50 Amazing and Interesting Facts about South Africa | Amazing Facts 4U
Land & Geography
- The official name of South Africa is the Republic of South Africa. The country is located at the southern end of Africa.
- Population of South Africa is around 55 million.
- South Africa shares borders on the north with Namibia, Botswana and Zimbabwe; Mozambique and Swaziland on the eastern part; the rest is sea.
- Lesotho and Swaziland are countries situated within the South Africa.
- The largest city in South Africa is Johannesburg. Other major cities include Soweto and Durban.
- South Africa’s coastline stretches over 2500 km (1553 miles) in length.
- The longest river in South Africa is the Orange River which also forms part of the border between Namibia from South Africa.
- Tugela Falls in South Africa are the second-highest waterfalls in the world.
Flora & Fauna
- South Africa is home to a wide variety of animals including giraffes, hippopotamus, leopards and lions.
- South Africa naturally hosts four of the seven fastest mammals in the world, namely the wildebeest, the African lion, the springbok and the cheetah.
- Table Mountain itself is noted to have over 1500 different species of plant life which is more than England, Wales, Ireland and Scotland combined.
- The oldest remains of modern humans were found in South Africa and are well over 160,000 years’ old
- The Karoo region in the Western Cape is home to some of the best fossils of early dinosaurs. In fact, about 80% of the mammalian fossils found to date have been found in the Karoo.
- Cave paintings have been found in South Africa that date to around 75000 years ago.
- There are more than 2000 shipwrecks off the South African coast, most dating back at least 500 years.
Places / Architecture
- South Africa is home to the oldest meteor scar in the world the Vredefort Dome in a town called Parys which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is believed to be 222 million years old.
- Adams Calender is a stone structure found in 2005 in Mpumalanga which is a functional monolithic stone calendar dating back to about 7,50, 000 years. Amazing fact is that the location of the Adams calendar is along the same longitudinal axis as the Great pyramid and the great Zimbabwe ruins.
- Table Mountain in Cape Town is believed to be one of the oldest mountains in the world and one of the planet’s 12 main energy centers, radiating magnetic, electric or spiritual energy.
- Swartberg displays technicolored sandstone cliffs and houses the Kango Caves, one of the most amazing cave systems in the world. The Sudwala Caves in South Africa is the oldest known caves in the world.
- South Africa boasts of seven world heritage sites.
- The most scenic drives are Chapman’s Peak and the Garden Route in Cape town.
- Included in the Cape Winelands region is Route 62 which is considered the longest wine route in the world.
- The world’s largest themed resort hotel in the world, The Palace of the Lost City is in South Africa. Surrounding the Palace is a 25-hectare manmade botanical jungle with almost 2 million plants, trees and shrubs. It is the largest building project undertaken in the southern hemisphere.
- The world’s best land-based whale-watching spot is located in Hermanus in the Western Cape.
- The South African Rovos Rail is considered the most luxurious train in the world.
- Chris Hani-Baragwaneth Hospital in Soweto is the biggest hospital in the world.
- Stellenbosch University was the first African university in the world to design and launch a micro satellite.
- The University of South Africa (UNISA) is a pioneer in tertiary distance education. It is the largest correspondence university in the world, with 250,000 students. The first MBA program outside of the USA was started by the University of Pretoria in 1949.
- The Western Deep Levels is the world’s deepest mine at 3777 meters.
People Customs & Culture
- South Africa is quite a multi-ethnic and multicultural society with one of the most diversified cultures and languages in the world. There are 11 official languages recognized in the constitution: English, Afrikaans, Ndebele, Pedi, Sotho, Venda, Xhosa, Swazi, Tsonga, Tswana and Zulu. There is no other country in the world that has as much official languages.
- South Africa has 45 million active cell phones subscribers i.e. 90 mobiles per 100 population placing it among the top 5 countries with the highest cell phone penetration.
- South Africa is the only country to have 3 capital cities: Pretoria is the Executive Capital, Cape Town the Legislative Capital and Bloemfontein the judicial Capital separate for each branch of its government.
- South Africa has the world’s second oldest air force, established in 1920.
- South Africa followed apartheid policies enforcing a system of segregation from 1948 until 1994. Nelson Mandela was elected president in 1994 after South Africa’s first universal elections.
- The country is the first, and up till date, the only country to build its own nuclear weapons and to voluntarily dismantle its nuclear weapons program. No other country in history has done so.
- Despite the country’s status as a democratic republic, the Province of KwaZulu-Natal has a monarchy, specially provided for by the Constitution. Goodwill Zwelithini kaBhekuzulu is the King of the Zulu Nation, has 27 kids and 6 wives and lives like a King!
Economy & Corporates
- The South African currency is Rand.
- South Africa accounts for almost 25% of the GDP of the entire African continent, with an economy more than twice the size of the second biggest – Algeria.
- South Africa is the only African country that is a member of the G20.
- South Africa generates two-thirds of Africa’s electricity.
- It has nearly 90% of all the platinum on earth and around 41% of all the world’s Gold! It also has the the world’s largest deposits of chrome and manganese.
- South Africa’s Cape Winelands have around 560 wineries and 4400 primary producers.
- South African brewery SABMiller ranks by volume as the largest brewing company in the world. It supplies up to 50% of China’s beer.
- There are 727 Airports found in South Africa, 143 of these airports have paved runways.
- South Africa receives about 12 million tourists a year.
- The most popular sports in South Africa are football , rugby and cricket.
- South Africa is only the second country in the world to have hosted the Football ,Cricket and Rugby World Cup!
- South Africa hosts the world’s largest individually timed cycle race (the Cape Argus Cycle Race), the world’s largest open water swim (the Midmar Mile) and the world’s largest ultra-marathon (the Comrades Marathon).
- South Africa is home to the highest commercial bungy jump in the world, called Bloukrans Bridge Bungy at 216 meters.
- The only street in the world to house two Nobel Peace prize winners is in Vilakazi Street, Soweto, South Africa. (Nelson Mandela and Archbishop Desmond Tutu).
- The first human heart transplant was performed in a Cape Town hospital in 1967 by Dr Christian Barnard.
By Amazing Facts 4U Team