Known for its profound history, cultural diversity, and breathtaking landscapes, South Africa extends a warm invitation to travellers from around the world to embark on a journey through time and heritage on National Heritage Day, September 24.
From ancient rock art to poignant symbols of the struggle against apartheid, the country's historical heritage reflects the enduring legacies of its diverse communities. Amidst this captivating tapestry lies a collection of historic hotels, each with its own unique story to tell.
1. Robben Island, Cape Town
Robben Island, situated in Table Bay off the coast of Cape Town, is an iconic symbol of South Africa's struggle for freedom and equality. It once served as a political prison where leaders like Nelson Mandela were held during apartheid. With views of the V&A Waterfront, Table Mountain, and the harbour, The Protea by Marriott Hotel Cape Town Waterfront Breakwater Lodge, housed in a historic 19th-century building, provides easy access to Robben Island tours.
2. Apartheid Museum, Johannesburg
The Apartheid Museum in Johannesburg offers a comprehensive and moving journey through South Africa's turbulent past, telling the story of apartheid, the struggle for justice, and the ultimate triumph of democracy. Originally established in the 1950s as a countryside tearoom, the Protea Hotel by Marriott Johannesburg Balalaika Sandton, has a history that predates the flashy skyscrapers of Sandton's business district.
3. The Big Hole, Kimberley
The Big Hole is an open-pit diamond mine excavated by hand during the late 19th century, which stands as a reminder of South Africa's diamond mining industry. Visitors can explore its depths, learn about diamond mining, and its impact on the country's history. Situated on the edge of the famous Big Hole, The Protea Hotel by Marriott Kimberley offers an ideal base for exploring Kimberley's history.
4. Battlefields of KwaZulu Natal
KwaZulu Natal is home to numerous iconic battlefields that shaped South Africa's history. Sites like Isandlwana and Rorke's Drift offer insights into the Anglo-Zulu War, while the Battle of Blood River reflects the Voortrekkers' struggles.
Built in 1986, the Protea Hotel by Marriott Karridene Beach is located in Illovo Beach, Amanzimtoti. The name ‘Amanzimtoti’ is of Zulu origin and means ‘sweet water’. This name is generally attributed to King Shaka of the Zulu tribe. According to the historic account, during one of Shaka's campaigns in the 1800s, he and his army stopped to rest in the area, and he named it Amanzimtoti because of the presence of fresh, sweet water. The name reflects the significance of this natural resource in the region.
5. Mafikeng Museum and The Lotlamoreng Cultural Village
The capital of North West Province, Mahikeng, is steeped in history and culture. The Mafikeng Museum chronicles the region's history, including its role during the Siege of Mafikeng and contributions to the struggle against apartheid. The Lotlamoreng Cultural Village offers an immersive experience of Setswana culture and history.
The Protea Hotel Mahikeng is in an area rich in culture, history, and wildlife, making it ideal for both business and leisure travellers.
South Africa's heritage and history come alive through these remarkable sites and the historic hotels that offer an unforgettable blend of the past and present.