Activities / Attractions / Ten (10) to Inspire

Great Ideas for the Heritage Day Long Weekend

Updated Tuesday, 26 May 2020

Heritage Day presents loads of ways to get out and celebrate your heritage as a South African. We have 24 suggestions for you which not only make the most of our country’s natural beauty but also herald the start of Spring and the many activities we’ve been looking forward to for the last 3 months.

Heritage Day is celebrated annually on the 24th of September, to recognise aspects of our culture and foster understanding and reconciliation.

Heritage is defined as “that which we inherit: the sum total of wild life and scenic parks, sites of scientific or historical importance, national monuments, historic buildings, works of art, literature and music, oral traditions and museum collections together with their documentation.”

Here are a few great ideas on how to spend the days that incorporate Heritage Day (a celebration of our culture and diversity), around the country…

Yzerfontein

THE WESTERN CAPE

Take the steam train between Simon’s Town and Cape Town

This Heritage Day take this vintage, wooden bodied steam train in a 5½ hour round trip that passes via the historic villages of Kalk Bay and St James and drinks in the scenic coastline of False Bay. (See more info here)

Visit the Bo-Kaap Museum

Free during Heritage Week 23 – 29 Sept – Set in the pretty Bo-Kaap with its cobbled streets and the constant cry of the muezzin to prayer, the Bo-Kaap museum showcases local Islamic culture and heritage.

Yzerfontein

Walk Yzerfontein’s 16 Mile Beach

The longest stretch of beach in the country is at Yzerfontein. See the whales, kite surf, horse ride or simply drink in the views … a wonderful way to spend Heritage Day. (See more info)

Tour the Rooibos Heritage Route – the Cederberg and beyond

Head through the Bokkeveld and the Cederberg Mountains on a route that links Nieuwoudtville and Wupperthal via Moedverloor for authentic farms, rock art, medicinal plants and more. (See more info here)

Cederberg Weekend Guide : iedouw Valley

GAUTENG

Visit the Cradle of Humankind

A dozen or so dolomite caves, formed in a shallow sea roughly 2.3 billion years ago, contain the fossilised remains of ancient animals, plants and hominids. (See more info here)

Abseil in the Magaliesberg

Drop from heights as high as 75 metres; choose from a number of locations that include the Wonder Cave. This is fun for anyone; no experience necessary.

Magaliesburg

Visit Pretoria’s Art Museum

Though closed on public holidays this art museum is worth a visit for its enviable collection of South African art and reference books. (See more info here)

Explore the Sci-Bono Discovery Centre, Newtown

Jo’burg’s Science Centre is the largest in Africa, an edutainment destination for everyone – interactive activities in science, maths and technology – hands-on exhibits, stage shows etc. (See more info here)

Visit Maropend Visitors Centre at Cradle of Humankind

NORTH WEST & LIMPOPO

Take an elephant-back safari, Hazyview

Nothing quite like swaying on the back of an elephant through the African bush on Heritage Day. (See more info here)

Hug the big baobab, Gravelotte

Look out for the makeshift sign indicating the larger than life tree on the road between Tzaneen and Gravelotte. (See more info here)

Magoebaskloof

Bike the Magoebaskloof

Four trails wend their way through forest and open farm land, existing farm roads, paths and public country roads. (See more info here)

Tour the Pilanesberg National Park

The volcano that gave birth to a game reserve, Pilanesberg lies in a volcanic crater, one of only a few alkaline volcanic structures in the world. (See more info here)

Secrets of the Pilanesberg

MPUMALANGA

Hike the escarpment, and other hikes

The Fanie Botha, the Hippo Trail (Blyde River Canyon), Kaapsehoop Escarpment Walk, the Num-Num Trail and the Loerie Trail, to name but a few. (See more info here)

Visit the Botanical Garden

Two rivers, an African rain fores, and over 650 indigenous tree species, ancient cycads and a garden dominated by Sour Lowveld bushveld – a beautiful space in which to get lost on Heritage Day. (See more info here)

Dawsons Game Lodge ~ Barberton, Mpumalanga

Take a tour of Barberton

Barberton rivals Pilgrim’s Rest for its history. Take a guided tour to learn about the gold rush, rock formations, treasure hunters and more. (See more info here)

Explore the ghosts of Kaapsehoop

The Kaapsehoop Ghost Tour explores murder, intrigue, mystery and Kruger millions in the small village where wild horses roam free. (See more info here)

Kaapsehoop

KWAZULU NATAL

Whale watch in St Lucia

Up close and personal encounters in St Lucia with humpback, Bryde, minke, southern right, sperm whales and other marine mammals like whale shark and sea turtles. (See more info here)

Visit Ladysmith’s Soofie Mosque

Nowhere else in the country is there a mosque of quite these proportions and beauty. (See more info here)

uKhahlamba Drakensberg Park

Hike Giant’s Cup Trail

This 5-day, 59km hike runs along the foothills of the Drakensberg through the Cobham and Garden Castle reserves past rock pools, rivers, caves and waterfalls. (See more info here)

Drive Route 66

The Zululand Heritage Route links the towns of Gingindlovu, Eshowe, Melmoth, Ulundi, Nongoma and Pongola tracing the oldest trade route travelled by early transport riders, missionaries, soldiers, settlers and farmers. (See more info here)

Himeville, Drakensberg

EASTERN CAPE & GARDEN ROUTE

Go on one of numerous hikes

The Eastern Cape and Garden Route are filled with hikes through unmissable scenery: Coastal hike to Hole in the Wall, Cultural Experience Hike (St Johns), Strandloper Trail (East London), Fourcade Trail (Storms River), Dolphin Trail (Tsitsikamma), Kalander Kloof Hiking Trail (Natures Valley). (See more info at Eastern Cape hiking trails and Garden Route hiking trails)

Experience Bulungula

This homestay experience in the heart of rural Mthatha allows you to totally immerse yourself in traditional Xhosa life, in an authentic traditional village (no rehearsed performances or fake celebrations). (See more info here)

STAY IN MUD HUTS IN THE REMOTE TRANSKEI

Visit the Addo Elephant Park

Only an hour from Port Elizabeth this is one of the Eastern Cape’s flagships, a chance to see over 350 African elephants in the heart of dense valley bushveld. Worth every ounce of effort to get there. (See more info here)

Visit the Graaff Reinet Museum

Set in five historical buildings, Graaff Reinet’s cultural and natural heritage combines well with fossil and rock art collections, period furniture and contemporary history exhibitions. No free entrance, but a great way to spend your time on Heritage Day. (See more info here)

Addo Elephant Park

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