Category Archives: South Africa

8 New UNESCO World Heritage Sites

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8 New UNESCO World Heritage Sites

We have a bunch of New UNESCO Heritage Sites on the list, to add to our ever-growing bucket list!

All of these cultural and natural landmarks are recognized for their outstanding value to humanity. Discover which wonders made the list this year. This is by no means an exhaustive list, but just a handful of our favorites. Learn more about other sites on the UNESCO official webpage

What are some of YOUR favorite UNESCO World Heritage Sites?

Let us know in the comments!

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1. Naumburg Cathedral, Germany

Built in the 11th century, this gorgeous cathedral is remarkable from a distance for its stain glass windows and soaring Gothic arches. Its real claim to fame, however, is the medieval art inside—including 12 life-sized statues of the cathedral’s founders. The Naumburg Masters was a workshop of sculptors and stonemasons in the 13th century who dedicated their work of realistic sculptures to the cathedral and all over France, Middle Rhine area and boundaries of the German Empire. This is a destination for history buffs — the cathedral and the region around it has a high density of authentic monuments and structures dating back to the High Middle Ages.

2. Chiribiquete National Park, Colombia

Ever-surprising Colombia takes next place with this national park, sometimes called the Maloca (“Amazonian long house”) of the Jaguar. As Colombia’s largest protected site, it protects 10,810 square miles and over 3,000 species of animals and plants. High on the sandstone plateaux, over 75,000 rock paintings have been found. Nature lovers will surely love this one.

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3. Ivrea, Italy

This small Piedmont town near Turin is famous for its 20th century industrial boom in typewriters and computers. Stunning Ivrea is also a remarkably beautiful village, resting on the Dora Baltea river, and, at the time of writing, still off the usual tourists’ map.

4. Caliphate City of Medina Azahara, Spain

The Islamic civilization of Al-Andalus is highlighted all across southern Spain, especially Alhambra. Added to the list of must-sees this year is the Medina Azahara. These ruins, 1.5 hours from Seville, were built between 940 and 975 c.e. and once held the seat of the Caliphate of Cordoba.

5. Barberton Makhonjwa Mountains, South Africa

The Barberton Makhonjwa Mountains are so ancient, with volcanic and sedimentary rocks dating back over 3 billion years. More adventurous travelers will have quite the holiday hiking and biking around the town of Barberton and the nature reserve.

6. The Border of Hedeby and the Danevirke, Germany

Once a Viking trading post, this cultural landscape now consists of the ruins of a 33-km-long fortification–the Danevirke–as well as the archaeological site of the trading town Hedeby. Hedeby rose in power on the major trade routes between the Frankish Empire and Scandinavia, as well as between the Baltic and North Seas.

7. Göbekli Tepe, Turkey

This mysterious archaeological site in southeastern Turkey is the oldest known example of hunter-gatherer settlers in the world. It houses the world’s oldest known megaliths, with around 200 pillars in about 20 circles, and may have the world’s oldest temple as well. Göbekli Tepe dates back to around 9600 and 8200 b.c.e., and is a fascinating glimpse into ancient Mesopotamian culture.

8. Hidden Christian Sites, Japan

Kyushu Island keeps many historical secrets, but its historic Christian community that draws the eye of UNESCO—with 10 villages, Hara castle and cathedral that were built between 16th-19th centuries, despite a ban of all outsiders during the Tokugawa Shogunate. Along with these Christian remnants, visitors can explore active volcanoes, bubbling hot springs and marvelous waterfalls.

What UNESCO World Heritage Sites are you looking forward to seeing in 2018?

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Filed under Asia, Colombia, Europe, France, Germany, Japan, South Africa, Turkey

The Garden Route: A Brief Guide

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No, the Garden Route is not a gallery of gently manicured bushes or sculpted sprigs or wrought-iron greenhouses.

South Africa’s Garden Route is a huge stretch of land, rich in natural vegetation, that extends over 200km along the Western Cape.

Within this scenic playground, you might find everything from lagoons, gorges, fragrant plantations, pine plantations, or sandy coves.

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But it’s the local culture that draws the curious traveler to explore the hidden nooks and wild crannies along this remarkable coastline.

For years, chefs, artists, fishermen, and carpenters have been carving out their niches in this area. Explorers are rewarded with curious craft galleries, colorful inns, and woodcutter workshops tucked away in sleepy inlets. Driving along the harbors, you’ll want to stop at the ostrich capital of the world, Oudtshoorn, or the green port town of Calitzdorp, or marvel at the aquamarine bays of Knysna.

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Nature-inclined adventurers can hike through ancient forests of Tsitsikamma National Park, or climb onto sea cliffs for faint glimpses of humpback whales or bottlenose dolphins. You can stay next in family bungalows at Wilderness National Park for easy access to the park’s wetlands and lagoons. For a more civilized road trip, Mossel Bay and Plettenberg Bay are the towns to hit for beachside resorts and package tours.

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How to Get There: The best way to tour the Garden Route is by car. Drive on the N2 main highway, which connects Cape Town with Port Elizabeth.

Call your agent at Willamette Intl Travel to book an unforgettable trip to South Africa. Nancy and Christina have both visited recently and would love to share their perspectives of this fascinating region. Call 503-224-0180 or email info@wittravel.com. 

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Filed under Africa, South Africa, South Africa

Infographic: 6 Destinations to Spot the Southern Cross in 2017

We at Willamette Intl Travel love tried and true destinations like these! Interested in one (or more) of the places below? Give us a ring! 503-224-0180 or email info@wittravel.com.

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Filed under Antarctica, Australia, Brazil, Europe, Hawaii, New Zealand, South Africa, South Africa

Fun Facts about South Africa

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Devil’s Peak, cc modified (c) Jim Sher

South Africa: You know wine, you know a bit of the history–but did you know that the country has 3 official capitals? Cape Town, Bloemfontein and Pretoria. Check out more amazing facts below!

Check out our previous post on Cape Town for more on this fascinating country. 

Little-Known Facts about South Africa: 

  • South Africa has the longest wine route in the world.
  • Kruger National Park supports the greatest variety of wildlife species on the African continent.
  • South Africa has the cheapest electricity in the world.
  • The Tugela Falls is the second highest waterfall in the world, where the water tumbles down 2,789 feet.
  • The only street in the world to house two Nobel Peace prizewinners is in Soweto. Nelson Mandela and Archbishop Desmond Tutu both have houses on Vilakazi Street in Soweto.
  • South Africa has the oldest meteor scar in the world, the Vredefort Dome. This is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
  • The oldest remains of modern humans were found in Klasies River Cave in the Eastern Cape. They are well over 100,000 years old.
  • In its eastern part, South Africa entirely surrounds another country – Lesotho, an independent constitutional monarchy.
  • South Africa has 11 official languages, including Zulu, Afrikaans, Xhosa and English.

Last Month WIT Agent Nancy returned from two weeks in South Africa. Stay tuned for a firsthand account of her adventures!

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Race, cc modified (c) Matt MacGillivray

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