South Africa is my home and I will always have a great love for it. My country has a rich history, beautiful scenery and it’s home to wonderful and caring people.
It’s a fact that SA has its fair share of crime, corruption and other things that might turn anyone into an instant pessimist, but in my mind, there’s still a lot more good things that are outweighing and beating the bad things.
Here’s a collection of 101 Interesting Facts about South Africa
1. It might be struggling currently, but the South African Rand was the best performing currency against the US dollar between 2002 and 2005 (according to the Bloomberg Currency Scoreboard).
2. Cape Town has the 5th best blue sky in the world (according to the UK’s National Physical Laboratory).
3. Cape Town’s Castle of Good Hope is the oldest building in South Africa. It was built between 1666 and 1679 by the Dutch East India company.
4. Pretoria (SA’s capital city) was founded in 1855 by Marthinus Pretorius. He named it after his father, Andries Pretorius.
5. SA has the 41st biggest economy in the world with a Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of US $280 billion.
6. Cape Town was founded in 1652. It was originally established by Jan Van Riebeeck as a trading post / halfway point for ships travelling to the East.
7. South Africa is home to the largest wine cellar in the world. The KWV cellars in Paarl cover an area of 22 hectares (54 acres) and has a capacity of 121 million litres.
8. South Africa is 5 times the size of Japan, and 3 times the size of Texas.
9. Gauteng is SA’s smallest province but produces 34% of South Africa’s GDP. (according to Stats SA)
10. Chris Hani-Baragwanath Hospital in Soweto is the third biggest hospital in the world.
11. The Johannesburg Stock Exchange is the oldest existing and largest stock exchange in Africa.
12. Durban is the largest port in Africa and the 9th largest port in the world.
13. SA’s biggest city, Johannesburg, was founded in 1886 (thanks to the Witwatersrand Gold Rush).
14. 100,000 people were already living in Johannesburg by 1896.
15. SA generates two-thirds of Africa’s electricity (thanks Eskom).
16. The number of tourists visiting South Africa has grown a lot since 1994. By 2007 it was at 9 million (3 times more than in 1994) and 2017 figures indicate that 16.2 million tourists visited SA. This number should reach 21 million by 2021.
17. In 2002, South Africa was the world’s fastest growing tourist destination. In 2006, South Africa’s tourism grew at 3 times the global average.
18. J.R.R. Tolkien (the author of the Lord of the Rings books) was born in Bloemfontein (in the Free State province) in 1892.
19. Elon Musk (the genius behind SpaceX and Tesla and the richest man in the world) was born in Pretoria, Gauteng in 1971.
20. Charlize Theron (the famous Hollywood actress) was born in Benoni, Gauteng in 1972. She won the Academy Award for Best Actress in 2004.