There certainly are many things to divide us, but there is one aspect of Africa that can’t be argued over our natural heritage. Proof of that can be found in the amount of UNESCO World Heritage Sites that we have spread out around our continent.
Here are a few top World Heritage sites around Africa that will allow a moment to appreciate our continent’s beauty and how privileged we really are to call it home.
1. Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, Uganda
This isolated forest is the most diverse in East Africa, with more than 160 species of trees and 100 species of ferns. It gets its name from having a very dense cover of herbs, vines and shrubs, with steep ridges and slippery valleys. The terrain is difficult to explore, giving it a truly adventurous side.
Appreciate this: More than half of the world’s Mountain Gorilla population can be found here and you can go on a gorilla trekking expedition to observe them and see just how closely we’re related.
2. iSimangaliso Wetland Park, South Africa
This 332 000 hectare park is South Africa’s first listed World Heritage Site and stretches from St. Lucia, along with the East Coast and all the way to the border of Mozambique. The area boasts three major lake systems, eight interlinking ecosystems and about 220km of beaches.
Appreciate this: Here you’ll find most of the country’s remaining swamp forests and coastal dunes that are about 25 000 years old.
3. Old Towns of Djenné, Mali
Situated in Mali, these towns have been inhabited since as early as 250 B.C. They consist of four towns that are built almost entirely out of river mud. The market centre in Djenne was a very important link in the trans-Sahara gold trade of the 15th and 16th centuries. Certainly UNESCO standards.
Appreciate this: In Djenne, you’ll find the largest mud-built structure in the world, The Grande Mosque. It needs to be re-plastered every year because the mud is washed off a little every time it rains.
4. Rainforests of Atsinanana, Madagascar
This vast site comprises six national parks spread along the eastern side of the island. The island separated itself more than 60 million years ago and since then the plants and animals have evolved in isolation. These forests have an incredibly high level of biodiversity and host the island’s rather unique ecosystems.
Appreciate this: This is the only place in the world where the Lemur is found – 25 species of Lemur, to be exact.
5. Great Zimbabwe National Monument, Zimbabwe
These ruins bear a unique testimony to the lost civilisation of the Shona, between the 11th and 15th centuries. It’s an ancient stone city that covers an area of about 80 hectares and the granite dry-stone walls took immense skill to construct. Builders even managed to incorporate massive granite boulders into some of the structures.