50 Fascinating Facts about South Africa

South Africa is a country that is located in the southernmost part of Africa. The official name for the country is the Republic of South Africa. South Africa has a population of 54,956,900 people, making it the 25th most populous country in the world. The country stretches across 471,445 square miles, making it the 24th largest in the world. South Africa is unique in that it has eleven official languages. Because it is a secular state, there is no official religion, and citizens are free to worship as they please. The country has a unitary parliamentary constitution republic government with a president and a deputy president. The country has three capitals: Pretoria, Bloemfontein, and Cape Town. The largest city is Johannesburg. The official currency is the South African Rand. The country's flag contains the colors red, white, gold, green, black, and blue.

South Africa Facts

1
South Africa has a GDP of $312.8 billion.
2
The nominal GDP per capita is $13,500.
3
South Africa has a parliamentary republic government structure.
4
The Mompane worm is actually a caterpillar, and it can be found in South Africa. It is picked, squeezed, and dried so it can be eaten. It can also be fried.
5
South Africa doesn’t have just one official language – it has 11! The languages of the country include English, Afrikaans, Setswana, and Sesotho.
6
The most commonly spoken language, however, is is iZulu. This language is spoken in approximately 25% of South African homes.
7
Almost half of the gold that has ever been mined has been found in Witwatersrand, South Africa.
8
Racial segregation was first implemented under the Dutch Empire. It continued through British rule until it was finally abolished in 1991.
9
Nelson Mandela was the first black president elected in South Africa.
10
There’s an app for that…In South Africa, an Android app was developed to help calculate the number of cows required for a wedding dowry.
11
South Africa is home to an amazing tree that is over 6,000 years old. The tree is so big, it even houses a bar inside that can seat 15!
12
South Africa has one of the highest rates of HIV in the world, with nearly 1 in 5 carrying the virus.
13
South Africa is the largest producer of meat on the entire continent.
14
Approximately two-thirds of Africa’s total electricity is produced in South Africa.
15
The largest land mammal in the world, the African bush elephant, resides in South Africa. These animals can grow up to 11 tons.
16
That’s not the only big animal that calls South Africa home. It is also home for the ostrich, the giraffe, and the Leatherback turtle.
17
There are approximately 900 species of birds that can be found in South Africa.
18
Human remains dated to be 160,000 years old were discovered in South Africa.
19
Over 1,500 species of plants can be found on Table Mountain in Cape Town.
20
Eighty percent of Africa’s railroad infrastructure is located in South Africa.
21
The longest wine route in the world is located in South Africa. It stretches over a span of about 1,000 kilometers.
22
In terms of area, the country is approximately three times the size of Texas
23
South Africa has nine UNESCO World Heritage Sites, including Robben Island, Cape Floristic Region, and Drakensberg Park.
24
Cape Argus is the largest individually-timed bicycle race in the world, and it takes place in South Africa.
25
South Africans have been behind some of the world’s greatest inventions, including an automatic pool cleaner and the CAT Scan.
26
Cape Town’s Table Mountain is one of the oldest mountains on earth.
27
Ninety percent of the earth’s platinum is found in South Africa.
28
Tugela Falls is the second highest waterfall in the world. It is almost 2,800 feet high.
29
There are three capital cities in South Africa. There are also nine provinces that each have their own government.
30
It is estimated that there are about 3,000 shipwrecks located off of the coast of South Africa.
31
About 80% of South Africans practice Christianity.
32
South Africa was the first African country to recognize same sex marriage, which occurred in 2006. It was the fifth country in the entire world to do so.
33
Looking to travel in luxury? Look no further than South Africa’s Rovos Rail, which boasts Royal Suites featuring full bathrooms and beds.
34
South Africa voluntarily abandoned its nuclear weapons program in 1989 and is the only country in the world that has done this.
35
The first heart transplant was performed at South Africa’s Groote Schuur Hospital in 1967.
36
South Africans drive on the left side of the road.
37
School lasts for 13 years in South Africa – beginning with what is known as year 0 and running through 12th grade.
38
Nearly 900,000 students are registered in South Africa’s higher education institutions.
39
The country’s Constitution went into effect on February 4, 1997.
40
South Africa’s Constitution is considered to be one of the most progressive – outlining such rights as equality, health care, education, and access to courts.
41
South Africa’s Bicameral Parliament is elected every five years.
42
SABMiller is a brewery that supplies much of the alcohol consumed in Africa, and it is the second largest brewery in the world.
43
The Palace of the Lost City is one of the largest themed hotels in the world. It is surrounded by a 25-hectare manmade jungle.
44
The highest commercial bungee jump – a whopping 710 feet – is found in South Africa.
45
South Africa has hosted the World Cup for soccer, rugby, and cricket. It is the only country in the world to have done so.
46
South Africa has a very diverse topography, boasting grasslands, wetlands, subtropical forests, and deserts.
47
South Africa has over 45 million cellphones in use. South Africans use phones more than radio, TV, and computers.
48
South Africa is the third most biodiverse country in the world.
49
Capetown’s Victoria & Alfred Waterfront is the most visited destination in South Africa.
50
South Africa has over 11 million visitors annually.

South Africa is a country that truly has it all. Whether you want to visit modern shops, take a dive off the largest bridge doing a bungee jump, spend a night or two at a luxury resort, or if you just want to visit beautiful historic sites and take in the biodiversity, you'll find it all in South Africa.

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