Artsy attractions around South Africa July 24th, 2018
Artsy attractions around South Africa
South Africa is a place that beckons to many tourists. It has gorgeous beaches for those who enjoy sunning themselves on the sand, diverse mountain ranges for avid hikers and lush greenery for nature lovers.
However, not all who travel here are looking for outdoor adventures, some are in pursuit of more artistic and cultural experiences. Below are some of the most unusual and exciting ‘artsy’ attractions around South Africa, perfect for those who enjoy the creative side of life.
Owl House, Nieu Bethesda
Helen Martins, a renowned artist, built the Owl House in an attempt to bring ‘colour and life’ into her world after becoming disillusioned with her situation. It was constructed in the 1940s and one of the most notable features is the diverse array of sculptures that fill the garden.
Over a period of 10 years, Martins and her assistant created a stunning display of owls, camels, sphinxes, acrobats, pilgrims and Buddhas made of cement, wire and glass. The inspiration for many of the sculptures was drawn from the poetic works of Iranian poet Omar Khayyam and writer William Blake. The Owl House was declared a national monument in 1989 and visiting the museum is a treat for anyone who enjoys quirky and ethereal art.
Namakwaland Museum, Springbok
If you happen to be visiting the Northern Cape, make sure that the next stop off after unpacking your luggage at the Springbok Hotel is the Namakwaland Museum. A former Springbok synagogue has been converted into a museum showcasing quirky bric-a-brac from the town and surrounds.
One of the major features of the Namakwaland Museum is the matchstick replica of the immense church in the dusty town of Pella. Here you will find items showing the history of the town of Springbok, while next door lies the empty Dutch Reformed church. Much of the accommodation in Springbok will be located in close proximity of one of the town’s attractions, such as this quirky museum, making it easy to stop off and peruse on a lazy afternoon.
Adam’s Calendar, Mpumalanga
Adam’s Calendar is a place shrouded in mystery. It was discovered in 2003 by South African pilot Johan Heine, who crashed into the mountainside and noticed the monolithic five-ton dolomite stones sticking out of the ground, with a circle behind them.
It has been said that it is the ‘oldest stone structure in the world’, possibly made by a vanished civilisation. You can take part in a group tour to this enchanting site, but be prepared for a hike. You can also visit the Stone Circle Museum, a museum that is dedicated to tools and artifacts from ancient civilisations in the same area as Adam’s calendar. It is the perfect trip for anyone interested in the history of the world.
The Big Pineapple, Eastern Cape
Situated in the town of Bathurst is the world’s largest pineapple. It stands 17 metres tall and houses a curio shop housing all sorts of pineapple related products such as jams, juices, puzzles and gifts.
It is dedicated to the history of pineapple production in the area. In the 18th century, farmers in the area had struggled to grow crops successfully until they began to plant pineapples. You can spend the day walking the three storeys of the Big Pineapple, looking out over the stunning scenery and the stop off for a delicious cup of coffee or a meal in the restaurant in a historical stone settler building on the grounds.
The Indian Quarter, Durban
Durban is home to many unique cultures, one of which is the Indian culture. In the Indian Quarter in Durban, you will find an exciting array of stores selling spices, clothing and curios as well as a stunning building to photograph, the Juma Musjid Mosque which is reputed to be the largest in the Southern hemisphere.
If you are looking for a bustling and eclectic atmosphere, the Indian Quarter is the place to go. You might not be able to find Indian-styled cushions and bedspreads here anymore, but you will find other bargains on clothing and spices that are sure to put a smile on your dial. One of the first things you should seek out in this busy marketplace is a bunny chow, a traditional South African-Indian dish made up of deliciously aromatic curry and a hollowed out bread loaf.
Seek out adventure
Having an ‘artistic’ holiday can be just as exciting as having an adventurous one. You can experience the culture of a community and see sights that are often not commonly visited during South African vacations. Spend time gazing at the weird and wonderful sculptures of the Owl House or visit the quaint Namakwaland Museum in Springbok. If you are interested in ancient history then a visit to Adam’s Calendar in Mpumalanga or the Big Pineapple in Bathurst is an ideal stop off. Wherever you go, you will find something uniquely South African to enjoy.