South Africa

South Africa, a country rich and diverse, from majestic Table Mountain and the scenic Drakensberg, to the great variety of wildlife in their natural habitat, star gazing, vineyard tours, deep sea fishing, adventure sports and so much more. Influenced by many; the KhoiSan, other indigenous tribes, the Portuguese, French, Dutch, Malay and English – this is South Africa. 9 distinct provinces, 11 official languages, multiethnic, multicultural, a rainbow nation. And yes, a world in one country!

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South Africa is wealthy in natural minerals and resources. The world’s largest diamond, the Cullinan, was found at Premier Mine in Pretoria in 1905. It was cut into 9 large stones, the 2 biggest being in the Queen of England’s crown and sceptre. Most of the world’s platinum is mined in South Africa. Johannesburg is the only major world city that is not built on a natural water system (river, lake or harbour). It is a city built on gold and at one point produced 40% of the world’s gold.

There are more wildlife species in the Kruger National Park than anywhere else on the continent and more than 1500 plant species (indigenous fynbos) alone on Table Mountain, representing more than all the floral species in the United Kingdom. Popular safari destinations to visit are Sabi Sand Game Reserve, Kruger National Park, Madikwe Game Reserve and the Eastern Cape Reserves.

For those who are looking for first world cities, nature escapes, sporting, adventure tours of every description or cultural immersion, you need look no further.

Interesting Facts:

  • The birth place of one of the most iconic figures of our time, Nelson Mandela.
  • The world’s richest hominin site – home to about 40% of the world’s human ancestor fossils at the Cradle of Humankind World Heritage Site – one of eight UNESCO sites in the country.
  • The Karoo region in the Western Cape is home to some of the best fossils of early dinosaurs.
  • The Vredefort Dome in South Africa is possibly the oldest and largest clearly visible asteroid impact on Earth. The 300km crater is approximately 80kms southwest of Johannesburg and was formed around 2 billion years ago.
  • Extremes: largest bird (ostrich), largest land mammal (elephant), tallest animal (giraffe), heaviest flying bird (kori 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).
  • For wine lovers – the longest wine route in the world! About 1000km’s long and very scenic.
  • South Africa has 80% of the rail infrastructure in Africa! Luxurious journeys on Rovos Rail and the Blue Train.
  • Rooibos tea, grown only in the Cederberg, Cape and now exported all over the world. Known for its fresh taste and health properties. South Africa is the largest producer of Macadamia nuts.
  • Sporting enthusiasts: home to the world’s largest individually timed cycle race (the Cape Town Cycle Tour), the world’s largest open water swim (the Midmar Mile) and the world’s largest ultra-marathon (the Comrades Marathon).
  • World politics: South Africa is the only African country that is a member of the G20.
  • World’s 1st heart transplant in 1967 at Groote Schuur in Cape Town by Prof. Christiaan Barnard.