Recent Community Reviews

1013 of the 1052 WHS have been reviewed by visitors of this website

My Son (Chris W., 24-10-2016)

I visited My Son Sanctuary in July 2016 as a (half) day trip from Hoi An. I had seen the temples at Angkor Wat but my wife and kids didn't see anything similar yet. For them it was the first time to see "this kind" of structures. I arrived before 10AM; allmost no other visitors

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Old Town Lunenburg (Jay T, 23-10-2016)

Old Town Lunenburg is a fantastic representative of Atlantic Canadian fishing villages on the World Heritage Site list. Buildings in the town date back to the 1700s, when Britain established the village. Lunenburg's fortunes were directly tied to its role in shipbuilding for the cod-rich fisheries of the Grand Banks, offshore from Nova Scotia and Newfoundland

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Komodo National Park (Michael Novins, 22-10-2016)

I flew from Jakarta, where I spent the month of November 1997 on business, to Komodo Airport in Labuan Bajo on Flores. I had not made any prior arrangements, but was met at the airport by several fishermen and hired one to take me to Komodo Island, one of the three islands that form Komodo National Park

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Vilnius (Klaus Freisinger, 21-10-2016)

Even though it doesn't have any standout attractions, Vilnius is a very pretty and clean city with a well-preserved old town and a large number of historic buildings. The many Renaissance and Baroque buildings and Catholic churches make it seem like a classic Central European city similar to Krakow, rather than a Nordic, Protestant city like Tallinn

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Giant's Causeway (Klaus Freisinger, 21-10-2016)

I visited the Giant's Causeway as a daytrip by train and bus from (London)derry via Coleraine. You arrive at a huge new visitor centre, and then you can set off to explore the formations on your own or with a guide (quite useful for the background info on the history, nature and geology)

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Blog: WHS #618: Drakensberg

The Maloti Drakensberg Transboundary World Heritage Site covers hundreds of km’s of a mountain range on the border between South Africa and Lesotho, with protected areas on both sides. The whole region is known for its beautiful mountain landscape and abundant rock art. It’s especially popular with South Africans (pensioners mostly) for weekend getaways.

Looking down into the Sani Pass

Traditionally, the South African Drakensberg mountains are divided into 3 parts: southern, central and northern. I started my visit from the south, with the quaint English-style town of Himeville as my base. From the neighbouring town of Underberg daily 4x4 tours leave to travel the Sani Pass. This is a steep gravel mountain road that ends in Lesotho at an altitude of 2876 m. This may be one of the last years to experience this soft adventure, as the South Africans are planning to pave the road up to the top (the Lesotho side is already paved). This would deprive the tourist operators in Underberg from their steady income. But it may have a positive side also, opening up more creative tours besides just driving up and down.

Touristy as it might be, I still enjoyed the trip up the Sani Pass. It has the great vistas that the Drakensberg mountains are known for, with rolling green(ish) hills and a heavy-looking basaltic top layer. It will give you a ‘country tick’ as well as it ends up in Lesotho – but we did not see more of it than the border post and the inside of a ‘traditional’ hut. On the way back we did encounter several Basotho herdsmen and their longhaired sheep on their weekly trip to the market in neighbouring South Africa.

San Rock Art at Main Caves, Giant's Castle

European tour groups and individual tourists generally only spend 1 full day in these mountains, but I had planned for 3. On my second day I focused on the Rock Art. The Central Drakensberg area has the best locations for that. I drove northwards on the N3, and took the turn-off to Giant’s Castle near Mooirivier. Not far from the turn-off you can also follow a road to Kamberg, home to the Game Pass Shelter (possibly the best example of San Rock Art). I was a bit pressed for time and worried about the road conditions though, and choose the safe option of Giant’s Castle. This still is a 56km drive, mostly paved but not all. Giant’s Castle now is a resort/lodge, where you can turn up as a day visitor and visit the Main Caves.

Guided tours are available here every hour, a ticket has to be bought beforehand at the reception of the lodge. You’re then supposed to walk to the caves by yourself (some 35 minutes). I enjoyed this little hike, it goes through a very pretty canyon with a river. Many more trails are available for people staying overnight at the lodge. Near the caves you have to wait at a fence until the tour starts right on the hour. Only one other visitor showed up beside me, and we were taken along the 2 main caves by a guide. The rock art is painted in different colours here (yellow, red, white, black) and shows many elands. Depicted also are people hunting and dancing, and shamans watching. It includes an example of Contact Rock Art, in the form of two British military men with a gun. The British fought fierce battles here with the San people, eventually leading to the expulsion of the latter.

Northern Drakensberg Mountains

During my final 2 nights in the Drakensbergen I stayed at the Greenfire Drakensberg Lodge, just outside the Royal Natal National Park – in the far north of the WH area. This is a lovely area to relax and do some leisurely hikes. I saw more primitive rock art here, and enjoyed the encounters with fierce-looking elands. 

Published 22 October 2016 Leave a Comment

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