When one thinks of South Africa their mind immediately goes to the abundance of wildlife and national parks and yet there’s a lot more in store.
1. The country actually has 3 capitals! Pretoria the executive branch, Bloemfontein the judicial branch and Cape Town the legislative branch.
2. Although a democracy today, it still has a monarchy within the country. Not within the entire country but in a region bordering with the countries of Mozambique, Swaziland and Lesotho. The province of KwaZulu enjoys this monarchical status within the country’s constitution itself.
3. The first heart transplant in human beings was conducted here in 1967.
4. And clearly the other capitals don’t stay behind, so, Pretoria discovered the world’s largest diamond in 1905 weighing 1.3 pounds with a size of 3,106 carats!
5. Interestingly, South Africa was also ranked to have the 3rd best water in terms of its readiness and safety to drink. As someone who is constantly moving about with a bottle of water, I’m thrilled to hear about this!
6. It was the first country to voluntarily abandon its nuclear weapons program. It is the first and only country to have not only developed but also dismantled the nuclear weapons.
7. Unfortunately, the country records one of the highest numbers of HIV cases.
8. And in 2019, it was also ranked as the country with the highest level of income disparity.
9. But on a happier note, it is the only country to have hosted major sports world cups such as cricket, rugby and soccer, i.e., all 3 in different years! It is also expected to host the rugby world cup once again in 2023.
10. Botanist Ronald Good had identified the floral kingdoms of the world in 1947. These are determined to be the largest units for flowering of plants. Of the 6, the one in South Africa is the only one to be entirely in one country. It is credited for 20% of the flora and fauna of the African continent. Spread over 90,000 sq. km. it is pegged to have 465 species in every 1,000 sq. km.!
11. With an estimated age of 600 million years, Table Mountain in the country is one of the oldest in the world! The first ascent was by Antonio De Saldanha in 1503. The Castilian-Portuguese origin captain was also the first to anchor at Table Bay, thereafter, taking on the climb. It radiates magnetic, electric and spiritual energy and is also one of the world’s 12 magnetic reserves!
12. The world’s largest theme hotel is the Palace of the Lost City in Sun City.
13. It is also home to the world’s highest commercial bungee jump, at Bloukrans Bridge. How high? 216 metres!
14. As the records continue the town of Parys also has the world’s oldest meteor scar, Vredefort, residing here. Recognized by UNESCO, it is 2 billion years old!
15. The Karoo region prides itself for having the best fossils of early dinosaurs, with 80% mammalian fossils found here!
16. For those who love mystery and history, it’ll be intriguing to learn that the country even has over 2,000 shipwrecks that date more than 500 years old.
Trip Leader Niyati’s Recommendations:
This country really does have everything to offer in terms of its terrain from subtropical forests, mountains, wetlands to grasslands and even deserts. One country, many adventures depending on the amount of time you have!
1. Kruger National Park – one of the biggest game reserves in the world is literally so large that it is stretched across three countries – Zimbabwe, Mozambique and South Africa. You can spot the big 5 and, on some tracks, even drive by yourself! For wildlife lovers this is a treat.
2. And if that sounds exciting, then you’ll be happy to know that Boulders Beach in Capetown gives you the chance of walking on the beach and spotting penguins. Yep, just a stroll on the beach and you see penguins. Casual. (Yeah, right!)
3. And you will want to spend time in Cape Town because of its beautiful waterfronts and stunning coastline. Make time for sandboarding and Robben Islands too.
4. Meanwhile, Saint Lucia is popular for safaris again as well as horse safaris and kayaking with crocodiles!
5. For the absolute mad ones, there’s adventure like no other place. Ever tried blokarting? A blokart is a land yacht for you to zip about. Or ever tried shark cage diving? Blokarting is popular at Muizenberg and for shark diving Gansbaai is the most popular one.
6. For the luxurious lovers, the Rovos Rail train journey is one of the most lavish journeys to undertake in the world. The journey is splendid with scenic landscapes throughout.
7. Why miss the chance of seeing one of the oldest mountains in the world?! Table Mountain is accessible by a cable car ride. The overlooking bay is also a picturesque sight.
8. Then there’s Johannesburg – the largest landlocked city in the world and also home to the largest man-made forest in the globe. The city has over 10 million trees which is more than its human population!
How to Reach:
To reach South Africa one would have to catch a flight with a layover in either Ethiopia or Kenya.
For visa kindly refer to the following page on our website: