10 Things You Might Not Know About South Africa

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South Africa is brimming with natural beauty, vibrant people, unrivalled wildlife, historical intrigue, world-class food, and award-winning wines. It really is a land of incredible contrasts and variety. The rainbow nation can honestly claim to have something for everyone. That said, in addition to all the things for which South Africa is well known there are some fun facts that many people might not be aware of.

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  • The Cape winelands embodies the longest wine route on the globe (approximately 1000 kilometres and spectacularly scenic)
  • Cycling enthusiasts can participate in the world’s largest individually timed cycle race (the Cape Argus) in Cape Town
  • South Africa was the first country to voluntarily dismantle its nuclear weapons programme
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  • Nelson Mandela and Desmond Tutu, both Nobel Peace Prize, winners lived not just in the same neighbourhood but on the same street in Soweto
  • An astonishing figure of more than 2000 shipwrecks are to be found off the South African coastline
  • Of the six floral kingdoms on earth, the Cape floral kingdom has the highest known concentration of plant species on the globe with fynbos, meaning “fine bush”, having more species diversity than a tropical rainforest
  • Hand-dug during the diamond rush of the 1870s, the ‘Big Hole’ in Kimberley is the size of eight football fields, which makes it the biggest hand-dug pit on earth
  • Arguably the world’s greatest ultramarathon, The Comrades Marathon is certainly the largest and oldest on the globe
  • The first human heart transplant was performed at Cape Town’s Groote Schuur Hospital by South African surgeon, Dr Chris Barnard
  • In South Africa you can spot the largest bird (ostrich), the fastest land animal (cheetah), the tallest animal (giraffe), the largest fish (whale shark), the largest antelope (eland), the biggest and heaviest land mammal (elephant)
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