Preserve and protect.
Geoheritage aims to capture, preserve, interpret and promote the essence of South Africa’s distinctive landscapes which are united by geology, topography, culture and history, thereby creating inspirational destinations which transcend internal and international borders.
In striving to fulfil these aims, the Geoheritage Committee will engage synergistically with a wide range of national and international players, agencies and processes including government, grassroots communities, the private sector, and NGOs, amongst others, with an overarching goal of enriching South Africa’s tourism offering and boosting the value of geo-tourism to the regional economy.’
Geoheritage includes South Africa’s iconic (and sometimes unique) landscapes, its mining history, and its record of scientific discovery in the Earth sciences. Continental Drift, now unified within the theory plate tectonics, was first proposed by aworld-famouss South African geologist, Alex du Toit, long before it was accepted as fact by the rest of the world.
Key components of Geoheritage include:
Identification, documentation and protection of important geological places and sites;
Mining heritage, mineral collections and application to future economic development of the country’s mineral resources;
South Africa’s natural landscapes and landforms, all controlled by underlying geological formations and processes;
Outreach and education in the Earth’s sciences to teach our citizens about planet processes;
Tourism and in particular ‘geotourism’; and accessibility of geosites and geological terrains to tourism; and
The role of important geological sites and rock and mineral collections in education at the professional level.
One of the roles of the GSSA Geoheritage portfolio is (together with organisations including organisations such as the Council for Geoscience and SAHRA, the South African Heritage Resource agency) to identify special and unique geological features and to serve as South Africa’s knowledge repository for all aspects of geoheritage. In addition, the GSSA intends to inform and influence regulatory decisions concerning issues of geoheritage, to assist in the execution of high priority geoheritage projects, and to provide public education and outreach on geoheritage matters. Geoheritage should unquestionably be a cornerstone of any National Heritage Strategy, given the economic and scientific importance of South African geology, and its impact on South Africa’s collective culture and economy.
THE CAPE GEOSITES BOOKLET SERIES
These booklets are part of an educational series that was compiled by the Geoheritage Subcommittee of the Western Cape Branch of the Geological Society of South Africa and are downloadable free of charge from the Branch website. Descriptive plaques were placed at most of these sites during a programme sponsored by SANLAM in the 1990s. Click on a site to download its booklet.