Southern Africa

Of the regions of Africa, the southern section of the continent is comprised of  a rather surprising  assortment of World Heritage sites. The region has one of the richest areas for growth and evolution of plant life on earth and supports one-fifth of Africa’s wild and varied flora. South Africa’s Sterkfontein, Swartkrans, Kromdraai, and Environs are among the most-celebrated hominid fossils sites in the world and is dubbed as the ‘Cradle of Humankind’ by UNESCO itself.  The region also has the richest collections of rock paintings and engravings, with one area in Botswana—Tsodilo—earning the moniker ‘Louvre of the Desert’.

An odd pair of World Heritage sites that made it to South Africa’s list are the Vredefort Dome, the oldest and largest meteorite impact on earth and the Robben Island, which includes a 17th century maximum security prison in which Nelson Mandela was incarcerated.