and Botan­i­cal Land­scape - The Richtersveld Cul­tural and Botan­i­cal Land­scape is lo­cated in South Africa’s north­ern Na­maqua­land. The area com­prises 160 000 hectares of desert scenery, which vary from flat sandy plains, to craggy sharp moun­tains of vol­canic rock, to the lush flood plains of the Orange River. This river forms the bor­der be­tween South Africa and neigh­bour­ing Namibia

Khomani Cul­tural Land­scape - The area in the South­ern Kalahari, bor­dered in the east by Botswana and the west by Namibia, is where you will find a small group of the Khomani San, who were the first peo­ple who in­hab­ited the Kalahari.

“The recog­ni­tion al­lows the coun­try to ac­cess funds for con­ser­va­tion from the World Her­itage Fund and may in­crease tourism to the

area”

The Bar­ber­ton-Makhon­jwa Moun­tains de­clared a World Her­itage Site.

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