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Interesting Facts on South Africa

South Africa is a very interesting and diverse country, making it a great holiday destination. Here are some interesting facts about South Africa;

Infrastructure

  • The world's biggest hospital is the Chris Hani - Baragwanath Hospital located in Soweto, South Africa.
  • South Africa is one of only 12 countries in the World where tap water is safe to drink.
  • South Africa is the world's biggest producer and exporter of mohair.
  • It has the largest hydro-electric tunnel system in the world at the Orange Fish Rivers Tunnel.
  • Electricity costs within the country are the second lowest in the world.
  • Officially, the youngest language in the world is Afrikaans. By the early-20th century Afrikaans had developed from Dutch, French and other influences into a fully fledged language with its own dictionary. After a mere 90 years, it is the second most spoken language in South Africa, behind Zulu.
  • South Africa is the world's biggest producer of gold, platinum, chromium, vanadium, manganese and alumino-silicates.
  • The world's two largest platinum mines are located near Rustenburg.
  • South Africa has the world's second oldest air force, established in 1920.
  • Durban is the largest port in Africa and the ninth largest in the world.
  • While occupying 4% of Africa's landmass, South Africa boasts more than 50% of the cars, phones, automatic bank tellers and industrial facilities on the continent.
  • South Africa is a middle income country with a strong emerging economy – the 25th largest in the world - and produces more goods than Portugal, Russia or Singapore. It also has Africa’s biggest economy, three times larger than Nigeria or Egypt.
  • South Africa has the fourth largest coal reserves in the world. Its coal industry ranks sixth in the world in terms of output of hard coal and third in terms of seaborne international coal trade.

Travel & Nature

  • The Kruger National Park nature reserve supports the greatest variety of wildlife species on the African continent. It is roughly the size of Wales, or the state of Massachusetts (USA), which makes it the eighth largest reserve in the world.
  • The Lost City Resort is the largest thermal resort in the world as well as the largest building project undertaken in the southern hemisphere.
  • Home to one of the world's 6 floral kingdoms, South Africa has one-tenth (23 200) of the world's flowering plants, of which nearly 19 000 are endemic, making it the richest region in the world in terms of species to area - 1.7 times richer even than Brazil.
  • It is home to more kinds of mammals than North and South America combined; or Europe and Asia together.
  • Table Mountain in Cape Town is one of the seven wonders of the geological world. Standing at just over 580 feet, it dominates the city's skyline. Table Mountain can be seen as far as 130 miles out to sea.
  • Paarl is South Africa's third oldest town and home to KWV Cellars- the largest wine cellar in the world (covering 22 hectares).
  • Kimberley's 'Big Hole' is the largest hand-dug hole in the world and is deeper than Table Mountain is high. Kimberley also has the only drive-in pubs in the world.
  • Mpumalanga province is home to the Blyderiver Canyon, the third largest canyon in the world.
  • The Tugela Falls in KwaZulu Natal, at 948m (3110ft), is the second highest waterfall in the world.
  • The world's best land-based whale-watching spot is located in Hermanus, Western Cape.
  • Seal Island in False Bay is the only place in the world where Great Whites consistently breach (leap completely out of the water) to catch their prey, mainly seals. It also boasts the highest frequency of Great White shark attacks in the world.
  • In 1991, South Africa became the first country in the world to protect the Great White shark.
  • The Boesmansgat is renowned as the second deepest sinkhole (about 299 metres) and the largest of its kind in the world. Many attempts have been made at world records in cave-diving in this exceptional sinkhole.
  • Close to Oudtshoorn are the Cango Caves, a 3 km long sequence of caverns of glittering stalagmites and stalactites, which makes it the longest underground cave sequence in the world.
  • Fossilized footprints were found at Langebaan Lagoon, Western Cape, in a sand-dune-turned-rock. The 117,000 year-old fossils are the oldest known footprints of an anatomically modern human.
  • The Sterkfontein Caves, in Gauteng, is the site where the oldest human skeletal remains were found in the world (3,5 million years old). This is the place where the human race was born!
  • The 2,02 billion year-old crater in Vredefort is the oldest known crater on Earth. The general estimate of its original diamater is roughly 300 km, which makes it the largest crater on the planet, as well.
  • The St. Lucia estuarine system, in Kwazulu Natal, is the largest estuarine system in Africa.

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