Looking to boost your knowledge of the big wide world? Why not start with these 34 interesting facts about South Africa!
South Africa had a population of 57.78 million in 2018.
Not satisfied with one capital city, South Africa has three: Pretoria, Cape Town and Bloemfontein.
The currency is called the South African rand.
The 2011 national census reported that almost half (43.2%) of the Western Cape’s population was below the age of 25.
Flag of South Africa
Despite being one of the youngest languages in the world, Afrikaans is the most widely spoken official language in the Western Cape. However, English, Zulu, Xhosa, Swati, Tsonga, Southern Sotho, Tswana, Venda, Northern Sotho, Ndebele are also official languages.
Zulu is the language of the Zulu people and the mother tongue to about one quarter of the country’s population; approximately half the country can understand it.
South Africa is the second largest exporter of citrus fruit in the world, after Spain.
South Africa’s Cape Winelands have around 560 wineries and 4,400 primary producers. Sounds perfect!
The South African brewery SABMiller is the largest (by volume) brewing company in the world.
Table Mountain, Cape Town, South Africa
South Africa, Zimbabwe, and Mozambique are removing fences between their game parks in order to create one huge 13,500 square mile park. When completed, it will become the largest conservation area in the world; larger than Switzerland, Belgium or Taiwan!
Bizarrely, South Africa has a penguin colony! It thrives due to the cold Antarctic currents on the west coast near the Cape!
South Africa is rated 3rd in the world in supplying safe, drinkable tap water.
South Africa provides its residents the cheapest electricity in the world.
There are about 280,000 windmills on farms across South Africa.
Gold and diamonds are a girl’s best friend and South Africa has some of the largest reserves in the world. They’re also the country’s biggest export.
The deepest mine in South Africa is a gold mine which reached a depth of 11,749 feet in 1977 – thats over 2 miles deep! (most mines descend to approximately 3,300 feet).
South Africa is the world’s leader in mining and minerals. It has nearly 90% of the platinum metals on Earth, 80% of the manganese, 73% of the chrome, 45% of the vanadium and 41% of the gold.
South African grasslands have approximately 30 species per 0.4 square mile (per square kilometre), greater than the biodiversity of rainforests.
For the history lovers amongst us, the oldest remains of modern humans were found in Klasies River Cave in the Eastern Cape; they are well over 160,000 years old!
In eastern South Africa, scientists have found traces of blue-green algae dating back 3,500 million years; this is some of the earliest evidence of life on Earth!
Swartkop se Dam, Breede River DC, South Africa
There are more than 2000 shipwrecks off the South African coast, most dating back at least 500 years. How we’d love to explore them all…
The author R.R. Tolkien was born in Bloemfontein, South Africa.
Between the months of August and November, Southern Right Whales (and a few Humpbacks) come to the Cape to mate and calve.
The Chris Hani-Baragwanath Hospital is the largest acute hospital in the world, with 2,964 beds. It’s the only public hospital serving the 3.5 million people in Soweto, Johannesburg!
Johannesburg is South Africa’s largest city.
Johannesburg has a man-made ‘forest’ home to over 10 million trees; this number is set to grow as the city plans to plant an extra 200,000 trees! Not only do these trees combat the greenhouse effect, they also help reduce noise in this ‘urban jungle’.
Cape Town, South Africa
It takes one-minute longer to boil an egg in Johannesburg than it does in the coastal cities of Cape Town and Durban. This is because Johannesburg is 2000m above sea level, and the air is not as dense.
Cape Town was appointed the best place in the world to visit by the New York Times in 2014!
In 2013 the UK’s The Guardian newspaper named the Sea Point swimming pool, Cape Town, as one of the top ten swimming pools in the world.
Just so you know, it’s against the law to sit closer than 2 meters to individuals of the opposite sex if he/she is only wearing swimming attire.
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 manmade botanical jungle with almost 2 million plants, trees and shrubs. Pack your bags, let’s go!
To call your friends in South Africa, you’ll need to use the international dialling code +27.
Do you know any fun or interesting facts about South Africa that we’ve missed? Share them here in the comments section below!