Kruger Lowveld Tourism (KLT) is thrilled that UNESCO has declared the Barberton-Makhonjwa Mountainlands as South Africa’s 10th World Heritage Site and Mpumalanga’s first!
Long recognised by geologists as having World Heritage potential, the Barberton-Makhonjwa Mountainlands was placed on South Africa’s World Heritage Tentative List by UNESCO in June 2008.
“As the government of the Republic of South Africa‚ we would like to make a commitment that we will do all in our power to protect the integrity and the authenticity of this natural property‚” said Arts and Culture Minister Nathi Mthethwathe in a recent statement.
Sites that are deemed World Heritage Sites are recognised as having global historical or environmental significance‚ may signify a phenomenal achievement of humanity or reveal ancient civilisations. To be accepted onto the list‚ a country must meet stringent criteria and show how the site will be conserved.
The mountains in Mpumalanga are thought to be one of the oldest sites on Earth‚ with its volcanic rocks estimated to be between 3.2 and 3.6-billion-years-old. The mountains are also believed to contain the oldest signs of life‚ with a micro fossil of bacteria discovered there that is estimated to be 3.1-billion-years-old.
“Along with their exceptional geology‚ the area is rich in wild plants‚ animals and beautiful scenery,” the Minister said.
He added that prior to the announcement, South Africa was tied with Morocco and Egypt which each had nine World Heritage Sites.
“Congratulations to the team which worked hard to make this dream for Barberton and the entire province a reality,” says Oupa Pilane, Chairman of the KLT Committee.
“Mpumalanga’s World Heritage Site will ensure that the KLT will be able to do even more to boost domestic and global tourism to the Kruger Lowveld region,” he adds.