South Africa is home to a melting pot of diversity and natural beauty but the most interesting part about this young country has to be the history, with influences from other parts of Africa, Europe and even East Asia.
Upon traversing through the mountainous passes, vineyard hills and old towns, you’ll discover different sides to this beautiful country that will never cease to surprise you.
Here are Some of South Africa’s Historic Towns
Stellenbosch- Little Amsterdam
This town is known for its contributions to the wine industry in South Africa. Home to internationally award winning wines, Stellenbosch is the second oldest town in the Western Cape Province. Stellenbosch is considered a student town since the overall population in the town’s centre is primarily student residents who attend one of the most prestigious Universities in the Western Cape, Stellenbosch University.
Here you’ll find the historic architecture dating back to the colonial era in the Cape. A rich Dutch influence is seen etched in the fabric of this humble “dorp”. You’ll almost feel like you’ve stepped into Amsterdam with everyone on bicycles and the green open pastures. Visit the local museums, coffee shops, art galleries and so much more.
Pietermaritzburg- Mahtma Gandhi
Mahatma Gandhi arrived in Kwazulu- Natal in 1893 and travelled while pleading cases. Gandhi experienced racial segregation under the then Apartheid laws. Gandhi spent his formative years in South Africa and it is recorded that this was where he developed his philosophy of satyagraha, which is a form of active yet peaceful resistance to political injustices. Gandhi was forced by police to leave the first class carriage at the Pietermaritzburg train station and sit in the third class back carriage with other people of colour under the segregation law of Apartheid. Today, much of the old structure of the station has been preserved and a plaque has been put up to commemorate the incident. It is believed that after Gandhi’s experience at the station, he vowed to stay in South Africa to stand up against the segregation laws. You can visit the location to learn more about how Ghandi overcame challenges in SA. Consider taking a luxury train ride and on the way you’ll get to discover all the historical buildings and memorial sites along the way.
Cradock- Eastern Cape
This beautiful town was home to the San hunter-gatherers who were the sole inhabitants of southern Africa. Rock paintings and engravings show evidence of the first people who lived there. Dutch settlers later developed the town and land. Today, Cradock has become one of the Cape’s largest producers of wool, beef, dairy and fruit.
The small town is now home to about 33 000 residents. Not many tourists and visitors pass through this humble town and it surely is a shame as notable attractions include restored Victorian style crafted houses in Market Street which dates back to 1868. It was designed in the style of St Martin-in-the-Fields in Trafalgar Square, London.