• Bitten by the whale watching bug Bitten by the whale watching bug We don’t realise how lucky we are in South Africa, and in particular the Western Cape, to have the mightiest of the marine mammals visit our coastline between every year ...
  • The Whale Trail The Whale Trail The Whale Trail is not a new trail, having been around since about 2002, but it has become extremely popular. It is truly a unique experience, perhaps comparable with ...
  • 10 Pamper-Perfect Spas in South Africa 10 Pamper-Perfect Spas in South Africa Combine your trip to South Africa with a relaxing, revitalising visit to a health spa and experience Africa at it's finest. Our favourite 10 Pamper-Perfect Spas in South Africa are ...
  • Locals share their favourite getaways Locals share their favourite getaways We ask 30 local South Africans to share their favourite holiday destinations and getaways with us. From the more popular destinations like Knysna and the Kruger Park to ...
  • The Oude Skip hike The Oude Skip hike The Oude Skip walk shares portions of its hike with the larger Karbonkelberg Traverse, which is roughly seven hours of hard walk from Hout Bay harbour to Llandudno ...
  • 10 Amazing Game Lodges 10 Amazing Game Lodges South Africa is world renowned for her game reserves and wildlife. The lodges which allow us to experience these in luxury are no less awe inspiring. Our favourites are ...
  • 101 Things to Do with Kids in Cape Town 101 Things to Do with Kids in Cape Town As much as your kids will tell you they can’t wait for the school holidays, the words "I’m bored" inevitably cross their lips. Our "101 things to do with kids in Cape Town" will ...
  • "World's most beautiful Cities" "World's most beautiful Cities" Open space makes Cape Town special. Renowned English sea navigator Sir Francis Drake once referred to Cape Town as the fairest cape in the world. The city houses the ...

Find Accommodation in South Africa
Subscribe to our Feed
Posted on: Monday, 7 October 2013

Snapshot South Africa – 20 interesting and informative facts

Send to Kindle

South Africa is vast – 1 233 404 km² – making it the 25th largest country in the world, twice the size of Texas, and five times the size of Great Britain.

South Africa has the second highest waterfall in the world (the Tugela Falls)

And the third largest canyon in the world (Blyde River Canyon).


Blyde River Canyon, South Africa
Photograph: Blyde River Canyon, Mpumalanga, South Africa


We also lay claim to the longest wine route in the worldRoute 62 through the Klein Karoo, from Cape Town to Port Elizabeth – 850km.

South Africa’s wine tourism was rated the best developed in the World by International Wine Review, 2012. (see South Africa’s Wine Estates)

South Africa has 8 World Heritage Sites – iSimangaliso Wetland Park, Robben Island, Cradle of Humankind, uKhahlamba Drakensberg Park, Mapungubwe Cultural Landscape, Cape Floral Region, Vredefort Dome and the Richtersveld Cultral and Botanical Landscape.

The Kruger National Park is the biggest game reserve in South Africa and forms part of the UNESCO Kruger to Canyons Biosphere.

South Africa protects as much as 75% of the world’s black rhino population and around 90% of the white rhino population. [1]

The iSimangaliso Wetland Park is so biodiverse, it supports more species of animal than Kruger despite being only the third largest park in the country.

Hermanus has some of the best landbased whale watching in the world (South Africa’s Cape coast is visited annually by the southern right whale which comes to our shores to mate and calve).


Whale watching Cape Town
Photograph: Best land-based Whale Watching in the World


South Africa has two mainland penguin colonies, one at Boulders Beach in Cape town, and the other at Stony Point in Betty’s Bay (see previous articles: Boulders Beach Penguins and Stony Point Penguins)

The world’s smallest butterfly, the Dwarf Blue (Oraidium barberae), lives in northern KwaZulu-Natal and parts of the Free State, Eastern Cape and Western Cape up to Namaqualand.

South Africa incorporates two landlocked, independent countries – the Kingdom of Lesotho, and the Kingdom of Swaziland.

South Africa has 11 official languages – English, the most widely used, Afrikaans, and 9 native African languages that include Zulu and Xhosa (see south african languages).

80 per cent of the population is black, 9 percent is of mixed race, 8.9 percent is white and 2.5 percent is Indian. [2]

As many as 60 per cent of white South Africans speak Afrikaans as their mother tongue, and it is the first language of over 70% of coloured South Africans. [3]

South Africa’s constitution is one of the most liberal in the world – it enshrines a wide scope of human rights protected by an independent judiciary.


Addo Elephant Park
Photograph: Elephants at Addo Elephant Park


Tourism fast facts: Cape Town was voted the Favourite City Worldwide for 2012 by Telegraph readers in the UK, Table Mountain is one of the New 7 Wonders of Nature, Johannesburg was placed in the top 10 of the world’s Most Creative Cities in 2009 and is set to be the  most popular destination in Africa according to the third annual MasterCard Global Destination Cities Index, six of South Africa’s hotels fall in the world’s best 50 voted by the readers of Travel and Leisure magazine.

The Bloomberg’s Currency Scorecard found the South African Rand was the second best performing currency against the US Dollar between 2007 and 2011.

A total of 7,535,498 tourists visited South Africa between January and October 2012, an increase of 10.4% from 2011.

South Africa has big everything: the largest bird (ostrich), the largest land mammal (elephant), the tallest animal (giraffe), the largest fish (whale shark), the largest antelope (eland), the fastest land mammal (cheetah) and the heaviest flying bird (khori bustard).

The Vredefort Dome is one of the oldest meteor scars in the world.

Useful Travel Planning Pages:
South Africa Hotels
South Africa Accommodation
South Africa’s Attractions


Leopard in the Kruger National Park


1. perc.org/sites/default/files/Saving%20African%20Rhinos%20final.pdf
2. ibtimes.com/south-african-census-reveals-nation-deeply-divided-race-income-856345
3. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Afrikaans

Wanda Coustas


Wanda Coustas has written in one form or another for 10 years, seven of them as a copyblogger. She has travelled the Western Cape extensively and the rest of the country in protracted road trips that have given her both joy and an ongoing relish for experiencing what she writes about first-hand. She is a trained opera singer, poet, eurythmy dancer, philosopher, and bee whisperer.

Related Posts:


What Others are Saying

1 comment about Snapshot South Africa – 20 interesting and informative facts
  1. October 8th, 2013 at 09:26
    Christina says:

    Very Cool, I love this post!