Early farmsteads of the Cape Winelands

Brief description

At the onset of globalisation, the Cape of Good Hope was established in 1652 as a victualling station for the Dutch East India Company to supply its fleets sailing to and from the East Indies. Fresh water and meat supplies as well as vegetables and fruit were essential to sustain the trading ventures and gardens were laid on. Soon, however, the interest in the botanical and medicinal qualities of the Cape botanical richness triggered interests in the Netherlands and plants, seeds, bulbs and cuttings were regularly supplied to the botanical and medical gardens of cities and private collectors. The earliest agricultural calendar to guide farming activities at the Cape was compiled early in the 18th century by WA van der Stel, owner of Vergelegen.

Together with three soil types – granite, shale and sandstone – the mediterranean climate of the Western Cape, influenced by maritime conditions and mountainous terroir, is viticulturally ideal for growing good grapes. The first vines at the Cape were planted in 1655 in the Company Gardens at the foot of Table Mountain to provide the Dutch East India Company (DEIC) fleets with fresh produce, water and wine for their long voyages to the East Indies and Europe. After the small land grants along the Amsel (now the Liesbeeck) River on the slopes of Table Mountain were made to the first nine Free Burghers in 1657, more vines were planted. Barely two years later, on 2 February 1659, the first wine was produced at the Cape. By 1680 governor Simon van der Stel planted more than 100,000 vines in the Constantia valley. After the French king Louis XIV revoked the Edict of Nantes, some 150 Huguenots and their families came to the Cape and from 1688 were given land grants, primarily in the Upper Berg River valley. These Protestant refugees brought with them the knowledge of viticulture, which helped to promote and advance the economic prosperity of the Cape. From 1761, Constantia regularly exported red and white wines to Europe.

Following the prosperity that the 18th century brought to the Cape, farmsteads, originally simple and basic utilitarian, acquired gables – the earliest dated from the mid-18th century. These gables, both front and back gables as well as end gables, were usually decorated with plaster elements. However, two farmsteads stood out as the idealised farmsteads, i.e. Constantia and Vergelegen. During the latter part of the 18th century, Cape Town was known as “Little Paris”.

Unesco WHS tentative list ref:  6049

I visited the cape winelands (the area around Stellenbosch) in 2012 – saw some beautiful farm estate buildings.

From my collection

I’m not sure yet if these exact buildings would be included in the site, but they are good examples of the type of homestead described.

Drakenstein valley – a classic Cape Dutch style homestead
Swellendam, Cape Privince. This historic property was built in 1746 and is now a national monument.

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Barberton Makhonjwa Mountains

Brief description

Situated in north-eastern South Africa, the site comprises 40% of the Barberton Greenstone Belt, one of the world’s oldest geological structures. The Barberton Makhonjwa Mountains represents the best-preserved succession of volcanic and sedimentary rock dating back 3.6 to 3.25 billion years, when the first continents were starting to form on the primitive Earth. It features meteor-impact fallback breccias resulting from the impact of meteorites formed just after the Great Bombardment (4.6 to 3.8 billion years ago).

Unesco WHS list ref:  1575

I have never visited this site.

From my collection

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ǂKhomani Cultural Landscape

Brief description

Located at the border with Botswana and Namibia in the northern part of the country, coinciding with the Kalahari Gemsbok National Park (KGNP). The large expanse of sand contains evidence of human occupation from the Stone Age to the present and is associated with the culture of the ǂKhomani San people and the strategies that allowed them to adapt to harsh desert conditions. They developed a specific ethnobotanical knowledge, cultural practices and a worldview related to the geographical features of their environment. The ǂKhomani Cultural Landscape bears testimony to the way of life that prevailed in the region and shaped the site over thousands of years.

Unesco WHS list ref:  1545

I have never visited this site.

From my collection

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Maloti-Drakensberg Park

Brief description

A transboundary site composed of the uKhahlamba Drakensberg National Park in South Africa and the Sehlathebe National Park in Lesotho. The site has exceptional natural beauty in its soaring basaltic buttresses, incisive dramatic cutbacks, and golden sandstone ramparts as well as visually spectacular sculptured arches, caves, cliffs, pillars and rock pools. The site’s diversity of habitats protects a high level of endemic and globally important plants. The site harbours endangered species such as the Cape and the bearded vulture. Lesotho’s Sehlabathebe National Park also harbours the Maloti minnow, a critically endangered fish species only found in this park. This spectacular natural site contains many caves and rock-shelters with the largest and most concentrated group of paintings in Africa south of the Sahara. They represent the spiritual life of the San people, who lived in this area over a period of 4,000 years.

Unesco WHS list ref:  985

I have never visited this site.

From my collection

south-africa-drakensberg

south-africa-drakensberg-cave-paintings

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Fossil Hominid Sites of South Africa

Brief description

The Taung Skull Fossil Site, part of the extension to the site inscribed in 1999, is the place where in 1924 the celebrated Taung Skull – a specimen of the species Australopithecus africanus – was found. Makapan Valley, also in the site, features in its many archaeological caves traces of human occupation and evolution dating back some 3.3 million years. The area contains essential elements that define the origin and evolution of humanity. Fossils found there have enabled the identification of several specimens of early hominids, more particularly of Paranthropus, dating back between 4.5 million and 2.5 million years, as well as evidence of the domestication of fire 1.8 million to 1 million years ago.

Unesco WHS list ref: 915

I have never visited this site.

From my collection

south-africa-maropeng

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iSimangaliso Wetland Park

Brief description

The ongoing fluvial, marine and aeolian processes in the site have produced a variety of landforms, including coral reefs, long sandy beaches, coastal dunes, lake systems, swamps, and extensive reed and papyrus wetlands. The interplay of the park’s environmental heterogeneity with major floods and coastal storms and a transitional geographic location between subtropical and tropical Africa has resulted in exceptional species diversity and ongoing speciation. The mosaic of landforms and habitat types creates breathtaking scenic vistas. The site contains critical habitats for a range of species from Africa’s marine, wetland and savannah environments.

Unesco WHS list ref:  914

I have never visited this site.

From my collection

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Robben Island

Brief description

Robben Island was used at various times between the 17th and 20th centuries as a prison, a hospital for socially unacceptable groups and a military base. Its buildings, particularly those of the late 20th century such as the maximum security prison for political prisoners, witness the triumph of democracy and freedom over oppression and racism.

Unesco WHS list ref:  916

I have never visited this site, although I did see it on the horizon during a visit to Cape Town! Maybe one day I’ll go back and have time to visit.

From my collection

south-africa-robben-island

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Cards available from this site – scans to be added.

Mapungubwe Cultural Landscape

Brief description

Mapungubwe is set hard against the northern border of South Africa, joining Zimbabwe and Botswana. It is an open, expansive savannah landscape at the confluence of the Limpopo and Shashe rivers. Mapungubwe developed into the largest kingdom in the sub-continent before it was abandoned in the 14th century. What survives are the almost untouched remains of the palace sites and also the entire settlement area dependent upon them, as well as two earlier capital sites, the whole presenting an unrivalled picture of the development of social and political structures over some 400 years.

Unesco WHS list ref:  1099

I have never visited this site.

From my collection

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Cape Floral Region Protected Areas

Brief description

The property is located at the south-western extremity of South Africa. It is one of the world’s great centres of terrestrial biodiversity. The extended property includes national parks, nature reserves, wilderness areas, State forests and mountain catchment areas. These elements add a significant number of endemic species associated with the Fynbos vegetation, a fine-leaved sclerophyllic shrubland adapted to both a Mediterranean climate and periodic fires, which is unique to the Cape Floral Region.

Unesco WHS list ref:  1007

I have never visited this site.

From my collection

south-africa-cape-floral

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Vredefort Dome

Brief description

Vredefort Dome, approximately 120 km south-west of Johannesburg, is a representative part of a larger meteorite impact structure, or astrobleme. Dating back 2,023 million years, it is the oldest astrobleme yet found on Earth. With a radius of 190 km, it is also the largest and the most deeply eroded. Vredefort Dome bears witness to the world’s greatest known single energy release event, which had devastating global effects including, according to some scientists, major evolutionary changes.

Unesco WHS list ref:  1162

I have never visited this site.

From my collection

I don’t have any cards to represent this site yet.

Cards to swap

No spare cards available from this site.