What is South Africa best known for?
What is South Africa known and famous for?? Although most of you have heard about it, and you probably already know a few things about the country, there are many other famous things about South Africa that you haven´t listened yet and that will be useful to plan a trip to South Africa. You may know about their animals, about Cape Town or Kruger national park or even about the famous history of South Africa but believe us, that is just a small part of all the things you should know about South Africa. To help you with it, we have decided to do a list of “What is South Africa best known for?” including the 20 most important facts about South Africa:
All about the famous places of South Africa
When asking yourself What is South Africa known for ? You need to have in mind the huge variety of places you can find. From green areas during the whole year, to the Savannah of South Africa and more dessert areas, great beaches and nice places near the ocean and many more… Next we will tell you all about the South African most famous places.
1) How many capitals does
South Africa have??
To help you understand how the country works you need to know about the three capitals of South Africa. Yes, that´s right, we know most of the countries just have one, but in South Africa you can find three capitals:
- Pretoria is the administrative capital, where you will find the president of the cabinet and the executive power.
- The second capital is Cape Town, which is the legislative capital, where the national assembly is located.
- And last of all, Bloemfontein which is named the judicial capital.
2) The 9 provinces of South Africa
There are 9 main provinces in South Africa:
- Eastern Cape: capital Bhisho
- Western Cape: Cape Town
- Northern Cape: Kimberley
- North West: Mahikeng
- Limpopo – Polokwane
- Mpumalanga: Nelspruit
- KwaZulu-Natal: Pietermaritzburg
- Free State: Bloemfontein
- Gauteng: Johannesburg
3) Must see places in South Africa
We know South Africa is one of the biggest countries in Africa, and it´s hard to see all the places or even choose between the most beautiful ones, but there are some that you can not miss, here are the must see places in South Africa:
In our opinion Cape Town was one of the most beautiful cities we have ever visited. Cape Town is a must, missing Cape Town should be illegal. Although you may need 10 days in Cape Town to see it all, even if you just have two days it will be more than enough to realise about the beauty of the city. From the penguin beach in Cape Town, to the views from the Table Mountain or the Cape of Good Hope…those are just a few of the places you have to visit in Cape Town, but there are many more!!
If you are thinking about the history of South Africa and the apartheid, then Johannesburg is your place. It is said that Johannesburg is not a safe city, and it´s true you need to be careful. There are two different areas, the centre of the city and the modern part. Of course, if you want to feel safe going through the modern area is the best, but then you will be missing a lot about the historical parts and the important places to visit in Johannesburg.
A visit to the Kruger National Park:
Visiting Kruger national park, is one of the things you must do in South Africa. Seeing wild animals, seeing the typical incredible sunrise of the Savannah and listening to the stories the ranger will tell you on the ride are one of those things you would never forget. We totally recommend you going to Kruger but always remember to be respectful with their environment, as there are not that many wildlife places in the world, and we need to protect them!
4) Hidden gems in South Africa
If you want to do something different than the rest of the tourists, or you have a lot of time in South Africa and want to go deep on it, there are a lot of hidden gems in South Africa. Our favourite and the one is getting more and more popular (visit it as soon as possible) is the Blyde river canyon. The Blyde river canyon is one of the biggest canyons in the world, but the best of it are its rock formations.
Another hidden gem of South Africa is the north part of the Kruger park. As you may know most of the people go to the southern area of Kruger national park as it has an easier access, but the truth is that there is a huge diversity on the north.
Other hidden gems are Augrabies Falls and Howick Falls, which are beautiful.
5) Home to 10 UNESCO world heritage sites
Because its natural resources, there has always been a huge inhabited land in South Africa, that is why now we can find many nature areas, including these 10 UNESCO world heritage sites:
- Vredefort Dome
- Fossil Hominid Sites of South Africa
- Richtersveld Cultural and Botanical Landscape
- Mapungubwe Cultural Landscape
- Maloti-Drakensberg Park
- Barberton Makhonjwa Mountains
- Cape Floral Region Protected Areas
- iSimangaliso Wetland Park
- Khomani Cultural Landscape
- Robben Island
The famous animals of South Africa
When thinking about what is South Africa known for, we all think about their animals. And that´s because South Africa is one of the few countries on earth where you can still find wildlife! Actually, animals and wildlife are the 1st reason for tourists to go to the country and we can´t blame them, because having an encounter with animals in the wild is one of the best experiences you can have!
6) Where to see wildlife in south Africa??
Once you are already in South Africa, you want to know where are the places where chances of seeing wildlife are higher. Definitely, you want to visit Kruger National Park and do a safari, over there you will see plenty of them (some of the animals are easier than others). Other National parks as Karoo National Park or Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park are also great to see animals. But the best of South Africa is that wildlife is everywhere, you can spot baboons or zebras in Cape of Good Hope, how impressive is that? Another famous place to see animals in South Africa is false bay, where you may be able to see sharks, wales or seals on the ocean!
7) Incredible amount of animal species in South Africa
There are over 230 species of mammals and more than 850 species of birds in South Africa. Of course, you will be able to see the big five in South Africa, but what really is impressive is that you will find many rare animals in South Africa, like the Pangolin, the Aardvark or the wild dogs.
8) Famous South African penguins beach
If you are not happy enough seeing all those wild animals, there is one surprise more for you. Although penguins are known for living in the artic, they seem to like Cape Town beaches. That´s right you will be able to see wild penguins in South Africa! The most famous place to see the penguins in South Africa is Boulders Beach in Cape Town.
Important history of South Africa
It´s not all about animals and beautiful places in South Africa. One of the most famous things about South Africa is its history. You may know about Nelson Mandela and about the Apartheid of South Africa, but there is more! One of the reasons why the history of South Africa is so important is because it had a huge impact in the whole world!
9) Facts about the apartheid in
Sadly, one of the most famous things about South Africa is the apartheid, which started in 1948 and ended in early 90´s. Since this wasn´t that long ago, you can still se the consequences in the streets. The apartheid was a political (and social) system which was based on racial segregation, all non-white people were forced to have a separated life from the white ones, including job, transport and living areas.
10) South African apartheid rebellion
In 1976, the firs protests occurred in Soweto led by black children. It is said that over 20.000 students were in the protests and over 700 of them were killed by the police. The apartheid finished on the 27th of April. It was another huge example of rebellion for the rest of the world, and definitely one of the most important facts of the South African history.
Locals and famous personalities of South Africa
There are many famous people and personalities in South Africa, bet you already have some names in mind. Sport player, politicians, musicians and more… But when talking about the people of South Africa we also need to mention their locals, if you come from out of Africa, you will realised about how different is their culture and traditions.
11) Nelson Mandela,
the first black president
It´s a symbol of the country, there are movies and books about him. The reason why he is so famous and popular is because he was the leader of the rebellion when the apartheid happened. All around the country you will find many huge statues of Nelson Mandela. In 1994 Nelson Mandela became the first black president in South Africa.
12) Other famous people in South Africa
Other famous people in South Africa are Steve Nash, a well-known retired basketball player of the NBA. Charlize Theron, who is by the way the first South African who has won an Academy Award in a major acting category. Other famous people were politicians or activists as well, like Desmond Tutu or Winnie Madikizela-Mandela.
13) South Africa locals
Although it´s said that South Africa is a dangerous country, when we were over there, we just had great meetings with their locals. Uber drivers, people in the streets…most of the people in the street smiles at you and normally say hi, they expect the same for you, so don´t be rude! The only time we didn´t feel that comfortable was in Pretoria, but at that moment there were some political strikes in that area, so it makes sense people were not that happy.
What is South Africa famous food?
Anoter thing on our list of “What is South Africa known for” is its food! Every time you visit a new country it is recommended to try their food. Of course, in South Africa the food is way different than in most of your countries. Since in South Africa there has been many cultures and groups of people, the mix of all their food has made them have an unique gastronomy in the world.
14) Facts about South African food
You should know that as we told you, there are many types of food in South Africa. There are some really “weird” dishes like the fried caterpillars for the brave ones, or if you don´t want to risk you can always find common restaurants with burgers or spaghetti.
Their dinner time is around 18Pm so be ready to eat early, because you won’t find many restaurants open after 21Pm.
15) Popular dishes of South Africa
These are some of the most popular dishes of South Africa, but if you don´t see any of your favourites after your visit to the country, let us know in the comments so everyone can try it!
The Boerewors is a type of sausage made of pork and spices (roasted coriander seeds, black pepper, allspice and cloves) that can be done in a oven or an electric griller.
The Chakalaka is probably the most common dish of South Africa. It´s a mix of chopped tomato, carrots, chillies, garlic, bakes beans and hot curry. The Chakalaka is served as a side in most of the meals of South Africa.
The Biltong is for many considered the most delicious food and everyone who visits the country wants to try it. It´s cured meat (generally beef) and many types of meat are used in the process, from beef to fillets of Ostrich.
Other 5 Interesting facts about South Africa
These were some of the most famous and important things to know before going to the country, but here are other 5 interesting facts about South Africa that you probably don´t know about:
16) South Africa is rich in
minerals and mining
One of the most interesting facts about South Africa is that although it is definitely not a rich country, there are many minerals and actually is the leader with 90% of the platinum metals in the world and about 40% of the gold on earth!
17) South Africa is one of the few African countries with stable electricity
South Africa is not just one of the few countries with stable electricity, it´s also where two-thirds of Africa´s electricity is generated.
18) South Africa´s drinking water is safe
But not just safe…The water of South Africa is the third best and safest water in the world that is ready to drink.
19) South African 11 official languages
South Africa is the country where most languages are spoken. These are the 11 official languages in South Africa: English, Afrikaans, Sesotho, Setswana, Sepedi (also known as Sesotho sa Leboa), Siswati, Tshivenda, isiNdebele, isiXhosa and isiZulu and Xitsonga.
These are just the official languages, but in the whole country you can find thirty living laguages.
20) Tourism growth in South Africa
To finish our list of the 20 interesting facts about South Africa we are going to give you a big tip. In case you didn´t know the tourism of South Africa has been increasing a lot lately. In 2007 about 9 million tourists visited South Africa which was 3 times more than in 1994, in 2017 about 16million people visited the country and it is said that there will be about 21 million tourists in 2021. What this means is that as tourism is increasing, the best time to visit South Africa is now, because tomorrow there will be more tourists than today!
Hey! This is Alfonso and Gonzalo, “The Traveler Twins”. Guess you know why that name, but in case you don´t… well, we are twins that travel!
We are 21 years old Spanish brothers who dropped out of college and left everything aside to foucus on our travel photography and film making, our passion!