125 Things You Didn’t Know About South Africa

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Welcome to 125 of our favourite lesser-known South African facts – have a look through and see how many of these facts you know!

#01 South African Facts: Table Mountain in Cape Town Is One Of The Oldest Mountains In The World.

and one of the planet’s 12 main energy centres, radiating magnetic, electric or spiritual energy.

#02 The Cape Floral Kingdom Is One Of The World’s Six Floral Kingdoms.

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And the only one which is wholly contained within a single country.

#03 South Africa Has: Deserts, Wetlands, Grasslands, Bush, Subtropical Forests, Mountains And Escarpments.

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Some countries have deserts; some have subtropical forests, right?

#04 South Africa’s Drinking Water Is Rated 3rd Best In The World.

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For being “safe and ready to drink”.

#05 South Africa Is Now The Only Country In The World To Have Hosted The Soccer, Cricket And Rugby World Cup!

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South Africa is now the only country in the world to have hosted the Soccer, Cricket and Rugby World Cup!

#06 South Africa’s Cape Winelands Have Around 560 Wineries And 4 400 Primary Producers.

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Water is not all there is to drink in this thirsty country!

Included in the Cape Winelands region is Route 62, considered the longest wine route in the world. That alone is good reason to visit South Africa if you haven’t yet been!

#07 South African Brewery SABMiller Was The Largest Brewing Company Prior To Takeover in 2016.

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What about beer? South African brewery SABMiller was ranked – by volume – as the largest brewing company in the world in 2016 (prior to being taken over by Anheuser Busch Inbev. Saffers love their beer… But the real reason the brewery is so big?

SABMiller also supplies up to 50% of China’s beer.

#08 South Africa Is The Only Country In The World That Has Voluntarily Abandoned Its Nuclear Weapons Programme.

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South Africa is the only country in the entire world that has voluntarily abandoned its nuclear weapons programme.

#09 The World’s Largest Themed Resort Hotel – The Palace Of The Lost City – Is Found In South Africa.

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The world’s largest themed resort hotel in the world – The Palace of the Lost City – is found in South Africa.

Surrounding the Palace is a 25 hectare man-made botanical jungle with almost 2 million plants, trees and shrubs.

#10 South Africa Is The World’s Leader With Nearly 90% Of All The Platinum Metals On Earth

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South Africa is extremely rich in mining and minerals and considered the world’s leader with nearly 90% of all the platinum metals on earth and around 41% of all the world’s Gold!

#11 South Africa Is Home To The Oldest Meteor Scar In The World.

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South Africa is home to the oldest meteor scar in the world – the Vredefort Dome in a town called Parys. The site is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This was one of the South African facts that we didn’t know – have you been to visit?

#12 The South African Rovos Rail Is Considered The Most Luxurious Train In The World.

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The South African Rovos Rail is considered the most luxurious train in the world.

#13 Bloukrans Bridge Is The Highest Commercial Bungy Jump In The World.

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Bloukrans Bridge is the highest commercial bungy jump in the world and is situated along the Garden Route. It is an impressive 216 metres high.

#14 The Province Of Kwazulu-Natal Has A Monarchy, Specially Provided For By The Constitution.

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Kwazulu-Natal MonarchyDespite 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, literally, like a King!

#15 General Motors South Africa Is The Only Place Outside Of The USA To Build The Hummer H3!

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General Motors South Africa is the only place outside of the USA to build the Hummer H3!

#16 There Are More Than 2000 Shipwrecks Off The South African Coast!

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There are more than 2000 shipwrecks off the South African coast most dating back at least 500 years.

#17 The Oldest Remains Of Modern Humans Were Found In South Africa.

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The oldest remains of modern humans were found in South Africa and are well over 160,000 years old.

#18 The Karoo Region Is Home To Some Of The Best Fossils Of Early Dinosaurs.

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The Karoo region in the Western Cape is home to some of the best fossils of early dinosaurs.

In fact, it is estimated that some 80% of the mammalian fossils found to date were found in the Karoo.

#19 SA Has Three Capital Cities: Pretoria, Cape Town And Bloemfontein.

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SA has three capital cities:

Pretoria is the Executive Capital, Cape Town the Legislative Capital and Bloemfontein the judicial Capital.

#20 Both Nelson Mandela And Archbishop Desmond Tutu Had Houses On Vilakazi Street In Soweto.

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Can you think of any other place in the world where two Nobel Peace Prize winners lived on the same street?

Both Nelson Mandela and Archbishop Desmond Tutu had houses on Vilakazi Street in Soweto.

#21 South Africa Is A Multi-Lingual Country And There Are 11 Official Languages.

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South Africa is a multi-lingual country and there are 11 official languages including: English, Afrikaans, isiNdebele, isiXhosa, isiZulu, Sepedi, Sesotho, Setswana, Siswati, Tshivenda and Xitsonga. Composed by Enoch Sontonga in 1899, the Xhosa hymn ‘Nkosi Sikelel’ iAfrika is South Africa’s national anthem.

#22 South Africa Is The Second Largest Fruit Producer In The Entire World.

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South Africa is the second largest fruit producer in the entire world.

The optimal climatic condition has made it possible to support quite a large range and species of fruits.

#23 South Africa Is Ranked First In The World For Its Floral Kingdom.

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South Africa is ranked first in the world for its floral kingdom and is home to the world’s smalles succulent plants (less than 10mm) and the largest (the baobab).

#24 South Africa Is The First Country To Develop An Unimaginably Rare Coal-To-Oil Technology.

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South Africa is the first country to develop an unimaginably rare coal-to-oil technology.

Due to the aftermath of the second world war, SA was struggling economically, and oil was hard to access, so due to the SA’s vast coal reserves, they decided to research how to turn coal into oil. And now, it’s one of the biggest companies in SA (Sasol).

#25 In SA, It Is Against The Law To Sit Closer Than 2 Meters To Any Individual Of The Opposite Sex.

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If he or she wears nothing but a swimming dress.

#26 South Africa Has A Landmass Of 1 233 404 Km².

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Situated at the southern tip of Africa, South Africa has a landmass of 1 233 404 km² edged on 3 sides by a nearly 3000km coastline washed by the Indian Ocean and the Atlantic. It is bordered in the north by Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe and Mozambique, and also wraps itself around two independent countries, the Lesotho and Swaziland.

#27 The Constitution Of South Africa Is Regarded As An Example To The World.

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A well-known fact about South Africa is that since 1994 we have enjoyed democratic government, the apartheid policies of the past overthrown.

Our constitution is regarded as an example to the world, and enshrines a wide scope of human rights protected by an independent judiciary. The country is headed by a State President, Jacob Zuma, of the African National Congress (ANC).

#28 South Africa Has Achieved Steady Economic Growth In GDP Since The Late 90s.

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A lesser-known fact on South Africa is that it has achieved steady economic growth in gross domestic product (GDP) since the late 90s.

The country, regarded as an emerging market, has a well developed financial sector and active stock exchange.

Financial policies have focused on building solid macroeconomic structures. The country’s central bank is the Reserve Bank.

#29 Tourism Is One Of The Fastest Growing Sectors In South Africa.

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Since the demise of apartheid, international tourist arrivals have surged,

Making tourism one of the fastest growing sectors.

The tourism industry is well-established with an exciting sector of emerging entrepreneurs.

The country is strong on adventure, sport, nature and wildlife travel and is a pioneer and global leader in responsible tourism.

#30 The South African Population Of More Than 49m People Is Extremely Diverse.

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The South African population of more than 49m people is extremely diverse.

Africans are in the majority, approx. 80% of the population, followed by the white population approx. 4,4m; the coloured population approx. 4,2 million and the Indian/Asian population at approx. 1,2m.

#31 South Africa’s Currency Is The Rand, Which Offers Visitors Great Value For Money.

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South Africa’s currency is the rand, which offers visitors great value for money.

The rand comes in a range of coins (R1 = 100 cents) and note denominations of R10, R50, R100.

#32 South Africa Has A Temperate Climate And Is Known For Its Long Sunny Days.

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South Africa has a temperate climate and is known for its long sunny days, hence the title: ‘Sunny South Africa’.

Most of the provinces have summer rainfall, except for the Western Cape (winter rainfall).

Winter is from May to August; Spring from September to October; Summer from November to February and Autumn is from March to April.

#33 South Africa Has An Exceptionally Well-Developed Communications Infrastructure.

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South Africa has an exceptionally well-developed communications infrastructure.

A number of cell-phone providers provide national coverage and there are well-established landline phone networks. Internet and Wi-Fi are easily accessible in most urban areas.

#34 There Are 9 Provinces In South Africa.

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There are 9 provinces in South Africa namely: Eastern Cape, Free State, Western Cape, KwaZulu-Natal; Gauteng, North West, Northern Cape, Limpopo and Mpumalanga.

#35 The South African Flag Is A Much-Loved Symbol Of Patriotism.

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The South African flag is a much-loved symbol of patriotism and other significant national emblems include: National bird: blue crane; National animal: the springbok; National fish: galjoen; National flower: protea and National tree: the yellowwood.

#36 The Constitution Guarantees Freedom Of Worship.

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Almost 80% of South Africa’s population is Christian. Other major religious groups include Hindus, Muslims, Jews and Buddhists.

A minority don’t belong to any of the major religions.

The Constitution guarantees freedom of worship.

#37 South Africa Has Been Declared One Of The 18 Megadiverse Destinations In The World.

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South Africa has been declared one of the 18 megadiverse destinations in the world.

As a pioneer and leader in responsible tourism, South Africa has numerous conservation projects to protect its natural heritage – travellers can support and take part in many of these projects.

The country is home to the famous Big Five (rhino, elephant, lion, leopard and buffalo).

#38 The South African Electricity Supply Is 220/230 Volts AC 50 HZ.

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The South African electricity supply is 220/230 volts AC 50 HZ.

With a few exceptions (in deep rural areas) electricity is available almost everywhere.

#39 There Are 3 Major International Airports In South Africa.

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The 3 major international airports in South Africa are: OR Tambo International Airport (Johannesburg), Cape Town International Airport and King Shaka International Airport (Durban) as well as 90 regional airports including the Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport (KMIA) in Nelspruit.

#40 South Africa Has An Extensive Road Infrastructure.

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South Africa has an extensive road infrastructure including national highways and secondary roads. Speed limits are set at 120 kilometres on highways; 100 kilometres on secondary roads and 60 kilometres in urban areas.

#41 For Visa Requirements, Please Contact Your Nearest South African Diplomatic Mission.

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South Africa requires a valid yellow fever certificate from all foreign visitors and citizens over 1 year of age travelling from an infected area or having been in transit through infected areas.

For visa requirements, please contact your nearest South African diplomatic mission.

#42 South Africa Is Well-Known For Its Medical Skill.

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South Africa is well-known for its medical skill since Professor Christiaan Barnard performed the first successful heart transplant in 1967.

There are many world-class private hospitals and medical centres around the country, especially in the urban centres.

Most of South Africa is malaria-free, but always check with the game reserves you’re planning to visit and take precautions if necessary.

Make sure you have the latest safety tips from the establishment where you will be staying and take common sense precautions as you would when travelling.

#43 Incredibly, This Country Is Home To Many Different Types Of Animals.

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Incredibly, this country is home to the largest bird (ostrich), largest land mammal (elephant), tallest animal (giraffe), smallest succulent (10 millimetres), heaviest flying bird (khori bustard), largest fish (whale shark), largest antelope (eland), largest tree (baobab), fastest land mammal (cheetah), largest reptile (leatherback turtle), and smallest mammal (least dwarf shrew).

#44 This Country Is Home To The Longest Wine Route In The World.

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This country is home to the longest wine route in the world.

The Cape Route 62 (or R62), which is about 1 000 kilometres long and beautifully scenic.

#45 South Africa Has 80% Of The Rail Infrastructure Of Africa.

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South Africa has 80% of the rail infrastructure of Africa.

#46 South Africa Is The Largest Producer Of Macadamia Nuts In The World.

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South Africa is the largest producer of macadamia nuts in the world.

#47 The Country Is Five Times The Size Of Japan.

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The country is five times the size of Japan and three times the size of Texas.

#48 About A Fifth Of The World’s Gold Hails From The Mines Of South Africa.

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About a fifth of the world’s gold hails from the mines of South Africa.

#49 We Host The Largest Individually-Timed Cycling Race In The World.

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We host the largest individually-timed cycling race in the world, the Cape Argus, and the world’s largest ultra marathon, the Comrades.

#50 Lesotho Is A Country That Is Surrounded Entirely By South African Borders.

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Lesotho is a country that is surrounded entirely by South African borders.

#51 South African Inventions Include The CAT Scan.

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African inventions include the CAT Scan, Automatic pool cleaner (Kreepy Krauly®), breakwater dolosse, Pratley’s Putty®, Q20® lubricant, the retinal cryoprobe, and the Smartlock Safety Syringe®.

#52 There Are More Wildlife Species In The Kruger National Park Than Anywhere Else On The African Continent.

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There are more wildlife species in the Kruger National Park than anywhere else on the African continent.

#53 Mossel Bay Has The Second-Most Moderate Climate Of Any City In The World.

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Mossel Bay, which is in the Western Cape and along the beautiful Garden Route, has the second-most moderate climate of any other city or country in the world.

#54 The 1995 Rugby World Cup Was Hosted In South Africa.

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Some of the most exciting sporting events that have been hosted in South Africa include the 1995 Rugby World Cup, 2003 Cricket World Cup, 2005 and 2006 Women’s World Cup of Golf, 2006 inaugural A1 GP World Cup of Motorsport, 2009 IPL Cricket, and 2010 FIFA World Cup.

#55 Rooibos Tea Is Only Grown In A Small Region Of South Africa.

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Rooibos tea has become a worldwide favourite for its fresh taste and excellent health properties.

It is only grown in a small region (in the Cederberg) of South Africa and has to be exported in massive quantities from here.

#56 There Are About 900 Different Avian Species In South Africa.

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There are about 900 different avian species in South Africa which represents around 10% of the bird species of the world.

#57 The Tugela Falls Are The Second-Highest On The Globe.

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The magnificent Tugela Falls are the second-highest on the globe measuring some 850 metres (or 2 789 feet).

#58 South Africa Has 55,000 High Net-Wealth Individuals.

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South Africa has 55,000 high net-wealth individuals holding at least one million US dollars in financial assets (World Wealth Report 2008).

#59 South Africa Accounts For Almost 25% Of The GDP Of The Entire African Continent.

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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 (World Bank).

#60 Chris Hani-Baragwaneth Hospital Is The Biggest Hospital In The World.

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Chris Hani-Baragwaneth Hospital in Soweto is the biggest hospital in the world.

#61 Durban Is The Largest Port In Africa And The Ninth Largest In The World.

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Durban is the largest port in Africa and the ninth largest in the world.

#62 South African Facts: There Are 39 Million Cell Phone Users In South Africa.

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There are 39 million cell phone users in South Africa (International Telecommunication Union).

#63 The World’s Best Land-Based Whale-Watching Spot Is Located In Hermanus.

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The world’s best land-based whale-watching spot is located in Hermanus in the Western Cape.

#64 South Africa Houses One Of The Three Largest Telescopes In The World

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South Africa houses one of the three largest telescopes in the world at Sutherland in the Karroo.

#65 The University Of South Africa Is A Pioneer Of Tertiary Distance Education.

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The University of South Africa (UNISA) is a pioneer of tertiary distance education and is the largest correspondence university in the world, with 250,000 students.

#66 Since 1994, 500 Houses Have Been Built Each Day For The Poor.

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Since 1994, 500 houses have been built each day for the poor and 1000 houses per day have received electricity.

#67 The Cango Caves Is The World’s Longest Underground Cave Sequence.

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The Cango Caves, near Oudtshoorn, is the world’s longest underground cave sequence.

#68 South Africa Became The First Country In The World To Protect The Great White Shark.

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In 1991, South Africa became the first country in the world to protect the Great White shark.

#69 South Africa Has Embraced The Concept Of Trans-Frontier ‘Peace Parks’.

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South Africa has embraced the concept of trans-frontier ‘peace parks’ linking ecological reserves across national borders.

#70 The Western Deep Levels Is The World’s Deepest Mine At 3777 Meters.

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The Western Deep Levels is the world’s deepest mine at 3777 meters.

#71 South Africa Has The World’s Second Oldest Air Force.

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South Africa has the world’s second oldest air force, established in 1920.

#72 South Africa Has The Second Oldest Film Industry In The World.

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South Africa has the second oldest film industry in the world.

#73 South Africa Is Home To Eight World Heritage Sites.

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South Africa is home to eight World Heritage Sites:

  • The Mapungubwe Cultural Landscape
  • Robben Island
  • The Cape Floristic Region
  • The Richtersveld Cultural and Botanical Landscape
  • Vredefort Dome (the oldest meteor scar in the world)
  • The Sterkfontein, Swartkrans, Kromdraai and environs fossil hominid sites.
  • The Simangaliso Wetland Park
  • The Ukhahlamba / Drakensberg Park

#74 Every Year, SA Moves About Two Inches Farther Away From South America.

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Every year, SA moves about two inches farther away from South America, as a subtle continuation of continental drift.

#75 Adams Calender Is A Circular Stone Structure That Was Found In 2005 In Mpumalanga.

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Adams Calender is a circular stone structure that was found in 2005 in Mpumalanga.

The functional and intact monolithic stone calendar has been dated back to about 750 000 years ago.

There is an amazing concurrence: The location of the Adams Calendar is along the same longitudinal axis as the Great pyramid and the great Zimbabwe ruins.

#76 SA Sold Cars Worth Of $ 1.8 Bilion To The USA In 2010

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SA sold cars worth of $ 1.8 bilion to the USA in 2010, placing the country ahead of Italy as suppliers of cars to the USA market and this value is still expected to increase.

#77 Two-Thirds Of Every South African Have Color TV

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Two-thirds of every South African have color TV, 9 telephone land lines are installed for every 100 people and there are 90 mobile phone subscribers per 100 population.

#78 South Africa Is The Only African Country That Is A Member Of The G20.

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South Africa is the only African country that is a member of the G20.

#79 SA Has A Total Of 220 Prisons.

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South Africa ranks 14th among countries with the highest number of jail facilities.

#80 Stellenbosch University Was The First African University In The World To Design And Launch A Micro Satellite.

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Stellenbosch University was the first African university in the world to design and launch a micro satellite.

#81 SA Is Not Among The List Of 20 Countries Of Brain Drain People.

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According to The Economist, SA is not among the list of 20 countries of brain drain people.

#82 The Mompane Worms Of Limpopo Is A Well Deserved Meal In South Africa.

x#82 The Mompane Worms Of Limpopo Is A Well Deserved Meal In South Africa.

The Mompane worms of Limpopo is a well deserved meal in South Africa.

Apart from being a great source of protein when it meets the ill fate of ravaging humans, it turns out the be a beautiful moth.

The Mompane is often eaten as it is or fried and prepared into a crispy snack. If you’re visiting us for the first time, maybe this is one of those South African facts that is a bit gross – don’t worry, we also have McDonalds and Burger King!

#83 There Are 2 Cape Town Restaurants Among The Top 50 Retaurants Of The World.

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There are 2 Cape Town restaurants among the top 50 retaurants of the world.

La Colombe restaurant in Constantia, cape Town, was voted the 12th best and Le Quartier Francais in Franschhoek came in at 31.

#84 The South African Population, Using Improved Drinking Water Sources Was 94% In 2013, Up From 83% In 1990.

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The proportion of the South African population using improved drinking water sources was 94% in 2013, up from 83% in 1990.

(WHO/UNICEF, March 2012)

#85 The Life Expectancy Of An Average South African Has Increased To 60 In 2012 From 54 In 2009.

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The life expectancy of an average South African has increased to 60 in 2012 from 54 in 2009, according to The Lancet health journal.

#86 South Africa Ranks 16th As Per Cinema Visits Per 1000 Population.

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The country loves movies and ranks 16th as per cinema visits per 1000 population.

#87 There Are 727 Airports Found In South Africa.

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There are 727 airports found in South Africa, 143 of these airports have paved runways.

#88 The Shoe House Of Mpumalanga Easily Qualifies For MTV’s Extreme Cribs.

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A house built into the shape of a shoe an easily seen as a visit to Abel Erasmus Pass in Mpumalanga.

#89 The South African Cities Were Voted Amongst The World’s Top 100 Most Livable Cities.

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The South African cities were voted amongst the world’s top 100 Most livable Cities in the 2010 study conducted by Mercer Human Recource Consulting. Cape Town was ranked in 86th place and Johannesburg 90th.

Fun South African Facts: Cape Town is regularly voted as the top city in the world to visit by international publications.

#90 South Africa Is Also Known As The Rainbow Nation.

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South Africa is also known as the Rainbow Nation, a name given by Archbishop Desmond Tutu, once a Nobel Peace prize winner.

Over the centuries different groups of people have entered South Africa to inhabit the area, making the country become “one nation” with a great diversity of people, cultures and languages.

#91 South Africa Is Also Home To A Variety Of Breathtaking Landscapes And Beautiful Nature.

Fact-91-South-Africa-Beautiful-Nature

South Africa is also home to a variety of breathtaking landscapes and beautiful nature

Ranging from dramatic mountains, sandy beaches, wide plains, rocky cliffs to the most colourful flowers.

In all, there is so much to see and do, so many people and tribes to meet, different dishes to eat, activities to experience and animals to observe, it can take a while to get to know the true and real identity of the country.

#92 Various Breeding Colonies Of African Penguins, Can Be Found Along The Western Coast Of South Africa.

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Where in the world can you share a warm and sunny beach with a colony of penguins?

Indeed, in South Africa.

Various breeding colonies of African penguins, also known as the Jackass penguin, can be found along the western coast of South Africa.

South African facts show that the most famous place to visit these birds is in Boulders beach, close to Simon’s town, south of Cape Town.

#93 Johannesburg Is Considered To Have The “Largest Man-Made Forest” In The World.

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Johannesburg is considered to have the “largest man-made forest” in the world.

Since the area of Johannesburg was originally grassland, all the trees were planted to provide wood for the growing mine industry in the 19th century.

However, there are many discussions whether Johannesburg can officially claim this title, and if the trees in a city can be considered to be a forest.

Urban myth or not, the city can definitely claim the title for being one of the most wooded cities in the world.

#94 The Blyde River Canyon Is The Third Largest Canyon In The World.

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The Blyde River Canyon is the third largest canyon in the world but considered to be the largest “green” one.

The best way to visit and view the canyon is via the Panorama route on your way to the Kruger National Park.

#95 It Is Possible To Go Skiing During The Winter Months Of June, July And August.

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It is possible to go skiing/snowboarding during the winter months of June, July and August.

Tiffendell ski resort started in 1993 and is located in the Drakensberg mountains of the Eastern Cape province at a height of 2720 metres above sea level.

It’s a small resort compared to the ones in the northern hemisphere, 2 pistes of only 500m each, but it does claim to have the highest bar in South Africa, although this is often disputed.

There are only 2 other ski resorts in Africa, 1 in Lesotho and the other in Morocco.

#96 South Africa Has The 27th Biggest Economy In The World.

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South Africa has the 27th biggest economy in the world, with a Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of US $254 billion (World Bank)

#97 Gauteng Is South Africa’s Smallest Province But Produces 34% Of South Africa’s GDP.

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Gauteng is South Africa’s smallest province but produces 34% of South Africa’s GDP.

(Stats SA)

#98 More Than 12,000 ‘Black Diamond’ Facilities Are Moving From The Townships Into The Suburbs Of South Africa’s Metro Areas Every Month.

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More than 12,000 ‘Black Diamond’ facilities (South Africa’s new black middle class) – or 50,000 people – are moving from the townships into the suburbs of South Africa’s metro areas every month (UCT Unilever Institute)

#99 Between 2001 And 2004, There Were 300,000 New Black Entrants To The Middle Class.

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The black middle class grew by 30% in 2005, adding another 421,000 black adults to SA’s middle-income layer and ramping up the black population’s share of SA’s total middle class to almost a third.

Between 2001 and 2004, there were 300,000 new black entrants to the middle class.

(Financial Mail)

#100 South African Power Supplier Provides The 4th Cheapest Electricity In The World.

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South African power supplier provides the 4th cheapest electricity in the world.

#101 Almost A Quarter Of South Africa’s Non-Interest Budget Is Spent On Education.

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Almost a quarter of South Africa’s non-interest budget is spent on education.

#102 South Africa Has The 3rd Highest Level Of Biodiversity.

Fact-102-South-Africa-Biodiversity

South Africa has the 3rd highest level of biodiversity.

(SA Tourism)

#103 The Cape Hyrax’s (Dassie) Closest Relative Is The African Elephant.

Fact-103-Cape-Hyrax

The Cape Hyrax’s (dassie) closest relative is the African elephant.

#104 The South African soccer team is the only one to have won the African Cup on their first try.

Fact-104-South-African-Soccer

In 1996 South Africa partecipated in their very first Africa Cup of Nations and proceeded to win the competition defeating Tunisia in the finals.

#105 In 2007 South African Businessman Cyril Ramaphosa Was Included In The Time 100.

Fact-105Cyril-Ramaphosa-Time-100

In 2007 South African businessman Cyril Ramaphosa was included in the Time 100, an annual list, assembled by Time Magazine, of the 100 most influential people in the world.

#106 Cape Town Has The 5th Best Blue Sky In The World.

Fact-106-Cape-Town-Blue-Sky

Cape Town has the 5th best blue sky in the world according to the UK’s National Physical Laboratory.

#107 The Rand Was The Best-Performing Currency Against The US Dollar Between 2002 And 2005.

Fact-107-Rand-Performance

The Rand was the best-performing currency against the US Dollar between 2002 and 2005.

(Bloomberg Currency Scoreboard).

#108 OR Tambo Airport Is The Best Airport In Africa.

Fact-108-OR-Tambo-Airport

OR Tambo airport is the best airport in Africa according to the World Airport Awards 2010/11.

It was also in the top 3 most improved airports in the world for the same period.

#109 Тhe Barberton Mountain Range Is Over 3.5 Billion Years Old.

Fact-109-Barberton-Mountain-Range

Тhe Barberton Mountain range is over 3.5 billion years old and remains one of the best preserved and least altered early Archaean rock formations in the world.

Also, a bacterial micro fossil Archaeospheroides barbertoniswas discovered here and is believed to have been the first form of life on earth.

NASA is reputed to often visit this area and study the rocks, to gain a better understanding of how life could form on other planets.

#110 Sutherland Is Also One Of The Most Stable Area’s In The World.

Fact-110-Sutherland-South-Africa

Founded in 1858, Sutherland in the Northern Karoo is known for it’s cold weather and the astounding star-filled skies.

Since it’s set at an altitude of 1 500m, rarely receives rainfall and has no light pollution, when the sun finally sets you’re treated to a sky thats so bright, you feel you can almost reach out and touch the stars.

According to scientists, Sutherland is also one of the most stable area’s in the world despite being situated near a 66-million year old volcano.

#111 The Quagga Are A Subspecies, And Not A Separate Species Of Zebra.

Fact-111-The-Quagga

Most South Africans will remember stories of the Quagga from school, namely that it was hunted to extinction in the early 19th century, but in the next few years we will see them darting about again.

Scientists have been working on reintroducing them through the use of a careful breeding program since 1987, since discovering that the Quagga was a subspecies, and not a separate species of zebra.

#112 Tipping Is Common Practice In South Africa For A Range Of Services.

Fact-112-Tipping-South-Africa

Tipping is common practice in South Africa for a range of services.

In restaurants the accepted standard is around 10% to 15% of the bill, although sometimes a gratuity will be included (often in the case of a large party).

Barmen are tipped a similar percentage.

#113 South Africa Does Not Change Its Clocks During The Year.

Fact-113-South-Africa-Time

South Africa does not change its clocks during the year and there are no regional variations within the country.

South African Standard Time is two hours ahead of Greenwich Mean (or Universal Standard) Time, one hour ahead of Central European Winter Time, and seven hours ahead of the USA’s Eastern Standard Winter Time.

#114 Nelson Mandela Is Known By Six Different Names In South Africa.

Fact-114-Nelson-Mandela-Names

Nelson Mandela is known by six different names in South Africa.

At birth, he was named Rolihlahla Mandela. On his first day of school, his teacher gave him the name Nelson, following the custom back in the 1920s to give all children English names as English colonials ‘couldn’t’ pronounce African names.

When he was 16 he was given the name of Dalibhunga (‘creator or founder of the council’) during a traditional rites of passage ceremony.

South Africans commonly call him Madiba, which is the name of the Thembu clan to which he belongs, or simply Tata or Khulu, the Xhosa words for ‘father’ and ‘grandfather’.

#115 South African Facts: The World’s Largest Visible Crater Is In South Africa.

Fact-115-World-Largest-Crateris

The world’s largest visible crateris is in South Africa.

Around 2,030 million years ago a meteor the size of a mountain (about 10km across) fell to earth in South Africa’s Free State making a crater 300km across; it is the oldest crater made by either a comet or meteorite and reportedly the site of the largest energy release in history.

In 2015, scientists claimed to have found a bigger crater (around 400km wide) underground in the Austrlian outback, although it is not visible on the earth’s surface.

#116 A South African Fish Migration Is So Huge It Can Be Seen From Space.

Fact-116-Fish-Migration

Between May and July every year millions of small silver fish travel in vast shoals from the cold waters off South Africa’s Cape Point up to the coastlines of the northern Eastern Cape and southern KwaZulu-Natal.

This annual event is called the Sardine Run. The shoals are so big – 15km long, 3.5km wide and up to 40m deep – they can be seen by satellite.

In their wake come hundreds of birds, sharks, whales, dolphins, all eager to feast.

#117 The Aboriginal People Of South Africa Are The San And The Khoi.

Fact-117-Aboriginal-People-South-Africa

The aboriginal people of South Africa are the San and the Khoi.

The hunter-gather Sans and pastoral Khoi together become known as the KhoiSan and lived in what is now the Western Cape around 300AD.

Zulu and Xhosa tribes established large kingdoms in the region in the 15th century.

#118 The Dutch And The British Fought Over South Africa.

Fact-118-South-African-War

The Dutch and the British fought over South Africa.

The first Europeans settlers were Dutch traders on the Europe-Far East spice route who founded Cape Colony (now Cape Town) in 1652.

The British seized Cape Colony in 1795 and a few years later the Dutch farmers (boers) fled north to claim lands and establish the Orange Free State and the Transvaal.

At the end of the 19th century and beginning of the 20th, the British fought two wars with the Boers and one with the Zulus for control of the region. British victories resulted in the formation of the Union of South Africa in 1910.

South Africa became a ‘sovereign independent state’ and part of the British Commonwealth in 1934. After it became a republic in 1961, South Africa’s official name became the Republic of South Africa.

#119 For Nearly 50 Years, There Was A State Of Apartheid – White Minority Rule – In South Africa.

Fact-119-State-Of-Apartheid-South-Africa

For nearly 50 years, there was a state of apartheid – white minority rule – in South Africa.

When the Afrikaaner Nationalist Party came to power in 1948 their policy of apartheid (separateness) segregated blacks and whites, forced hundreds of thousands of people to resettle in black ‘homelands’, and imprisoned, killed or sent opponents into exile.

The African National Congress (ANC) fought against apartheid initially through civil disobedience but after the 1960 Sharpeville massacre (when police killed 70 protesters), it formed a military wing under Nelson Mandela.

Eventually, after decades of international sanctions and boycotts, opposition from the ANC and public uprisings, the South African apartheid government agreed to repeal apartheid laws and hold democratic elections.

In 1994 Nelson Mandela was voted in as the first black president of South Africa; 27 April is now celebrated annually as Freedom Day.

#120 The National Animal Of South Africa Is The Springbok.

Fact-120-Springbok-South-Africa

The national animal of South Africa is the Springbok, the only southern African gazelle.

You can spot them on open bush and grassland by water.

The Springbok is also the emblem and nickname of the South African national rugby team.

#121 South Africa, Was The First African Country And The Fifth Country In The World To Recognise Same Sex Marriage.

Fact-121-Same-Sex-Marriage

South Africa, in 2006, was the first African country and the fifth country in the world to recognise same sex marriage.

While the rest of the African continent is fiercely homophobic (in June 2015 homosexuality was illegal in 34 out of 55 African states), South Africa is a world leader in gay rights.

Discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation was outlawed in 1996, gays have been entitled to serve openly in the military since 1998 and same sex couples can marry, adopt children and have equal access to IVF and surrogacy.

However, in rural areas LGBT people still face discrimination and personal attacks.

#122 The World’s Largest Diamond Was Found In The Premier Mine In Pretoria.

Fact-122-Largest-Diamond

The world’s largest diamond was found in the Premier Mine in Pretoria, South Africa on 25 January 1905.

The 3,106-carat stone weighed 1.33 pounds and was called the ‘Cullinan’ after the owner of the mine.

It was later cut into nine large stones and about 100 smaller ones; the largest, the 530.2 carat Cullinan I or Great Star of Africa, is the world’s largest colourless cut diamond and can be seen on top of the Queen of England’s Septre with the Cross in the Tower of London.

The world’s leading diamond company, De Beers, was set up in Kimberley South Africa by Cecil Rhodes in 1881.

Today the company operates all over the world and sells more than a third of the world’s rough diamonds.

South African diamond mines account for 9.10 percent of the world’s diamonds.

#123 The Swimming Pool Vacuum Cleaner Is A South African Invention.

Fact-123-Swimming-Pool-Vacuum-Cleaner

The swimming pool vacuum cleaner is a South African invention.

Hydraulic engineer Ferdinand Chauvier invented the ‘KreepyKrauly’ in 1974, which used water pressure to suck up leaves and bits of dirt from the pool.

#124 South Africa Is Part Of BRICS.

Fact-124-South-Africa-Brics

South Africa is part of BRICS.

This is an acronym referring to an association of the top five main emerging world markets. Consisting of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, BRICS represents 42 per cent of the world’s population.

South Africa is also part of the G-20, an international forum for the world’s top 20 economies.

#125 South Africa Is Full Of Record-Breaking Animals.

Fact-125-South-Africa-Animals

South Africa is full of record-breaking animals.

It’s where you’ll find the largest land mammal (elephant), the largest bird (ostrich), the tallest animal (giraffe), the largest fish (whale shark), the largest reptile (leatherback turtle), the fastest land mammal (cheetah) and the largest antelope (eland).


At CarInsuranceCheck we’re passionate about South Africa and it’s our goal to help you explore as much of this beautiful country as possible which is why we’ve put this bumper list of South African facts in one place!

We’d love to help you with our 23 Travel Hacks to help you reach our beautiful country.

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John Duckett
John Duckett

John helps individuals get the best deal on car insurance. He advises on how to match client needs with budget and successfully negotiates with insurance houses to exceed client expectations. Working in the online space is his passion, he loves to share his knowledge on insurance and keeps an updated blog.

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