Snapshot South Africa – 20 interesting and informative facts
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).
Photograph: Blyde River Canyon, Mpumalanga, South Africa
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. 
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.
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)
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. 
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. 
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.
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.
- South Africa still a Favourite with Travelers according to TripAdvisor
- Did You Know? 25 Fascinating Facts about South Africa
- 10 Reasons Why People Visit South Africa
- Why you should visit South Africa NOW
- Whale Photographs