Barberton Makhonjwa Mountains declared World Heritage Site

Makhonjwa Mountains, known as the Barberton Greenstone Belt in Mpumalanga, declared South Africa’s 10th World Heritage Site.

This follows news that the Portfolio Committee on Tourism welcomed declaration that Makhonjwa Mountains, known as the Barberton Greenstone Belt in Mpumalanga as South Africa’s 10th World Heritage Site.

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.

In her statement Chairperson of the Committee, Lusizo Sharon Makhubele- Mashele  said: “The Committee is ecstatic as the Makhonjwa Mountain range in Mpumalanga has met the four criteria set for natural sites, which are that a site contains superlative natural phenomena or areas of exceptional natural beauty, has outstanding examples that represent the major stages of earth’s history, is an outstanding example of significant on-going ecological and biological processes in the evolution and development of land and sea communities of plants and animals  and contains the most important natural habitats for conservation of biological diversity”.

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), World heritage sites are places of importance to cultural or natural heritage as described in the UNESCO World Heritage Convention, established in 1972.

The Barberton Makhonjwa Mountains 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).

Continued Makhubele-Mashele:” We live in a country that is resplendent in natural beauty be it the mountains, beaches or forests which makes South Africa attractive to overseas tourists and to locals alike.

We call on South African Tourism (SAT) to market all the heritage sites in South Africa as tourism is one cornerstones of developing the economy and creating jobs for local people.”

The Barberton Makhonjwa Mountains joins other declared heritage sites such as Robben Island, Mapungubwe, iSimangaliso Wetland Park, Vredefort Dome, Cradle of Humankind, Drakensberg Mountains, Sterkfontein, Richtersveld Cultural and Botanical Landscape and Cape Floral Region Protected Areas.

SAT is the agency that handles marketing for the SA Government both locally and internationally on tourism.

At the time of publishing SAT did not respond for a comment.

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