Celebrating Heritage Day

Celebrating our heritage

This week we will be celebrating Heritage Day across South Africa – a day when we recognize the celebration of the cultural wealth of our nation.  We usually spend the day remembering the cultural heritage that makes up the population of South Africa by enjoying the food, music and that which have been handed down from the past.

Since it is still also Tourism month, maybe you feel like taking a journey as we are celebrating Heritage Day. Do YOU know what amazing heritage sites are around you in your own area?  I think that if you take some time, you will be amazed at how much heritage is on your doorstep, just waiting for you to either discover it. Or, if already ‘discovered’ by someone else, just waiting for you to take the time to investigate. Because, South Africa is rich in heritage and history.

With international travel restrictions still in place, why not take the time to go out into our beautiful country and discover what this unique country of ours has to offer – it is not just Europe that has interesting heritage sites!

In our area (Ermelo, Mpumalanga) we have some amazing sites. Our local tourism guru, Athol Stark, has created the Highveld Heritage Route. This route has become extremely popular with people from across the country and the world alike, but some of our locals have still not visited these sites!

Some of the popular tours that are being marketed internationally to entice visitors to our area are well worth booking for:

Batwa Valley

With its Giant Mushroom Rock, this site goes back in time as the place where the ancient Tlou E’Tle (Bushman) lived and where they met their end.

The highly eroded Batwa Valley hides an ancient Stone Age Site and those interested in a “Sound and Senses Tour” will experience the Mystery (and emotion) of these ancient people.

Optional extra is the “Whispers of Africa Tours” with a detailed explanation of this turbulent past, archeological features, and the massacre of the Batwa people.  Visit the La Rochelle cave where ancient Rock Art of the a’Batwa Bushman is mute testimony of these ancient San hunters. They perfected life and balance in nature that still astounds archeologists today.

Tiqwa Cave Rock Art

“If these rock art paintings could talk, they would reveal a time of a forgotten people who painted their history on cave walls and left a legacy of myths, mythology and legends.” For millennia the Eastern Highveld, as was the case for the rest of Southern Africa, was occupied by small groups of Aboriginal hunters (or San) who perfected a way of life and a balance in nature that still astounds archeologists today.

These ancient San, colloquially referred to as “Bushmen” left behind an enduring legacy, consisting of rock art paintings and engravings which abound throughout the area. Their art was created on the walls of caves, outcrops and on eroded rock alongside the lakes in the Chrissiesmeer area which forms part of the Grass and Wetlands region.

The vast amount of paintings to be found in the area still astound visitors today.  Some of the oldest known San Rock Art is to be found in the Eastern Highveld.  This tour has audio accompaniment to enhance the experience.

Anglo-Boer War Battlefields

People are fascinated by the Anglo-Boer War and the Highveld region is a good starting point to finding out about this tragic period in South Africa’s history.

This war, which lasted from 1899 to 1902 has poignant stories which come to life with the tour guide’s story on the Battle of Chrissiesmeer 6 Feb 1901 (the only battle ever to be fought within a town).  The historic cemetery offers an eye-opening love story at the grave of Arthur Swantson and the flowers that arrived from England for 61 years to this hero’s grave.

This area is also home to the very last battle that was fought on the Eastern Transvaal Highveld, which is the Battle at Onverwacht. This unique battle site and its monument to the fallen Boers, British, New Zealanders and Australians, is perched on the side of a hill overlooking the valley at Onverwacht, where the overwhelming Boer forces attacked the British on the 4th of January 1902.

For more info on the region’s heritage sites, visit the website www.highveldheritage.co.za where you can find information on these sites and tours or to watch some site videos, search for Highveld Heritage on YouTube to virtually visit these sites.

Let’s face it though, nothing will beat a physical visit where you experience it in a unique way that only our expert can help you do, where it is bound to become one of your most memorable experiences as you not only see it with your eyes, but experience it in sight and touch with a storyteller of note!

We will be celebrating Heritage Day. So, what are you waiting for? Pack your bags and join me!

Bon Voyage,
Melinda Stark
079 887 1170

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