Historical Sites In South Africa

South Africans have developed something of resistance to monuments and statues because so many of them have been highly controversal politically. But many are valuable records of history, attitudes and achievements.

CP Nel Museum

Here you will find a complete, reconstructed synagogue as well as a pharmacy, both from the Victorian era, as well as many romantic relics from Oudshoorn's heyday as ostrich feather capital of the world.

Paarl Africaans Language Monument

This is the most region's(Western Cape) striking man-made monument. Its symbolism has been heavily criticised, but it is certainly worth a vist. The Southern Suburbs of Cape Town show the evidence of empire-builder Cecil John Rhodes in the Rhodes Memorial, his statue on the University of Cape Town campus, the parkland he set aside for public enjoyment, and in his Cottage at Muizenberg, a modest stone and thatch dwelling where Rhodes spent holidays.

The National Science Museum

The Museum hosts a number of informative and educational displays of mammals, birds,reptiles and fish. The museum also boasts South Africa's only Egyptian mummy. It provides hours of entertainment for adults and children. There is also a gift shop in the museum. It is open from 8:30am - 4:00pm, Monday to Saturday and from 11:00am - 4:00pm in Sundays.

War Memorials

The town of Graaff-Reinet has an impressive collection of monuments mirroring the history and achievements of the people of the area.

Pride of place goes to the Graaff-Reinert War Memorial in front of the Town Hall. This monument fashioned by well-known London sculptor H.C Fehr, features an imposing bronze figure of the Victory Peace Angel mounted on a high pedestal.

The monument honours victims of the two world wars, including local citizens who died in the insurgencies.

The Anglo-Boer War Memorial at the corner of Somerset and Donkin streets was erected on a small plot donated by the late Mr. Jurie Laubsche, a citizen of the town. The design of the marble monument, which was made in Italy, is said to have been based on photographs of Boer soldiers.

The Andries Pretorius Monument, about two kilometres outside the town, features an imposing statue of Pretorius gazing towards the north, with his left hand atop a wagon wheel.

The Gideon Scheepers Memorial on the Murraysburg road honours a signaller in the Transvaal Artillery, who was executed by the British after forming his own commando unit during the Ango-Boer War. The memorial comprises three rocks supporting a stainless-steel needle, symbolizing the spirit of faith and hope.

The Union Monument, a compelling stone pyramid erected on Magazine Hill, commemorates the union of the four provinces in 1910. Each side of the structure displays a marble table bearing the name of a province.

One of the most interesting of Graaff-Reinet's monuments is that it is built as a tribute to the Jewish pedlars who once canvassed the Cape Colony's interior. The monument consists of a boulder on which a bronze plaque is mounted.

Blood River Monument

Ghosts from a tragically violent past whisper at you from among the great bronze ox wagons that mark the battlesite of Blood River. There are 64 of them, arranged in the precise larger formation contrived by the Voortrekkers.

Across this field, on 16 December 1838, the massed ranks of Dingane's warriors advanced, and were slaughtered in their thousands by their Voortrekker adversaries. Blood River Monument relives this insurgency between the Zulu impis numbering 12,000 but whose raw hide shields, knobkerries, stabbing spears and courage proved no match for the deadly firepower of their enemy.

When they finally retreated they left 3,000 dead on the field of battle. The trekkers, numbering 470 suffered only three wounded casualties, among them Andries Pretorius. The Voortrekkers went on to find the short-lived Republic of Natalia, and built the Church of the Vow in Pietermaritzburg, the quiet republican capital.

Dingane was eventually ousted by his half-brother Mpande, and fled to what is known today as Swaziland. Pretorius moved north to fight for Transvaal's independence from the British, and eventually bequeathed his name to a future capital of South Africa.

Voortrekker Monument

The enormous Voortrekker Monument was built in 1938 to commemorate the Boers who trekked north over the coastal mountains of the Cape into the heart of the African veld. In particular, it commemorates the Battle of Blood River when, on 16 December 1838, 470 Boers defeated approximately 12,000 Zulus. Three trekkers were wounded and 3,000 Zulus were killed. A staircase leads to the roof and a panoramic view of Pretoria and the highveld. The monument and museum are open from Monday to Saturday starting at 9:00am to 4:45 pm.

Settlers Monument

Reminiscent of an old fort, this monument on Gunfire Hill was built in 1974 in the shape of a ship and commemorates the British families who arrived in the area in 1820. The modern Monument Theatre complex nearby is the main venue for the popular 11-day Standard Bank National Arts Festival which is held annually.

The Castle of Good Hope

The Castle of Good Hope in Cape Town is South Africa's oldest colonial structure. Built between 1666-79, it replaced the earlier clay and timber fort that had been erected by Commander Jan van Riebeeck in 1652. The castle overlooks the Grand Parade, site of the original fort, and is now a museum and the Western Cape's army headquarters.

Huguenot Memorial

It is Franschhoek's imposing, but delicately graceful monument, set against a stunning mountain backdrop, honours the memory of the French protestant immigrants who settled in the area during the late 1680s and 1690s. Though few in number, they had a salutary effect on the local scene, bringing with them not only badly needed skills (farming, viticulture, building), but also some of the cultural refinements of Europe. The Huguenot Museum there tells their history as well as tracing ancestry for any one of Huguenot descent(Winelands). - right is a Franschhoek'sHuguenot Monument.

The memorial incorporates a lot of symbolism. Dominant features are the three elegant arches, representing the Holy Trinity, surmounted by a small golden sun and a plain cross. Standing before the arches is a female figure holding a Bible in her right hand and a broken chain in her left; fleurs-de-lis decorate her dress. She straddles the earth and she is casting off her cloak. Other symbols include a harp, a sheaf of corn and vine and a spinning wheel.

Alongside the memorial is the Huguenot Memorial Museum, a building modeled on, and incorporating parts of an elegant, now demolished Cape Dutch mansion called Saasveld. The mansion was erected in 1791 on Cape Town's Kloof Street.

Robben Island

The oval-shaped island, clearly visible from the shores of Table Bay and the seaside suburbs of Green Point and Sea Point, gained worldwide notoriety as 'South Africa's Alcatraz', a prison that included Nelson Mandela (for 27 years) among its more illustrious inmates.

These days, though, Robben Island has a different and kindlier image: since 1991 it has been embraced by the South African National Heritage Programme, which seeks to preserve it as a breeding ground for Damara and Caspian terns, jackass penguins and nearly 30 other species of bird.

These and the rugged coast and offshore marine life, the arum lilies and the splendid views across the bay to Table Mountain put it among the upper echelons of the Cape's tourist venues.

Pretoria Historical Places

From the centre of Pretoria to its outskirts in any direction, you will come across places that detail the history of Pretoria and its people. From the Tswaing Crater Eco-Museum in the northeast, to the various Boer Republic house museum statues and libraries of record, Pretoria has gone to great pains to preserve its culture for following generations. A peek into the Kruger house gives you an insight into how early Pretoria was put together, the fashions, the style, the belief and the décor of the late 19th century.

The Transvaal Museum

It having an excellent selection of fauna and archaeological treasure. Landmarks abound the Union Buildings, the giant fig tree called the Wonderboom, the colossal Voortrekker Monument, the Solomon Mahlangu Square in Momelodi and the general architecture of the University of Pretoria campus church square itself, centred by the imposing statue of President Paul Kruger surrounded by his trusty lieutenants, is worth a couple of hours of your time.

Prester John Memorial

The Memorial is located adjacent to the city Hall, is dedicated to the mythical king-priest, Prester John and the Portuguese explores who discovered South Africa. The monuments, which was unveiled in 1986 by the Portuguese Ambassador, is believed to be the only monument in the world depicting Prester John. Fort Frederick Is a 1799 stone fort built by the British Forces to defend the mouth of the Baakens River. It was named after Frederick, Duke of York, and was built by English troops. The English troops were sent to Algoa Bay to assist the Graaff Reinet rebels in preventing a possible landing of French soldiers. Yet, ironically, no shot was ever fired in anger from the Fort. The Horse memorial It is located on the corner of Russel and Cape roads, was erected and dedicated to the horses killed during the South African War (1899-1902). This magnificent statue is reputed to be one of only three memorials in the world dedicated to horses.

Van Der kemps Kloof memorial

This is located on the outskirts of the Port Elizabeth metropole, has the first church built in 1803 by Dr Johannes Theodosuis Van Der Kemp. He was sent by the London Missionary Society and arrived in the area in 1801. He built a permanent settlement to fulfill his missionary work. The history of the settlement is both interesting and historically valuable to visitors and the community alike.