South Africa interestingly is one of the most developed countries among African nations and has its good and bad facts that you may need to know. SA as popularly referred to covers 1,219,090 square kilometers. The 101 interesting facts about South Africa are all about SA’s history, culture, economy, kids, and weird facts.
Pretoria is the capital, and Johannesburg is the largest city. Some of the official languages are Zulu, Xhosa, Afrikaans, English, Tsonga, Swazi, and Venda. The South African rand is the country’s official currency (ZAR). Mozambique, Botswana, Namibia, Swaziland, Lesotho, and Zimbabwe are six countries that share land borders with South Africa. South Africa is a multiethnic country with many different cultures, languages, and religions.
Let us learn more about South Africa’s people, culture, wildlife, geography, history, and industries, as well as some fun facts and trivia for kids.
101 Interesting Facts About South Africa
- South Africa has the world’s longest continuous wine route.
- It is Africa’s largest meat producer.
- Table Mountain is one of the world’s oldest mountains and it is found in South Africa.
- Mercedes-Benz produces right-hand drive cars in only one country in the world: South Africa.
- The Bloukrans Bridge is the world’s highest bungee jumping bridge.
- The number of flower species found on Table Mountain is greater than the total number of flower species found in the United Kingdom.
- Rovos Rail is the world’s most opulent train.
- Rovos Rail is the world’s most opulent train.
- The wildebeest, lion, cheetah, and springbok species found in South Africa are four of the world’s seven fastest mammals.
- You can swim with colonies of Jackass penguins at Boulders Beach in Cape Town.
- Johannesburg is thought to be home to the world’s largest man-made forest, with over 6 million trees.
- The Comrades Marathon, the world’s largest and oldest one-day marathon, is held between Durban and Pietermaritzburg in Kwazulu Natal.
- Even though the Blyde River Canyon is only the world’s third-largest, it is thought to be the world’s largest “green” canyon.
- Rooibos/Redbush tea is caffeine-free by nature and is only found in the Cederberg region of the Western Cape in South Africa.
- Despite the fact that skiing and snowboarding are not common winter sports in South Africa, they can be enjoyed in the Drakensberg Mountains.
- South Africa generates two-thirds of Africa’s electricity.
- South Africa is home to as much as 80% of Africa’s rail infrastructure.
- South Africa produces the majority of the world’s macadamia nuts.
- South Africa is three times the size of Texas and five times the size of Japan.
- South Africa completely encircles the kingdom of Lesotho.
- The African elephant is the world’s largest land mammal. African bush elephants can weigh up to 11 tons and live for up to a hundred years.
- The giraffe, the world’s tallest animal, is found in South Africa.
- South Africa is home to the world’s tiniest mammal, the Least Dwarf Shrew.
- South African waters are home to the world’s largest reptile, the Leatherback Turtle.
- There are no fewer than eight world heritage sites located here.
- The Eland, the world’s largest and slowest antelope, is found in South Africa.
- The Kori Bustard, the world’s heaviest flying bird, is found in South Africa.
- South African mines produce about a fifth of the world’s gold.
- South Africa has about 900 different bird species, accounting for about 10% of all bird species on the planet.
30. The ostrich, the world’s largest bird, is found here.
- The CAT Scan, the Kreepy Krauly automatic pool cleaner, Q20 lubricant, Pratley’s Putty, and the Smartlock Safety Syringe are just a few of the South African inventions.
- Wetlands, bush, deserts, mountains, grasslands, escarpments, and subtropical forests can all be found in South Africa.
- South Africa’s tap water is regarded as the third-best and safest ready-to-drink water in the world.
- Outside of the United States, South Africa was one of only two countries where General Motors produced the Hummer.
- No other country in the world has voluntarily abandoned its nuclear weapons program as South Africa has.
- In South Africa, the oldest human remains, dating back over 160,000 years, were discovered.
- The Judicial Capital of Bloemfontein, the Executive Capital of Pretoria, and the Legislative Capital of Cape Town are the three capital cities of South Africa.
- South Africa is the only country on the planet to have hosted the World Cups of soccer, rugby, and cricket.
- Table Mountain is thought to be one of the planet’s 12 main energy centers, emitting magnetic, spiritual, and electric energies.
- SABMiller is the largest beer brewing company in the world in terms of volume.
- According to the National Physical Laboratory of the United Kingdom, Cape Town ranks fifth in the world for having the best blue sky.
- There are only six floral kingdoms on the planet, and one of them, Fynbos, is found in South Africa.
- South Africa has the most official languages in the world, with eleven.
- The Western Deep Level mines are the world’s deepest, at nearly 4 kilometers.
In South Africa, one out of every five adults visits a gym or health club at least once a week.
Facts about South Africa apartheid
- When it all began, the notorious Land Act was passed in South Africa before apartheid in 1913, three years after the country gained independence, obligating black South Africans to reside only in certain areas.
- Apartheid is made a national law. When apartheid was made a national law in 1950, the government outlawed marriage and sexual acts between whites and people of other races. People were classified based on their skin color, and pass laws were enacted requiring non-whites to carry documents granting them permission to enter restricted areas.
- Differentiated Development is Introduced to Apartheid Policy — In 1958, South African President Dr. Hendrik Verwoerd added “separate development” to the apartheid policy. South African black people were divided into ten homelands known as Bantustans, which only added to the continent’s poverty. This allowed the government to substantiate its claim that the country lacked a black majority.
- Apartheid is opposed — people of other races began protesting apartheid policies through strikes, political actions, protests, peaceful demonstrations, and, eventually, armed conflict. In 1952, the ANC and the South Indian National Congress held a mass meeting at which attendees burned their pass books.
- The government disbanded the meeting, and 150 protesters were detained for treason. By 1961, most tension leaders had been arrested or executed, and Nelson Mandela, the co-founder of the ANC’s military wing, Umkhonto we Siswe/Spear of the Nation, was put in jail from 1963 to 1990. It was his confinement that drew foreign attention and support for the anti-apartheid movement.
- The end of apartheid — millions of black children protested the requisite of Afrikaans in schools in 1976 in Soweto, a black township outside of Johannesburg, causing additional federal restrictions and a country-wide economic downturn. As a result, the international community became even more convinced that apartheid was not bringing the country prosperity and peace, and the policy was disavowed by the United Nations General Assembly in 1973. Piet Botha, the president of South Africa at the time, tried to transform the country’s policies, but his efforts fell short, and he was pressured to resign as the country’s leader.
- W. de Klerk was elected President of South Africa, and a new constitution was drafted under his watch in 1994. Apartheid was declared officially over that year when elections yielded a government with a majority of non-whites.
Facts About South African History
- In Soweto, two Nobel Laureates, Nelson Mandela and Archbishop Desmond Tutu, lived on Vilakazi Street.
- Here, some of the most ancient and diverse dinosaur fossils have been discovered.
- South Africa is the world’s second-largest fruit producer.
- South Africa is home to the world’s smallest (less than 1 mm) and largest succulents (the Baobab tree).
- It is the world’s first country to succeed in converting coal to oil.
- The waters off the coast of South Africa are home to over 2000 shipwrecks.
- Professor Chris Barnard was the first person to perform a heart transplant in the world.
- South Africa is home to the Palace of the Lost City, one of the world’s largest themed hotels.
- Scientists have discovered that the area is a key hub for human evolution.
- South Africa has a plethora of mines, with the first diamonds explored on the banks of the Orange River in 1866 and 1867, and the first gold explored in the Transvaal in the late nineteenth century.
About The Culture Of South Africa
- Art — art has always been an important part of South African culture, and many South African artists have received international recognition for their work.
- Architecture — architecture throughout the country reflects the country’s enormous ethnic and cultural diversity. Sir Herbert Baker, one of the most well-known architects, designed the Rhodes Memorial and St George’s Cathedral in Cape Town, as well as St John’s College in Johannesburg and the world-famous Union Buildings in Pretoria.
- Literature — South Africa has produced a number of internationally renowned authors, including Olive Schreiner, Breyten Breitenbach, Nadine Gordimer, J.R.R. Tolkien, Alan Paton, and Andre Dubus III, to name a few.
- Films — The Gods Must Be Crazy, Funny People, District 9, and Tsotsi are just a few of the well-known South African films.
- Music — Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Hugh Masekela, Brenda Fassie, the Soweto String Quartet, and Miriam Makeba are just a few of South Africa’s many talented black musicians. South African singers and bands include Jonathan Butler, Johnny Clegg, Just Jinger, and Seether, to name a few.
- Food — in African culture, the cuisine is as diverse as the people. Meat is the most common ingredient in most meals across the country. Bunny chows, melktert, koeksisters, and, of course, the braai, South Africa’s equivalent of the barbecue in some other countries, are some of the country’s signature dishes.
- Wine — South Africa has been producing wine since 1659, and it is now one of the world’s leading producers.
- Infant care — in the colored and black communities, older sisters, mothers, and grandmothers are traditionally responsible for infant care.
- Sexual orientation — In 2006, same-sex couples were allowed to marry and adopt children. Despite the fact that this is now a constitutional right, it is still not widely accepted in society, particularly in rural areas.
- Science and technology — South Africa is home to a number of significant scientific and technological achievements, including the Yellow Fever vaccine, molecular biology, and the world’s largest optical telescope.
Facts About South Africa For Kids
- The Tugela Falls are the world’s second-highest.
The Orange River, the country’s longest river, forms part of the border between South Africa and Namibia.
- South Africa has been dubbed “The Cradle of Humankind” because of the numerous human remains, tools, and artifacts discovered there dating back more than 100,000 years.
- South Africans, like their counterparts in Australia and the United Kingdom, drive on the left side of the road.
At Cape Point, the southernmost tip of the Cape Peninsula, the Atlantic and Indian Oceans meet.
Cape Agulhas, about 75 miles/120 kilometers south of Cape Town, is South Africa’s southernmost point.
- Despite the fact that conservation is a priority, overpopulation and deforestation have resulted in the loss of many natural habitats. There have been 80 cave paintings discovered here, dating back 75,000 years.
- South Africa is home to a plethora of wildlife, including a variety of monkey species, snakes, elephants, and lions, to name a few.
- South African coastlines are home to a plethora of marine life, including sharks and dolphins, with over 2000 different species passing through at some point during the year.
Facts About Poverty in South Africa.
- In South Africa, nearly 50 percent of people live in poverty. The South African government uses a three-point scale to determine poverty. The upper-bound poverty line (UBPL) corresponds to a monthly income of 1,183 Rand ($70.90). The lower-bound and food poverty lines, on the other hand, show incomes of 785 Rand ($47.04) and 547 Rand ($32.78), respectively. According to the South African Department of Statistics, 49.2 percent of the population over the age of 18 lives below the poverty line. The government has worked to reduce poverty levels primarily through the New Growth Path program (NGP). This policy aims to help small businesses by providing financing and improving a variety of economic sectors. NGP also intends to expand public work projects in order to provide more people with stable incomes.
- Women are particularly susceptible to poverty than men. According to the Living Conditions Survey (LCS) in South Africa, 52.2 percent of women and 46.1 percent of men live below the UBPL. Furthermore, the study found that 74.8 percent of women-led households adhere to the UBPL, compared to only 59.3 percent of men-led households. At every level of poverty, there is a similar gender gap, with women experiencing poverty more frequently than men. This disparity appears to have remained relatively stable over the last decade, according to data. Women-headed households are also more likely to be without running water and sanitation. These issues have been addressed by the South African government’s Programme of Action. The program focuses on infrastructure development, resource distribution in rural areas, and housing improvement subsidies. Over the last five years, the program’s popularity and funding have increased.
- COVID-19 has exacerbated poverty in South Africa. There is no doubt that the pandemic has exacerbated many of the underlying issues surrounding poverty in the country, with over 500,000 cumulative cases as of August 13, 2020, and close to 4,000 new cases on the same day. Hunger and food insecurity have become much more pressing issues in recent years. Lockdowns, for example, have halted employment and forced many South Africans to choose between working to feed their families and staying at home to stay safe. According to current projections, the pandemic could push up to 1 million people into poverty.
- In South Africa, access to income is characterized by a wide range of inequalities. South Africa consistently ranks among the most unequal countries in terms of wages, wealth, and consumption. In 2015, the country had a Gini coefficient of 0.65, which was one of the highest in the world. While per capita inequality appears to have improved over the last 20 years, consumption inequality has actually increased since apartheid ended. Similarly, despite the fact that black South Africans have reported the largest increase in the average number of assets owned, within-group asset inequality has continued to rise among black South Africans.
This perplexing trend appears to indicate that many of the problems that existed during the decades of apartheid have not vanished, but have instead become ingrained in South African society. Furthermore, according to a study published by the World Bank, South Africa has the highest inequality of opportunity of any country, as measured by access to quality basic services such as education and healthcare. Higher social spending, affirmative action programs, and targeted government transfers have all been used by the government to reduce inequality. The government’s progressive tax system, which has the potential to act as a redistributive tool in the coming years, has also seen promising results.
- The number of people living in poverty in rural areas is significantly higher than in urban areas. In 2015, 25.2 percent of the population in urban areas and 65.4 percent of the population in rural areas lived below the UBPL. While these findings appear to be discouraging at first, they do suggest that some policies are resulting in significant reductions in poverty. The South African government has been implementing a National Development Plan (NDP) for the past decade with the goal of eliminating poverty below the lower-bound poverty line and reducing income inequality across the board. While it is still in the planning stages, and the current pandemic is obstructing it to some extent, this plan demonstrates the government’s commitment to reducing poverty.
- South Africa is still wrestling with its inherited history of economic oppression and inequality. However, recent policies and conversations about poverty indicate that things are changing for the better. The onus now rests on both the South African government and the international community to continue to promote policies aimed at reducing poverty and closing inequality gaps.
Weird Facts About South Africa
- South Africa is the world’s leading producer of macadamia nuts.
- In 1967, the world’s first heart transplant took place. Dr. Christiaan Barnard of Groote Schuur Hospital in Cape Town performed the procedure.
- In and around the South African coast, there are over 2000 shipwrecks.
- Guess who is the world’s second-largest fruit producer? South Africa, as you may have guessed.
- South Africa is the only country in the world where two Nobel Prize winners have been born on the same street.
- The Western Cape’s Route 62 is the world’s longest wine route.
- The Garden Route is home to the world’s highest commercial Bungy jump. The Bloukrans Bridge Bungy is a 216-meter-high structure.
- South Africa is three times the size of Texas and five times that of Japan in terms of area.
- South Africa is home to eight incredible world heritage sites.
98. South Africa is home to approximately 20% of the world’s gold mines.
In the quest to explore South Africa and ready to have bundles of information about this country? Then with the list of facts about South Africa we have picked and discussed in separate areas here, this will get you equipped with the necessary information you are in a quest to know.