South Africa has eight UNESCO World Heritage sites. These are places such as a forest, mountain, lake, island, desert, monument, building, complex, or city that is listed by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) as of special cultural, natural or physical significance. One of the South African World Heritage Sites is the Cape Floral Kingdom. The Cape Floristic Region, the smallest of the six recognised floral kingdoms of the world, is home to more than 9 000 plant species of which 69 percent are endemic. Much of this is known as Fynbos.
The Cape Floral Kingdom was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2004 and eight protected areas in the Western and Eastern Cape were identified to represent this heritage site. The eight are Table Mountain National Park, Cederberg Wilderness Area, Groot Winterhoek Wilderness Area, Boland Mountain Complex (Limietberg Nature Reserve, Jonkershoek Nature Reserve, Assegaaibosch Nature Reserve, Hottentots Holland Nature Reserve, Kogelberg Nature Reserve), De Hoop Nature Reserve, Boosmansbos Wilderness Area, Swartberg Complex (Swartberg Nature Reserve, Gamkapoort Nature Reserve, Towerkop Nature Reserve) and off cause the Baviaanskloof Mega Reserve. There is talk going around currently that the Southern Cape's Afromontane forests are being considered for inclusion in this site. If it does get approved then a large part of the Garden Route National Park will then also be included in the site.
The Baviaanskloof Mega Reserve includes a cluster of formal protected areas totaling 500,000 hectares. Part of this is the 184 385 ha Baviaanskloof Nature Reserve - the third largest protected area in South Africa. The Mega Reserve also includes the Groendal Nature Reserve and Formosa Nature Reserve and encompasses private land mostly used for stock farming.
The other South African UNESCO World Heritage Sites are:
- The Fossil Hominid Sites of Sterkfontein, Swartkrans, Komdraai and environs
- Mapungubwe Cultural Landscape
- Richtersveld Cultural and Botanical Landscape
- Robben Island
- iSimangaliso Wetland Park
- Vredefort Dome
- uKhahlamba / Drakensberg Park