Categories > Uncategorized

Top 10 Most Famous Landmarks in South Africa

Top 10 Most Famous Landmarks in South Africa

As it’s one of the most diverse countries in the world, you’ll have a great time exploring every nook and cranny of South Africa. We have lots of great places for you to experience, from beautiful natural spots to iconic man-made structures.

If you’re wondering which ones should be at the top of your bucket list, we’ve compiled some of our favourites here. Read on to learn more!

What are South Africa’s famous landmarks?

1. Table Mountain

1. Table Mountain
Photo by jeanvdmeulen from Pixabay
AddressMaclear’s Beacon, Cape Town, South Africa
Known ForFlat top
Operating HoursAlways open

Table Mountain’s name came from the fact that the mountain’s top looks like a common tabletop – yup, we’re not making this up. 

It’s now even hailed as one of the new Seven Wonders of the World because of this unique (unique places to visit in South Africa) feature.

But more than its stunning landscape, it’s also home to over 8,200 plant species, 80% of which are fynbos. ICYDK, that’s a distinct type of vegetation that’s only seen on the southern tip of Africa.

The mountain’s highest point is 1,086 metres above sea level, called the Maclear’s Beacon. To reach the top, you have two options: to hike or ride the cable car. 

There are around 350 trails you can choose from, to reach the peak and get a perfect panoramic view of Cape Town (is it safe to walk around Cape Town?) or the ‘Mother City’.

For the cable car, each carrier can hold up to 65 passengers. It starts from Tafelberg Road to the top of the mountain, taking around 5 minutes for the entire ride.

Ticket prices range from R50 to R380. This depends on your chosen time to visit, your age, and your trip of choice – if it’s for one way or a returning one.

2. Pinnacle Rock

2. Pinnacle Rock
Photo by jbdodane from Flickr
AddressR534, Graskop, Mpumalanga, South Africa
Known ForLarge quartzite rock
Operating Hours8:00 AM to 5:00 PM daily
RatesR17 per person

Reaching up to 30 metres in height, Pinnacle Rock’s a large quartzite rock that sprouted from the earth’s surface with no rhyme or reason. It’s a must-visit when you’re riding along the Panorama Route because of its unique appearance and breathtaking scenery.

It’s a freestanding rock that towers over the lush forest of Driekop Gorge with beautiful mountains as its backdrop. You’ll have to walk a fair bit to get a good view of the rock at different vantage points but it’s worth the sweat, we promise.

BTW, there are available bathrooms at the starting point for the hiking trail to see the Pinnacle Rock in case you need to go.

3. The Cradle of Humankind

3. The Cradle of Humankind
Photo by Olga Ernst from Wikimedia Commons
AddressR400, 1911, South Africa
Known ForFossils of ancient humans
Operating Hours9:00 AM to 5:00 PM daily
Contact+27 14 577 9000
RatesR175 for adults
R102 for kids below 14 years old
R75 for students with ID and pensioners
Free for kids below 2 years old

From the name itself, the Cradle of Humankind is a UNESCO World Heritage that houses the ancient fossils of the first signs of human life. Quite a find, we know!

In fact, you can see the preserved remains of Australopithecus here. It’s the first adult human discovered by Dr Robert Broom at Sterkfontein Caves in 1936.

What’s even more interesting is the design of the structure which is like a burial mound – staying true to its word indeed.

Its entrance is in the centre of the Sterkfontein Valley. Once you get in, you’ll uncover the remains of hominids, going back more than 3 million years ago. 

If that doesn’t pique your curiosity, we don’t know what else will.

4. Robben Island

4. Robben Island
Photo from tripadvisor.com
AddressTable Bay, Western Cape, South Africa
Known ForBeing the prison site of Nelson Mandela
Contact+27 21 413 4200
RatesR400 per adult (for locals)
R210 per child under 18 years old (for locals)
R600 per adult (for foreigners)
R310 per child under 18 years old (for foreigners)

Robben Island’s mainly popular because it’s where our former President Nelson Mandela was imprisoned for 18 years. Although he already passed in 2013, his memory of being a strong advocate for democracy and freedom still burns alive in all of us.

That’s why the island’s a must-visit for locals and foreigners alike when they’re in the Western Cape province.

There are four main tour time slots to Robben Island namely: 9:00 AM, 11:00 AM, 1:00 PM and 3:00 PM. Their respective rates are already listed above.

You’ll be riding a ferry from Nelson Mandela Gateway at the Victoria & Alfred Waterfront, taking around three and half hours to reach the island.

Pro Tip: Book a tour through Robben Island’s official site for a more convenient experience.

5. Mapungubwe Hill

5. Mapungubwe Hill
Photo by Marius Loots from Wikimedia Commons
AddressMusina, South Africa
Known ForIron Age archaeological site
Rates(For South African Citizens and Residents with ID)
R63 per adult
R31 per child
(For SADC Nationals with passport)
R126 per adult
R63 per child
(For foreign visitors)
R252 per adult
R126 per child

Mapungubwe, meaning ‘Hill of the Jackal’, was once the home of our ancestors from the Iron Age (around 1000 AD to 1300 AD). It’s found on the south bank of the Limpopo River, where the tip of South Africa, Botswana and Zimbabwe meet.

This is a flat-topped hill where the once largest kingdom in the African sub-continent used to live. Although it’s now a desolate site, it’s proof of our ancient civilization.

To visit the hill, you need to stay in one of the park-run accommodation units or tented camps around the area. Prices start at R1,480 for a cottage with two beds.

6. Constitution Hill

6. Constitution Hill
Photo from constitutionhill.org.za
Address11 Kotze Street, Braamfontein, Johannesburg, 2001, South Africa
Known ForBeing a former prison and military fort
Operating Hours9:00 AM to 5:00 PM daily
Contact +27 11 381 3100
Rates(For a highlights tour of one hour)
R120 per adult
R55 per child (5 to 17 years old)
R80 per pensioner or student with ID
Free on special national holidays
(For a full tour of two hours)
R180 per adult
R100 per child (5 to 17 years old)
R100 per pensioner or student with ID
Free on special national holidays

Declared as a National Heritage Site, Constitution Hill is more than just a simple tourist attraction to visit. It’s living proof of our country’s fight for democracy as we were once oppressed and stripped of our rights.

Although it used to be a prison and military fort, the jails are now turned into museums that are open for public viewing. There are even permanent and temporary exhibitions held here.

FYI: Tickets can be purchased online through their site or at the physical visitor centre. All transactions are cashless, by the way.

7. Union Buildings

7. Union Buildings
Photo by Hühnerauge from Flickr
AddressGovernment Avenue, Pretoria, 0002, South Africa
Known ForBeing the official seat of the South African government
Operating Hours9:00 AM to 5:00 PM daily
Contact +27 12 300 5200
RatesFree entrance fee

Looking like a modern-day acropolis, the Union Buildings is a significant landmark for all of us because it’s proof of the rich history of our nation. This is where mass protests used to happen as our people fought for freedom and their rights.

This light sandstone structure reaches up to 285 metres high with a semi-circular shape. But this design is not simply for the aesthetic, it represents the union of the formerly divided people, the English and Afrikaners.

You can easily get here, either by public transport or your private vehicle. There is a free parking area too.

BTW, you can’t go inside the inner parts of the building but you can visit the nearby statues of the late President Nelson Mandela and the first prime minister of the Union, Louis Botha.

You can also explore the lush and vast gardens in the area while you’re here.

8. The Castle of Good Hope

8. The Castle of Good Hope
Photo by Bernard Gagnon from Wikimedia Commons
AddressDarling Street & Buitenkant Street, Cape Town, 8001, South Africa
Known ForBeing the former local headquarters of the army
Operating Hours9:30 AM to 4:00 PM daily
Contact+27 21 787 1260
RatesR50 per adult

Forming a yellow star from a birds-eye view, the Castle of Good Hope aka ‘The Castle’ is the oldest colonial building in the country. But behind this bright-coloured edifice, there lies a dark story.

It was once the local headquarters of the South African Army based in the Western Cape, where our people went through armed colonial oppression.

But now, it’s home to the Castle Military Museum where you’ll see various artefacts from the past. There are even interesting events done daily like the Key Ceremony and Cannon Firing.

You can explore the place by yourself or with a guide, either way, it’s worth the adventure.

Pro Tip: Wear comfortable shoes since you’ll be walking a lot. 

9. Huguenot Memorial Monument

9. Huguenot Memorial Monument
Photo by Dewet from Wikimedia Commons
Address13 Lambrechts Road, Franschhoek, 7690, South Africa
Known ForBeing the symbol of the Huguenots’ fight for freedom
Operating Hours9:00 AM to 5:00 PM on Tuesdays to Saturdays
Closed on Sundays and Mondays
Contact+27 21 876 2598
RatesR100 per adult
R50 per child or student 

The Huguenots left France to achieve religious freedom, eventually arriving in Franschhoek or ‘the French Corner’ in Dutch. Their arrival in the country was pivotal in the improvement of various industries, particularly in textile and winery.

BTW, you’ll have to walk a fair bit to reach the monument since it’s the higher part of the town – but trust us, it’s worth the experience.

10. Afrikaans Language Monument

10. Afrikaans Language Monument
Photo by Schavda from Wikimedia Commons
AddressGabbema Doordrift Street, Paarl, 7646, South Africa
Known ForBeing the place that honors the birth of the Afrikaans language
Operating Hours8:00 AM to 8:00 PM daily
Contact+27 21 863 0543
RatesR20 for adults
R10 for Drakenstein residents with valid library cards
R10 for local students and pensioners
R10 for kids under six years old

Found in the foothills of the Paarl Mountain, The Afrikaans Language Monument (ATM) was made to commemorate the history and development of our local language. It’s a large structure offering impressive views of the surrounding area, from different angles.

Even though it has limited space, you’ll have a great time walking around the area and taking photos. Plus, they have a picnic site where you can wind down and enjoy the cool breeze.

There’s even a coffee shop within the premises so you can visit that too while you’re here.


Any other famous landmarks to add to this list? Let us know in the comments below!

Related topics