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Posted on: Monday, 7 October 2013

Snapshot South Africa – 20 interesting and informative facts

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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

 

References:
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

About 

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.

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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!