Think about a global destination that you would like to travel to. How would you like to visit the African continent and see something truly incredible? Then head to South Africa, where you can witness nature, history, and culture all in one place. Not only is South Africa a modern and developing market, filled with languages, religions, music, and dance, but the country also clings to amazing history. For example, an ancient cave has been discovered, in which archaeologists found fossil records dating back some 2 million years! And this is just the tip of the iceberg, because South Africa has so much to offer for tourists and locals alike. You will learn a whole lot about this country with our list of 10 Facts About South Africa That’ll Amaze You.
Here we will tell you all about the political, historical, and cultural aspects of this nation, as well as some geographical tidbits that will make you want to pack your bags for a whirlwind trip around the country. Learn about the significance of the colors of the South African flag, as well as some of the symbols that have become national emblems. And of course, we need to remember that South Africa had a tumultuous history of apartheid, but the admirable Nelson Mandela helped to put a stop to it and he eventually became the President himself. Now South Africa is filled with stable financial institutions, a growing economy, loads of diversity in citizenship, language, and religion, and so much intrigue that you won’t want to leave.
10 South Africa Has Three Capitals
Technically speaking, the country has three major cities, each of which serves as a different type of capital city. First is Pretoria, which is the administrative capital. The very famous Cape Town is the legislative capital of South Africa, and Bloemfontein is the judicial capital of the country. Besides the three capital cities, there are nine separate provinces in South Africa (sort of like how China has provinces.) These nine regions are: Eastern Cape, Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal, Mpumalanga, Northern Cape, Limpopo, North West (not to be confused with Kim Kardashian’s child,) Free State, and Western Cape. Each province has their own government, although there’s also a federal government.
9 South African Has Ancient Fossil Records
The southernmost country on the African continent was a wonderland of fossils and historical records that amazed archaeologists. Near the city of Johannesburg, experts located a cave called Sterkfontein, which included early fossil records of the human race that predated most of the other known fossil records. In fact, some of the fossils found in Sterkfontein were 2 million years old! Since then, the cave has been known as the “Cradle of Humankind.” Historians have determined that a tribe called the San had lived there some 24,000 years ago and settled in the Kalahari Desert. In fact, some still live there today.
8 South Africa Had a History of Apartheid
Apartheid was a rigid form of racial discrimination and segregation, and it crippled the country until quite recently: 1994. Under apartheid rule, whites were in charge of everything, and blacks held the lowest ranks of society. When South Africa was able to overcome this racial divide, it inspired marked changes in other societies and governments, reaching as far as Northern Ireland. In the winter of 1997, a new Constitution was drafted up and put into place. The Constitution is the official law of the country, and it includes its own Bill of Rights that grants equality, property, healthcare, freedom of speech, education, and access to courts to all citizens.
7 South Africa’s Economy is Doing Well
Relatively speaking, the country of South Africa has seen their economy on the upswing since the late 1990s. These days, the nation of South Africa is seen as a developing market for investors and the business world, and the country is also rapidly improving its financial infrastructure. In fact, financial institutions have been cropping up around the country for years, and South Africa is emerging in the stock market and macroeconomic structures. Thanks to a more progressive government, tourism has been booming, and entrepreneurship is another hot subject in South Africa. Thanks to its lovely nature, ecotourism is another boon.
6 Most of South Africa is Filled With Africans
Despite the majority of famous South Africans in movies, sports, and elsewhere being white, the vast majority of South Africans are indeed black Africans. A whopping 79.2% of the country’s population is African, while whites make up just 8.9% of the population. The rest of the citizens are a combination of “colored,” “Indian/Asian,” and “other.” There is a wide range of religions and languages spoken in South Africa as well. For instance, if you go to the country, you will probably hear Afrikaans, English, isiNdebele, isiXhosa, isiZulu, and several other African tongues. Plus, Asian and European languages are trickled in.
5 South African Symbols
The country of South Africa is perhaps most famous for their iconic leader Nelson Mandela, who passed away in 2013 at the age of 95. Mandela was imprisoned for years while fighting against apartheid, and was able to see his country achieve freedom from segregation. He even served as President from 1994 to 1999. His face is a national symbol, yet there are other symbols as well. In particular, the national bird is the blue crane and the national plants are the protea flower and the yellowwood tree. The country’s flag includes Boer Republic colors red, white and blue. The yellow, black, and green represent the African National Congress.
4 South Africa Favors Dance
Yeah, yeah, we know the stereotype: Africans can dance. Well, here are the straight facts about South Africa – they favor the art of dance and they use it to express many different ideas and opinions. For instance, dances have become synonymous with expressing social and political issues, and the music of South Africa also plays a pivotal role in sharing and spreading ideas. The country is known for its song and dance, and if you ever visit, you will have to partake in a show. Other than that, South Africa does very well in the sports world, particularly in rugby, golf, cricket, and soccer.
3 Plenty to See and Do
If you ever travel to South Africa, you can bet that there will be plenty to witness and experience. First of all, you can contribute to the ecotourism of the country by visiting the national parks and marveling at the wonderful nature (plants, animals, fish, birds.) Secondly, get a history lesson with sites dedicated to the struggles of apartheid and the political issues the country has overcome. You can also hang out with the locals and experience authentic Zulu or Xhosa culture on farms or in the villages. Luxury holidays abound as well, including wine tasting, safaris, and fine dining and accommodations.
2 South Africa is Full of Natural Beauty
When you think of heading to Africa to see exotic animals and birds, you probably imagine going to Kenya or the Congo. Yet South Africa is a treasure trove of natural beauty, encompassing about 10% of the world’s birds, plants, and fish. That’s pretty impressive considering South Africa takes up only 1% of the entire Earth! As for the country’s amazing wildlife, there is an abundance of reptiles, mammals, plant species, birds, and fish. The Kruger National Park is the most famous park in South Africa, and works to protect endangered species such as cheetahs, the African wild dog, and rhinoceros.
1 South Africa is a Geographic Wonderland
Are you looking for a vacation where you can explore majestic mountains, fabulous flora and fauna, and incredible deserts? Well, you don’t have to go on a multi-country trip; just head to South Africa. This nation is filled with all kinds of geographical landscapes, from the ancient Table Mountain in Cape Town and the Cape Floral Kingdom, and subtropical forests, South Africa has it all! There are also wetlands, grasslands, escarpments, and the wild and free bush. You can explore the mining district, where South Africa solidified itself as a place to go for natural gold and diamonds. Pretty snazy!