Archaeotourism (also called archaeological tourism) is one of the oldest tourism niches people have visited archaeological sites for centuries. A question that arises is whether less well-known archaeological sites have potential as archaeotourism destinations. Therefore, the main aim of this study is to determine whether Wonderboom Nature Reserve in South Africa has potential as an archaeotourism destination. To determine the potential of the Reserve as such a destination, the attractions of seven archaeotourism sites are discussed four World Heritage Sites and three less well-known archaeological sites based on a literature study. These sites are popular because they offer tourists interesting events and edutainment. Some contribute to nationhood and identity, and have aesthetic value and/or religious meaning. Some have personal significance, and offer mystery, nostalgia or adventure. In some cases, Google Street View is available. In respect of Wonderboom Nature Reserve, a sample of 35 visitors to the Reserve were interviewed in 2015 to gauge their perceptions of the site, using semi-structured interviews. Based on the findings of the literature study and the results of the interviews, the study concludes that Wonderboom Nature Reserve does have potential to be an archaeotourism destination. This conclusion is based on the reasons for which people visit World Heritage and less well-known archaeological sites. For Wonderboom Nature Reserve, it is clear that people visit the site for the Day of the Vow event, and for the four main attractions (Fort Wonderboompoort, the Wonderboom tree, the waterfall, and caves). Some come for nostalgic reasons, others for the various activities the Reserve offers, such as hiking. It is also a sacred site for the Southern Ndebele. Some visitors claimed that they wanted to search for the fabled Kruger millions on the site. The Reserve's rich historical and archaeological resources are also an attraction. However, for Wonderboom Nature Reserve to reach its full potential, this study concludes with a few recommendations, namely better maintenance and proper promotion of the site. Route markings need to be improved. This study is important because scholars often ignore less well-known archaeological sites and their potential contribution towards tourism.
Dissertation (MHCS)--University of Pretoria, 2017.