Attractions – Gauteng Tourism Authority - heritage

By: Gauteng Tourism Authority  11-11-2011
Keywords: Museum, Heritage Site


Heritage is huge in Gauteng! We have millions of years of history that has been passed down and is being preserved in the Cradle of Humankind, just an hour from Johannesburg and Pretoria. More than 3-million years ago hominids belonging to the genus Australopithecus africanus inhibited this area. One thousand hominid fossils have been discovered, spanning several million years including “Mrs Ples”, a skull discovered at the Sterkfontein Caves by palaeontologists Dr Robert Broom and John Robinson in 1947. A must for any visitor to Gauteng is a trip to the award winning Maropeng Visitor Centre and the Cradle of Humankind World Heritage Site where you can learn all about our beginning and development.

The Origins Centre museum at the University of the Witwatersrand also provides insight into the genesis of humankind. Africa’s heritage and culture is revealed through rock art paintings collected from all over Southern Africa dating back thousands of years.

While Gauteng’s more recent history is shaped by mineral mining, the political history of South Africa is another hugely influential moulding force. The wide variety of architecture in Johannesburg, Pretoria and the other regions of Gauteng bears testament to this fact. The elaborative mansions of the rand lords, the historic buildings of downtown Johannesburg and the Pretoria, and Vilakazi Street in Soweto all tell their stories and provide insight into the rich tapestry that is the province’s past.

Take a heritage tour to ‘Doornkloof’, Jan Smuts’ residence in Irene, Pretoria. Visit the McHardy House Mini Museum at the Cullinan Diamond Mine to revisit the lavish life of a mine manager at the turn of the century. Relive the tension of the 11th July 1963 when Liliesleaf Farm, in the suburb of Rivonia, was raided by dozens of armed policemen who sought out Nelson Mandela and key leaders of the struggle. Watch a Lipizzaner performance in Kyalami. View the magnificent Nan Hau Temple in Bronkhorstspruit, a massive undertaking by the Chinese Mahayana Buddhist order and the Taiwanese community in South Africa. Learn about defining events that occurred in Soweto that were pivotal in the struggle against Apartheid by touring the township and visiting the Apartheid Museum.

Gauteng’s heritage is extraordinary and attractions in this category are fascinating and plentiful allowing you to get a true sense of our unique and colourful history.

Featured Heritage attraction

Constitution Hill in Johannesburg has been the seat of South Africa’s Constitutional Court since February 2004. It was the first major post-apartheid government structure to be built and was designed to embody the openness and transparency called for by the Constitution itself.

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Keywords: Heritage Site, Museum

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