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Interesting facts about South Africa

South Africa is home to a variety of breathtaking landscapes and beautiful nature, ranging from dramatic mountains, sandy beaches, wide plains, rocky cliffs to the most colourful flowers. How many South African facts do you know? This mix of informative and interesting facts will test your knowledge on this beautiful country.

First ever heart transplant in the world

The first successful heart transplant was in a Cape Town hospital by Dr Christiaan Barnard on 3 December 1967. Additionally, the CAT (Computed Axial Tomography) Scan, issued in hospitals to produce 3D images of the human body’s internal structures to detect disease, was developed by South African physicist Allan Cormack and British colleague Godfrey Hounsfield. They shared the Nobel Prize for Physiology and Medicine in 1979.

Highest commercial bungee jump from a bridge

The highest commercial bridge bungee jump in the world can be done in South Africa. In the heart of the Garden Route, the bridge is situated 216 metres above the Bloukrans river. This bridge forms part of the N2 highway connecting Cape Town with Durban. Therefore, the bridge receives quite some heavy traffic, which is noticeable when standing under the bridge ready to jump.

The worlds’ second highest waterfall

South Africa is home to the second highest waterfall in the world, the Tugela Falls. The total drop is 948 metres (3110 ft.) in five consecutive leaps, of which the longest uninterrupted leap is 411 metres (1350 ft.). The Tugela falls are part of the Royal Natal National Park in the Drakensberg mountains.

The only country in the world where 2 Nobel Peace Prize winners lived on the same street

Both Nelson Mandela and Archbishop Desmond Tutu had houses on Vilakazi Street in Soweto, Johannesburg.

The world’s oldest human remains were found in South Africa

Fossilized bones from hominids dating back between 4.5 and 2.5 million years were found in limestone caves some 50km northwest of Johannesburg. In the Sterkfontein Caves, there was also evidence that humans used stone tools two million years ago and made fire 1.8 million years ago.

Route 62 – The worlds’ longest wine route

Meandering through various wine-growing areas, Route 62 is the longest wine route in the world. It is a beautiful and scenic route, passing through areas such as the Klein Karoo, Robertson, Wellington, Calitzberg, Worcester and Oudtshoorn where it is possible to ride an ostrich. The route stretches over a distance of about 850 km between Cape Town and Port Elizabeth as an alternative and highly recommendable route instead of the N2 highway.

The largest man-made forest is in Johannesburg

With over 6 million trees, Johannesburg is considered to have the “Largest man-made forest” in the world. Since the area of Johannesburg was originally grassland, all the trees were planted to provide wood for the growing mine industry in the 19th century. However, there are many discussions whether Johannesburg can officially claim this title, and if the trees in a city can be considered to be a forest. Urban myth or not, the city can definitely claim the title for being one of the most wooded cities in the world.

South Africa is home to the African penguin

Where in the world can you share a warm and sunny beach with a colony of penguins? Indeed, in South Africa. Various breeding colonies of African penguins, also known as the Jackass penguin, can be found along the western coast of South Africa. The most famous place to visit these birds is in Boulders beach, close to Simon’s town, south of Cape Town. Apart from visiting the penguins, there are plenty of great things to do in Cape Town. Cape Town is also home to some of the most stunning beaches in South Africa.

In 2006, South Africa became the 1st African country & the 5th country in the world to recognise same-sex marriage

South Africa is a world leader in LGBTQ+ rights, despite homophobia being extremely rife on the African continent. Discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation became illegal in 1996, and Gays have served openly in the military since 1998. Same-sex couples can marry, adopt children, and have equal access to IVF and surrogacy. That being said, LGBTQ+ people still face discrimination and personal attacks especially in rural areas.

Do you know any more cool facts about South Africa? Make sure to let us know. If you’re looking for some exciting career opportunities, make sure you click through to our job section.