Things I Have Learned In South Africa
“Cry, the beloved country, for the unborn child that’s the inheritor of our fear. Let him not love the earth too deeply. Let him not laugh too gladly when the water runs through his fingers, nor stand too silent when the setting sun makes red the veld with fire. Let him not be too moved when the birds of his land are singing. Nor give too much of his heart to a mountain or a valley. For fear will rob him if he gives too much.” Alan Paton
Four of the five fastest land animals in the world live in South Africa: the cheetah, the springbok the wildebeest, and the lion.
South Africa has the longest wine route in the world.
Walt Disney serves South African wine exclusively at its 73-acre Animal Kingdom Lodge in the United States.
South Africa is the only country in the world to voluntarily abandon its nuclear weapons program.
Peppermint crisp is something every South African grew up with.
Drivers use the left-hand side of the road in South Africa and drive on the opposite side of the car like London.
South Africa is home to the highest commercial bungy jump in the world, called Bloukrans Bridge Bungy (216 meters).
OR Tambo airport is the busiest in Africa processing about 9 million passengers a year.
South Africa has the cheapest electricity in the world.
South Africa, Zimbabwe, and Mozambique are tearing down fences between the countries’ game parks to create a 13,500 square mile game park, which will become the largest conservation area in the world. It will be bigger than Switzerland, Belgium or Taiwan.
South Africa is now the only country in the world to have hosted the Soccer, Cricket and Rugby World Cup! (Capetown Stadium)
The oldest remains of modern humans were found in South Africa and are well over 160,000 years old. (Cradle Of Humankind)
South Africa has a penguin colony, which thrives thanks to the cold Antarctic currents on the west coast near the Cape. (Boulder Beach)
Rooibos tea has become a worldwide favorite for its fresh taste and excellent health properties. It is only grown in a small region (in the Cederberg) of South Africa and has to be exported in massive quantities from here.
What about beer? South African brewery SAB Miller ranks – by volume – as the largest brewing company in the world. Saffers love their beer…but the real reason the brewery is so big? SABMiller also supplies up to 50% of China’s beer.
South Africa is rated thrd in the world in supplying safe, drinkable tap water.
This is the only country with two Nobel Peace Prize winners who lived on the same street. Both Nelson Mandela and Archbishop Desmond Tutu had houses on Vilakazi Street in Soweto.
South Africa has had an unsettled history, with apartheid policies made by the National Party enforcing a system of segregation from 1948 until 1994. (Apartheid Museum)
Nelson Mandela was elected president in 1994 after South Africa’s first universal elections.
The deepest mine is a gold mine in South Africa. in 1977 the Western Deep Levels Mine reached a depth of 11,749 feet. Most mines descend to about 3,300 feet.
Dr. Christiaan Barnard, at Groote Schuur Hospital in Cape Town, performed the first human heart transplant in the world in 1967. He was also the first to do a “piggyback” transplant in 1971, and he was the first to do a heart-lung transplant.
South Africa is the largest producer of meat in Africa.
There are about 280,000 windmills on farms across South Africa, second in number only to Australia.
There are more than 2000 shipwrecks odd the coast of South Africa some dating back five hundred years.
South Africa has 19,004 miles of railway track – 80% of Africa’s rail infrastructure.
The world’s largest diamond was the Cullinan Diamond, found in South Africa in 1905. It weighed 3,106.75 carats uncut. It was cut into the Great Star of Africa, weighing 530.2 carats, the Lesser Star of Africa, which weighs 317.40 carats, and 104 other diamonds of nearly flawless color and clarity. They now form part of the British crown jewels.
A South African sunset goes on forever.
“If I know a song of Africa, of the giraffe and the African new moon lying on her back, of the plows in the fields and the sweaty faces of the coffee pickers, does Africa know a song of me? Will the air over the plain quiver with a color that I have had on, or the children invent a game in which my name is, or the full moon throw a shadow over the gravel of the drive that was like me, or will the eagles of the Ngong Hills look out for me?” Karen Blixen
Some of the greatest game viewing opportunities in the world are in South Africa. The chance to see the Big Five (Buffalo, Elephant, Rhino, Lion and Leopard) in their natural habitat is hard to ignore. The Big Five together with a wide range of other wildlife species can be found in more than 20 national wildlife reserves and many private game parks. Who knew the big five meant animals?
I love penguins. It surprised me that there are penguin colonies in Africa. The African penguin (or jackass penguins) are found on Boulder Beach near Cape Town in the Western Cape province of South Africa.
The flat top of Table Mountain shapes the skyline of Capetown. It is the icon of South Africa and voted one of the new Seven Wonders of Nature. It is one of the oldest mountains in the world and of the planet’s twelve main energy centers, radiating magnetic or spiritual energy.
Robben Island is where Nelson Mandela was imprisoned for 18 years. Mandela always carried himself as a human being while fighting injustice and inequality, The island is a piece of South African history and tours are given by former prisoners.
The Apartheid Museum in Johannesburg tells the Emotional story of South African discrimination by color and the fight to overcome it.
The townships in South Africa are the underdeveloped urban non white areas. Currently there are many programs to help develop the townships and I hope to see them.
The wineries of Capetown are known for world-class vintages and beautiful scenery. Though I’m not a big drinker, I do love visiting wineries when I travel. South African wines are really popular in California.
I love African choral music in the style of Ladysmith Black Mambazo. I hope to hear several of these traditional groups,
The rainbow nation, the unique complex history of South Africa,the diverse demographics, the people and interesting animals result in delicious dishes which are distinctly South African. Let the eating begin.
My daughter is getting married there.