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  • South African Adventure II: Cultural Attractions

    Just as I promised in my previous post, I will continue my overview of South Africa’s touristic attractions by trying to present you five of the most culturally and historically significant sights in this fascinating country. Just as I was telling you yesterday, the FIFA World Cup is a great opportunity for the curious traveler to get a taste of Africa’s blinding colors, irresistible rhythms and notorious parties.

    And let us not forget that, as far as the archeological and scientific discoveries have revealed so far, South Africa represents the very cradle of our civilization (I will explain this affirmation later in the article).

    Thus, with South Africa organizing such a major sports event, not only will this exuberant country get a chance to display its hidden beauties, but travelers also will have the opportunity to discover a rich and captivating culture.

    The Cape Town

    A South African itinerary just cannot omit the colorful Cape Town, one of the most culturally diverse cities on the continent. Located near the southern extremity of the African continent, Cape Town represents an irresistible mix of colonial architecture (including a 17th century castle, numerous historic buildings and a picturesque waterfront) and luxuriant gardens, set against the flat roof of Table Mountain.

    Cape Town’s cosmopolitanism (partially a consequence of the high immigration rate) is the driving force behind the city’s thriving cultural life: here you will be able to experience just about anything, from experimental music concerts to indigenous art.

    The Cradle of Humankind

    The ‘Cradle of Humankind’ actually refers to a number of archeological sites situated in South Africa’s Gauteng and North West regions. Here is where one of the oldest ancestors of Homo Sapiens, Australopithecus africanus, was discovered at the beginning of the 20th century. Specific geological conditions have made possible the preservation of this valuable fossils and hominid remains, some of them dating back to approximately 3.5 million years ago.

    The Nelson Mandela Route

    If you are willing to give sightseeing a couple of days, than it might be a good idea to try and follow the footsteps of South Africa’s greatest contemporary hero, Nelson Mandela. Following the Nelson Mandela’s route is a good occasion to enroll yourself into a historic safari, that takes you through the picturesque villages of Qunu, Mveso and Mthatha, that are all hosting parts of Nelson Mandela Museum, not to mention his permanent residence and the places he used to frequent during his childhood. The final attraction on the route is represented by Robben Island (near Cape Town), the place where Mandela was imprisoned for 18 years.

    The National Arts Festival

    The National Arts Festival is one of the oldest and most popular events in South Africa. This year’s edition will take place between June 20 and July 4, partially overlapping with the last days of the soccer competition. The National Arts Festival reunites young artists from all domains and features numerous art exhibitions, dancing and theatre representations, workshops and concerts.

    The Museums of Johannesburg

    Johannesburg is everything that you would expect from a big city: skyscrapers, corporation headquarters, traffic jams and posh shopping centers. But Johannesburg is also home to an impressive number of museums, starting with the classical Apartheid Museum and Johannesburg Art Gallery and continuing with the more extravagant Bernberg Fashion Museum or the Origins Centre Museum (rock art).

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    Comments on South African Adventure II: Cultural Attractions

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    Ana wrote on March 5, 2010:

    Some MUST SEE attractions!! I went to the Grahams Town art festival for the first time last year , it was incredible I had so much fun!

     
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