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Planning your trip     SIGHTS TO SEE Show services:
Narrative on South Africa's more prominent sights to see.

Addo Elephant Park Apartheid Museum Cango Caves
Church Square Drakensberg Gold Reef City
Groot Constantia Wine Farm Groote Schuur Houses of Parliament
Johannesburg Zoo Kirstenbosch Gardens Rhodes Memorial
Robben Island St Lucia Sun City
Table Mountain Tsitsikamma National Park University of Cape Town
University of the Witwatersrand uShaka Marine World V&A Waterfront
Voortrekker Monument Whale watching, Hermanus
Addo Elephant Park
Nearest town:
Addo Elephant National Park is an elephant park situated close to Port Elizabeth in South Africa and is recognized as one of the country's twenty national parks.

More than 450 elephants, 400 Cape buffalo, over 48 endangered black rhino as well as a variety of antelope species. Lion and spotted hyena has also recently been re-introduced to the area. The largest remaining population of the flightless dung beetle (Circellium bacchus) is located within the park. The flora within the AENP is quite varied, and like all plant life, is a central factor to the ecological system in place. Several species of rare and endemic plants, particularly succulent shrubs and geophytes are native to the South African region within the AENP. Many species are under environmental pressure, however, and are facing a possible extinction.

 
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Apartheid Museum
Nearest town: Johannesburg
The Apartheid Museum is a museum complex in Johannesburg, South Africa dedicated to illustrating apartheid and the 20th century history of South Africa. The structure pictured here is owned by Gold Reef - the Casino Company.

In 1995, the South African government created a process to grant casino licenses, and established an agency called the Gambling Board. As a part of any bid to build a casino in South Africa, developers are required to demonstrate how their casino would attract tourism and stimulate job growth.

A consortium, called Akani eGoli, put in a bid to build a casino in Gold Reef City whose plans included a complex called Freedom Park. Their bid was successful, and space was created for the complex next to Gold Reef City Casino. The name of Freedom Park was later changed The Apartheid Museum at Freedom Park leading to the name controversy and legal action. The construction costs of the Apartheid Museum were around 80 million Rand, which was paid for by Akani eGoli.

The museum was registered as a Section 21[2]company, which means that it was incorporated not for profit, with an independent board of trustees. The company is separate from Akani eGoli, which has leased the museum to the Section 21 company for the duration of its casino licence. The museum therefore relies on donations, contributions, and sponsorships to sustain its growth.

 
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Cango Caves
Nearest town:
The Cango Caves are located in Precambrian limestones at the foothills of the Swartberg range near the town of Oudtshoorn in the Western Cape Province of South Africa. The principal cave is one of the country's finest, best known and most popular tourist caves and attracts many visitors from overseas. Although the extensive system of tunnels and chambers go on for over four kilometers, only about a quarter of this is open to visitors, who may proceed into the cave only in groups supervised by a guide. Tours are conducted at regular intervals on most days - there is a "Standard Tour" which takes an hour and an "Adventure Tour" which takes an hour and a half. The "Adventure Tour" consists of crawling through narrow passages and climbing up steep rock formations guided by small lights. The caves contain spectacular halls and grand limestone formations (on both tours) as well as some rather small passages on the Adventure Tour. The smallest passage that tourists will have to pass through on the Adventure Tour is just under 30 cm high at the exit.

The caves are considered to be part of the Garden Route.

 
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Church Square
Nearest town: Pretoria
Church Square (English) or Kerkplein (Afrikaans), is the historic centre of the city of Pretoria, South Africa.

Its most prominent feature is the statue of the Boer leader and president of the South African Republic Paul Kruger at its centre. Statues of four anonymous Boer citizen-soldiers surround that of Kruger's on a lower level of the plinth.

Several historically and architecturally significant buildings surround the square: the Palace of Justice, the Old Capitol Theatre, the Tudor Chambers, the Ou Raadsaal (Old Council Chamber) and the General Post Office, which was designed by John Cleland.

The turreted Palace of Justice was the scene of arguably the most famous political trial in South Africa's history, the Rivonia Trial. During this trial, Nelson Mandela and a number of other prominent liberation struggle figures were charged with treason and subsequently incarcerated.

Church Square (English) or Kerkplein (Afrikaans), is the historic centre of the city of Pretoria, South Africa.

Its most prominent feature is the statue of the Boer leader and president of the South African Republic Paul Kruger at its centre. Statues of four anonymous Boer citizen-soldiers surround that of Kruger's on a lower level of the plinth.

Several historically and architecturally significant buildings surround the square: the Palace of Justice, the Old Capitol Theatre, the Tudor Chambers, the Ou Raadsaal (Old Council Chamber) and the General Post Office, which was designed by John Cleland.

The turreted Palace of Justice was the scene of arguably the most famous political trial in South Africa's history, the Rivonia Trial. During this trial, Nelson Mandela and a number of other prominent liberation struggle figures were charged with treason and subsequently incarcerated.

 
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Drakensberg
Nearest town:
The Drakensberg (Afrikaans: Drakensberge, Dutch: Drakensbergen, "the Dragon Mountains") is the highest mountain range in Southern Africa, rising to 3,482 metres (11,424 ft) in height. In Zulu, it is referred to as uKhahlamba ("barrier of spears"), and in Sesotho as Maluti (also spelled Maloti). Its geological history lends it a distinctive character amongst the mountain ranges of the world. Geologically, the range resembles the Simien Mountains of Ethiopia.

During the Pre-Cambrian Era, volcanic eruptions in the area resulted in lava covering large sections of the Southern African sub-continent. In the Palaeozoic Era, wind and water deposited thick layers of shale, mudstone and sandstone, now known as the Karoo Supergroup, over the ancient primary rock. When Gondwanaland began to break up 200 million years ago, the resultant forces caused the extrusion of magma, known as Drakensberg lava, through fissures and cracks in the Earth's surface. In the Drakensberg region it capped the sedimentary rock formations with layers of solid basalt up to 1400 m thick. Weathering reduced the range's size, and caused the plateau to recede. In modern times, continued erosion has exposed some of the underlying sediment.

The mountains are rich in plant life, including a large number of species listed in the Red Data Book of threatened plants, with 119 species listed as globally endangered" and "of the 2 153 plant species in the park, a remarkable 98 are endemic or near-endemic".

The flora of the high alti-montane grasslands is mainly tussock grass, creeping plants, and small shrubs such as ericas. These include the rare Spiral Aloe (Aloe polyphylla), which as its name suggests has leaves with a spiral shape.

Meanwhile the lower slopes are mainly grassland but are also home to conifers, which are rare in Africa, the species of conifer found in the Drakensberg is Podocarpus. The grassland itself is of interest as it contains a great number of endemic plants. Grasses found here include oat grass Monocymbium ceresiiforme, Diheteropogon filifolius, Sporobolus centrifugus, caterpillar grass (Harpochloa falx), Cymbopogon dieterlenii, and Eulalia villosa.

The Drakenberg area is "home to 299 recorded bird species," making up "37% of all non-marine avian species in southern Africa."

 
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Gold Reef City
Nearest town:
Gold Reef City is a large amusement park in Johannesburg, South Africa. Located on an old gold mine, the park is themed around the gold rush on the Witwatersrand. Park staff wear period costumes of the 1880s, and the buildings on the park are designed to mimic the same period. There is a museum dedicated to gold mining on the grounds where it is possible to see a gold-containing ore vein and see how real gold is poured into barrels.

There are many attractions at Gold Reef City, not the least of which are water rides and roller coasters. The liveshows of Idols South Africa are filmed live in the "Hippodrome", a large auditorium based in the park.

Gold Reef City is located to the south of the Central Business District off of the M1. It is also the site of the Apartheid Museum.

 
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Groot Constantia Wine Farm
Nearest town: Stellenbosch
Following the death of Simon van der Stel in 1712 the estate was divided into three parts  Groot (Great) Constantia, Klein (Little) Constantia and Bergvliet. Under the ownership of Johannes Colijn Klein Constantia continued to be a standard bearer for Cape wine. In the 1770s, Groot Constantia was sold to a businessman from Stellenbosch named Hendrik Cloete, who replanted the vineyards and rebuilt the cellars in an attempt to revive the reputation of the estate. He employed nearly 100 slaves and stationed them throughout the vineyard, charged with ensuring that not a single insect landed on the vines. It was Cloete's dedication (and later that of his son, also named Hendrik) that raised the prestige of the estate and led to its prompt discovery by the invading British. In his 1816 work, Topographie de Tous les Vignobles Connus, the French oenologist André Jullien included the wines of Constantia in the highest category of his expansive quality classification of the world's wine. Ranking it just below the wines of Tokay, Jullien described the dessert wine of Constantia as "...among the finest liqueur wines of the world..."

 
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Groote Schuur
Nearest town: Cape Town
Cecil Rhodes bequeathed this historic house and its surrounding estate to the nation. It was home to a succession of prime ministers, culminating with FW de Klerk. The beautifully restored interior, all teak panels and heavy colonial furniture, antiques and tapestries of the finest calibre, is suitably imposing.

The best feature is the colonnaded veranda overlooking the formal gardens, sloping uphill towards an avenue of pine trees and sweeping views of Devil’s Peak. The tour includes tea on the veranda.

 
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Houses of Parliament
Nearest town: Cape Town
Visiting South Africa’s parliament can make for a diverting tour, especially if you're interested in the country’s modern history. Opened in 1885, the hallowed halls have seen some pretty momentous events; this is where British Prime Minister Harold Macmillan made his "Wind of Change" speech in 1960, and where President Hendrik Verwoerd, architect of apartheid, was stabbed to death in 1966.

Enthusiastic tour guides will fill you in on the mechanisms and political make-up of their new democracy. If parliament is sitting, fix your tour for the afternoon so you can see the politicians in action. Call ahead and present your passport to gain entry

 
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Johannesburg Zoo
Nearest town: Johannesburg
The Johannesburg Zoo is a 81-hectare (200-acre) zoo in Johannesburg, South Africa. Established in 1904, it has traditionally been owned and operated by the City of Johannesburg. However, it has recently been turned into a corporation and registered as a Section 21 non-profit organisation.

The zoo is dedicated to the accommodation, enrichment, husbandry, and medical care of wild animals, and houses about 2000 individuals of 320 species.

Tours and excursions around the zoo are offered under the auspices of the zoo's education department.

It is one of the few places in the world with white lions (a genetic mutation of African lions), and has had considerable success in their breeding; these are more sought after than tawny lions by other zoos. The Johannesburg Zoo is also the only zoo in South Africa to have successfully bred Siberian Tigers, the largest cats in the world. "Twist" the male Siberian, weighs 320 kg, and is the father of all the Siberian Tigers to be found in South Africa. Max the gorilla was probably the Zoo's best known resident.

Due to requirements in the Deed of Gift under which the land for the Johannesburg Zoo and the neighboring Zoo Lake was acquired, the zoo, and neighboring park, is one of very few public areas that was never segregated during Apartheid in South Africa.

 
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Kirstenbosch Gardens
Nearest town: Cape Town
Kirstenbosch is the name of a famous botanical garden nestled at the foot of Table Mountain in Cape Town. (It is on the eastern slopes of the mountain, not on the northern side normally depicted in the standard tourist snapshots). (Kirstenbosch should not be confused with the similarly named suburb of Kirstenhof which lies some 10 km to the south.)

The garden is one of eight National Botanical Gardens covering five of South Africa's six different biomes. When Kirstenbosch, the most famous of the gardens, was founded in 1913 to preserve the country's unique flora, it was the first botanical garden in the world with this ethos. Furthermore, what makes the Gardens so famous worldwide is that (with minor exceptions) only indigenous plants are cultivated.

The garden includes a large, indoor greenhouse exhibiting plants from a number of different regions, including savanna, fynbos, karoo and others. Outdoors, the focus moves to plants native to the Cape region, highlighted by the spectacular collections of proteas. Kirstenbosch enjoys great popularity with residents and visitors. From the gardens several trails lead off along and up the mountain slopes and these are much used by walkers and mountaineers. One of the trails, up a ravine called Skeleton Gorge, is an easy and popular route to the summit of Table Mountain. This route is also known as Smuts' Track after Prime Minister Jan Smuts who used this route regularly. On the slopes above the cultivated parts of the garden a contour path leads through forests to Constantia Nek to the south. The same contour path can be followed to the north for many kilometres and it will take the hiker past the Rhodes Memorial to the slopes of Devil's Peak and beyond. Wild Seed Pod by Arthur Fata at the entrance to KirstenboschKirstenbosch regularly exhibits Zimbabwean stone sculptures in the gardens. Many of the artists are associated with Chapungu Sculpture Park in Zimbabwe.

In summer, a popular series of outdoor concerts are held in the gardens on Sunday evenings.

 
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Rhodes Memorial
Nearest town: Grahamstown
Modelled after the arch at London’s Hyde Park Corner, the impressive granite memorial to the mining magnate and former prime minister stands on the eastern slopes of Table Mountain. Rhodes bought all this land in 1895 for £9000 as part of a plan to preserve a relatively untouched section of the mountain for future generations.

Despite there being a sweeping view from the memorial to the Cape Flats and the mountain ranges beyond and, by implication, right into the heart of Africa, the statue of Rhodes himself has the man looking rather grumpy. Behind the memorial there’s a pleasant tearoom, the Rhodes Memorial Restaurant, in an old stone cottage.

 
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Robben Island
Nearest town: Cape Town
Robben Island (Afrikaans: Robbeneiland) is an island in Table Bay, 6.9 km west of the coast of Bloubergstrand, Cape Town, South Africa. The name is Dutch for "seal island". Robben Island is roughly oval in shape, 3.3 km long north-south, and 1.9 km wide, with an area of 5.07 km².[1] It is flat and only a few metres above sea level, as a result of an ancient erosion event. The island is composed of Precambrian metamorphic rocks belonging to the Malmesbury Group. It is of particular note that it was here that past President of South Africa and Nobel Laureate Nelson Mandela and past South African President Kgalema Motlanthe,[2] alongside many other political prisoners, spent decades imprisoned during the apartheid era. Among those political prisoners was current South African President Jacob Zuma who was imprisoned there for ten years.

Since the end of the 17th century, Robben Island has been used for the isolation of mainly political prisoners. The Dutch settlers were the first to use Robben Island as a prison. Its first prisoner was probably Harry die strandloper in the mid-17th century. Amongst its early permanent inhabitants were political leaders from various Dutch colonies, including Indonesia, and the leader of the mutiny on the slave ship Meermin. After a failed uprising at Grahamstown in 1819, the fifth of the Xhosa Wars, the British colonial government sentenced African leader Makanda Nxele to life imprisonment on the island . He drowned on the shores of Table Bay after escaping the prison.

 
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St Lucia
Nearest town:
Lake St. Lucia (Lake Saint Lucia) is an estuarine lake system in northern KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. The lake falls within the iSimangaliso Wetland Park (a World Heritage Site). The lake was named Santa Lucia by Manuel Perestrerello on 13 December 1575, the day of the feast of Saint Lucy.[1] It was later renamed to St. Lucia.

 
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Sun City
Nearest town: Rustenburg
Sun City is a luxury casino and resort, situated in the North West Province of South Africa. It is located about two hours' drive from Johannesburg, near the city of Rustenburg. The complex borders the Pilanesberg Game Reserve.

 
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Table Mountain
Nearest town: Cape Town
Table Mountain is a flat-topped mountain forming a prominent landmark overlooking the city of Cape Town in South Africa, and is featured in the flag of Cape Town and other local government insignia.[2] It is a significant tourist attraction, with many visitors using the cableway or hiking to the top. The mountain forms part of the Table Mountain National Park.

The main feature of Table Mountain is the level plateau approximately 3 kilometres (2 mi) from side to side, edged by impressive cliffs. The plateau, flanked by Devil's Peak to the east and by Lion's Head to the west, forms a dramatic backdrop to Cape Town. This broad sweep of mountainous heights, together with Signal Hill, forms the natural amphitheatre of the City Bowl and Table Bay harbour. The highest point on Table Mountain is towards the eastern end of the plateau and is marked by Maclear's Beacon, a stone cairn built in 1865 by Sir Thomas Maclear for trigonometrical survey. It is 1,086 metres (3,563 ft) above sea level, about 19 metres (62 ft) higher than the cable station at the western end of the plateau.

The cliffs of the main plateau are split by Platteklip Gorge ("Flat Stone Gorge"), which provides an easy and direct ascent to the summit and was the route taken by António de Saldanha on the first recorded ascent of the mountain in 1503.[3]

The flat top of the mountain is often covered by orographic clouds, formed when a south-easterly wind is directed up the mountain's slopes into colder air, where the moisture condenses to form the so-called "table cloth" of cloud. Legend attributes this phenomenon to a smoking contest between the Devil and a local pirate called Van Hunks.[4] When the table cloth is seen, it symbolizes the contest.

Table Mountain is at the northern end of a sandstone mountain range that forms the spine of the Cape Peninsula. To the south of the main plateau is a lower part of the range called the Back Table. On the Atlantic coast of the peninsula, the range is known as the Twelve Apostles. The range continues southwards to Cape Point.

 
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Tsitsikamma National Park
Nearest town:
The Tsitsikamma National Park is a coastal reserve on the Garden Route in South Africa. It is well known for indigenous forests, dramatic coastline, and the Otter Trail. On 6 March 2009 it was amalgamated with the Wilderness National Park and various other areas of land to form the Garden Route National Park.

The park covers an 80 km long stretch of coastline. Nature's Valley is at the western end of the park, and the main accommodation is at Storms River Mouth. Near the park is the Bloukrans Bridge, the world's highest bungee jump at 216m.

The word tsitsikamma is a Khoisan phrase meaning place of abundant water.

 
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University of Cape Town
Nearest town: Cape Town
The University of Cape Town (UCT) is a public research university located in Cape Town in the Western Cape province of South Africa. UCT was founded in 1829 as the South African College, and is the oldest university in South Africa and the second oldest extant university in Africa.

The roots of UCT lie in the establishment of the South African College in 1829 as a school for boys. In 1874 the South African College Schools, teaching up to secondary level, were separated from the College, which prepared students for the examinations of the University of the Cape of Good Hope. In 1918 the South African College was elevated to full university status with the power to award degrees, and renamed the University of Cape Town.

 
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University of the Witwatersrand
Nearest town: Johannesburg
The University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg is a multi-campus South African public research university situated in the northern areas of central Johannesburg. It is more commonly known as Wits University. The University has its roots in the mining industry, as do Johannesburg and the Witwatersrand in general. Founded in 1896 as the South African School of Mines in Kimberley, it is the third oldest university in South Africa, after the University of Cape Town (founded in 1829), and Stellenbosch University (founded in 1866).

In 1959, the Extension of University Education Act forced restricted registrations of black students for most of the apartheid era; despite this, several notable black leaders graduated from the University. It became desegregated once again prior to the abolition of apartheid in 1990. Several of apartheid's most provocative critics, of either European or African descent, were one-time students and graduates of the University.

The University has an enrollment of 27,934 students as of 2010, of which approximately 4,566 live on campus in the University's 18 residences. As of 2010, 67.7% of the University's total enrollment is for undergraduate study, with the remaining 32.3% being postgraduate.

 
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uShaka Marine World
Nearest town: Durban
uShaka Marine World is a 16-hectare (40-acre) theme park which was opened in April 2004 in Durban, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. It comprises 4 sections: uShaka Sea World, uShaka Wet 'n Wild, uShaka Beach, and uShaka Village Walk. It is located on the strip of land between the beachfront and the harbour. It was the first phase in the redevelopment of the Durban Point.

uShaka Sea World is the 5th largest aquarium in the world, with 32 tanks totaling 17,500 cubic meters of water. The underground aquarium is designed around 5 shipwrecks, with its entrance through the above ground "Phantom Ship",[2] which contains several restaurants including the "Cargo Hold,"[4] with a wall sized shark aquarium visible from most of the dining areas, and the "Upper Deck," with views of the open sea exhibits that surround the "ship".[5][6] The dolphin stadium can seat 1,200 visitors, and the seal stadium can seat about 450.[2]

The aquarium is home to shark species such as ragged-tooth sharks, spinner sharks, hammerhead sharks, and local catsharks, large rays including eagle rays, local moray species including honeycomb morays and geometric morays, local gamefish, and large fish species including giant groupers, potato bass, kingfish, and cobia. uShaka also housed a Manta ray for a short period of time before it was moved to the Georgia Aquarium in the United States.

The Dangerous Creatures exhibit includes various reptiles, amphibians and arachnids, some of which are venomous in their newly set-up Dangerous Creatures section, which is apart from the main aquarium. This sub-section contains both local and exotic animals, from rock pythons to Burmese pythons, Nile crocodiles, black mambas, tarantulas, scorpions, and gila monsters to name a few.

 
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V&A Waterfront
Nearest town: Cape Town
The Victoria & Alfred Waterfront in the historic heart of Cape Town's working harbour is South Africa's most-visited destination, having the highest rate of foreign tourists of any attraction in the country. Situated between Robben Island and Table Mountain and set against a backdrop of sea and mountain views, it offers a variety of shopping and entertainment options to visitors, intermingled with office locations, the Somerset Hospital, hotels (such as the historical Breakwater Lodge - once a 19th century prison) and luxury apartments in the residential marina.

It houses the Nelson Mandela Gateway which offers boat trips to Robben Island, as well as the Two Oceans Aquarium and Chavonnes Battery museum. The SAS Somerset is used as a museum and moored within the inner basin.

Prince Alfred, second son of Queen Victoria, began construction of the harbour in 1860. The first basin was named after himself, the second after his mother, hence the name.

The Victoria & Alfred Waterfront development is a renewal project that incorporates much of the historic harbour infrastructure. The whole complex is managed by a private company owned by Transnet. An international consortium of Dubai World and London & Regional Properties acquired the development in 2006 at a record value in South African terms of 7.4 billion rand. They sold the completed attraction to South African owners Growthpoint, the country's largest property company, and the Public Investment Corporation in 2011.

 
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Voortrekker Monument
Nearest town: Pretoria
The Voortrekker Monument is located just south of Pretoria in South Africa. This massive granite structure is prominently located on a hilltop, and was raised to commemorate the Voortrekkers who left the Cape Colony between 1835 and 1854.

On 8 July 2011 the Voortrekker Monument, designed by the architect Gerard Moerdijk, was declared a National Heritage Site by the South African Heritage Resource Agency.

The idea to build a monument in honour of the Voortrekkers was first discussed on 16 December 1888, when President Paul Kruger of the South African Republic attended the Day of the Covenant celebrations at Blood River in Natal. However, the movement to actually build such a monument only started in 1931 when the Sentrale Volksmonumentekomitee (SVK) (Central People's Monuments Committee) was formed to bring this idea to fruition.

Construction started on 13 July 1937 with a sod turning ceremony performed by chairman of the SVK, Advocate Ernest George Jansen, on what later became known as Monument Hill. On 16 December 1938 the cornerstone was laid by three descendants of some of the Voortrekker leaders: Mrs. J.C. Muller (granddaughter of Andries Pretorius), Mrs. K.F. Ackerman (great-granddaughter of Hendrik Potgieter) and Mrs. J.C. Preller (great-granddaughter of Piet Retief).

The Monument was inaugurated on 16 December 1949 by the then-prime minister D. F. Malan. The total construction cost of the Monument was about £ 360,000, most of which was contributed by the South African government.

A large amphitheatre, which seats approximately 20,000 people, was erected to the north-east of the Monument in 1949.

 
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Whale watching, Hermanus
Nearest town: Hermanus
Hermanus has since August 1992 the worlds only Whale Crier (Pieter Classen 1992-1998, Wilson Salukazana 1998-2006,[1] Zolile Baleni since April 2006 [2]) who sounds his kelp horn to announce where whales have been sighted. Zakes Mda wrote 2005 the novel The Whale Caller (ISBN 0-312-42382-9) in which the Whale Crier of Hermanus is the main character, a man who gets enthralled by a Southern Right whale he names Sharisha.

Whale festivalHermanus hosts an annual whale festival at the end of September, when the Southern Right whales come into the local bay during the mating season. Prior to this main whale festival a "Kalfiefees" (or "Calf Festival") is held, to welcome the first whales (usually in August). Both festivals are characterized by food and craft stalls and also attract South African drama productions to the town.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 






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