Visit these historical landmarks to learn more about SA’s history during Youth Month

The Old House Museum in Durban. Picture: Supplied

The Old House Museum in Durban. Picture: Supplied

Published Jun 10, 2024


With Youth Day and the winter school holidays fast approaching, South Africa has plenty of places, including museums, that play an invaluable role in preserving its culture, history and art for future generations to explore.

These places provide a window into the past, offering a glimpse of bygone eras that have shaped the present.

According to Shaun Lamont, Managing Director of First Group Hotels and Resorts, visiting these places provides an opportunity to do something different and museums offer a fascinating experience where history, art and learning come alive.

He also highlighted that it provides the perfect opportunity for parents to introduce their children to the wonders of South Africa’s diverse culture and history.

“It also provides a chance to spend quality time together as a family as you make lasting, magical memories,” said Lamont.

If you’re looking for fun and educational experiences with the kids, here are family-friendly places you can visit to learn about South Africa’s culture and history.

A picture that’s part of Iziko Museum’s social history collection. Picture: Supplied


If you’re planning a holiday this winter, there are plenty of options to consider. You can visit KwaMuhle Museum, to learn about the history of Durban and the apartheid era, or The Old House Museum, to explore Durban's colonial history.

There is also the Phansi Museum, which houses a spectacular collection of South African arts, crafts and traditions ,while The Natal Maritime Museum is perfect for fans of old ships, maritime history and naval artefacts.

It’s a firm favourite with kids with various vessels on display for them to explore.

The Durban Natural Science Museum is a hub for research, education, and conservation efforts and provides an understanding of the Earth’s history and biodiversity.

Kids will love the life-size dinosaurs and Dodo skeletons.


If a visit to Gqeberha is on the cards, your first stop should be at the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan Art Museum where you can admire a collection of South African art.

You can also visit the South African Air Force Museum, which is perfect for aviation enthusiasts and kids. The museum has various aircraft on display from old Harvard Trainers to a supersonic jet.

For a fun experience, Bayworld is a unique natural and cultural history museum combined with a snake park, oceanarium and a Victorian house museum.

The Red Location Museum also pays tribute to the Struggle during apartheid and you can discover the history of Port Elizabeth's South End district at South End Museum.

Art pieces at The Old House Museum. Picture: Supplied

Cape Town

If the family is planning a trip to Cape Town, visit the historic Robben Island Museum where Nelson Mandela was imprisoned.

The District Six Museum is also great a place to learn about the forced removals during apartheid, whilst the South African Museum and Planetarium is a natural history museum offering insight into South Africa's social and natural history with life-size whale casts and dinosaur exhibits for the kids.

You can also visit the Zeitz Museum of Modern Art Africa, the biggest exhibition of African art on the continent, while The Slave Lodge allows you to explore the long history of slavery in South Africa with audiovisual displays and kids’ shows on the weekend.


If you’re visiting the Drakensberg or the Midlands, the Nelson Mandela Capture Site commemorates the arrest of Nelson Mandela in 1962. There’s also the Natal Railway Museum, which is perfect for train enthusiasts.

The KwaZulu-Natal Museum is also home to several of the country’s most important heritage collections whilst the Voortrekker-Msunduzi Museum provides an opportunity to learn about the history of the Great Trek and our multicultural history.

The family can also explore Fort Nottingham Museum, which was originally built to protect early settlers and also displays San bushmen artefacts.

Art and cultural artefacts at The Phansi Museum. Picture: Supplied


Johannesburg is also a historical and cultural gem to visit with the kids. You can start with a trip to Constitutional Hill and learn about South Africa’s journey to democracy.

Constitutional Hill is a living museum and is home to the Constitutional Court, while the prison, at some time or another, incarcerated several world-famous men and women, including Fatima Meer, Albertina Sisulu, Mahatma Gandhi, Joe Slovo and Winnie Madikizela-Mandela as well as her former husband, the late president Nelson Mandela.

Take a trip to Soweto and visit the Nelson Mandela National Museum, also known as Mandela House.

The museum serves as a constant reminder of his memory, spirit and legacy and offers visitors insight into the life of Madiba’s days spent living in Soweto.

Your final stop can be at Hector Pieterson Memorial and Museum which pays tribute to Hector Pieterson and those who gave their lives in the struggle for freedom during the 1976 student uprising in Soweto.

This museum is a symbol of the youth’s resistance to apartheid.