10 Mega-Cool Facts about South Africa

Check out these 10 mega-cool facts about South Africa and you will beam with pride for your country. South Africa rocks!

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1. Rovos Rail

best luxury train travel in the world rovos rail south africa

"We lost so much money in the early days and we knew nothing about hospitality. In my naivety I believed what we were offering was so unique that tickets would sell easily. Boy, was I mistaken." Rohan Vos, owner and CEO of Rovos Rail Tours.

On 29th April 2019, the Rovos Rail celebrates three decades in South Africa with a new route, Trail of Two Oceans. The maiden voyage will launch in July 2019, starting in Dar es Salaam and travelling to Lobito in Angola. It will be the first time in history that a passenger train will travel the east-to-west copper trail.

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2. Route 62

Route 62 wine route south africa

The French may love their wine, but in South Africa, wine takes you on a journey, literally! Route 62 is the longest wine route in the world stretching over 850 km between Cape Town and Port Elizabeth.

The scenic route passes through Klein Karoo, Robertson, Wellington, Calitzberg, Worcestor, and Oudsthroon, where you can even ride an Ostrich.

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3. The Hummer 3

GM South Africa produces Hummer H3

General Motors South Africa is the only place outside USA to build the Hummer 3. General Motors SA began production of the popular American sports utility vehicle at a plant in Port Elizabeth in 2006. The plant produces a right-hand drive version for export into right-hand markets in Europe and Asia as well as for local sale.

"The GM team in South Africa has demonstrated to the world that they have the people, the leadership, the technology and the skills to execute the type of automobile engineering and assembly that is required in the new global economy," - Maureen Kempston Darkes, president of GM Latin America, Africa and the Middle East.

4. No nukes

South Africa voluntarily abandoned Nuclear Weapons programme

South Africa is the only country in the world that has voluntarily abandoned its Nuclear Weapons Programme. South Africa ended its nuclear weapons programme in 1989.

All the bombs (six constructed and one that was under construction) were dismantled and South Africa acceded to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons when South African Ambassador to the United States, Harry Schwarz, signed the treaty in 1991.

5. The CAT Scan

Cromack (L) Hounsfield (R)

South Africans invented the CAT Scan. The computed axial tomography scan, or CAT scan, was developed at Tufts University in the UK by South African Physicist, Allan Cormack, and British Electrical Engineer, Godfrey Hounsfield, of EMI Laboratories. Their achievement secured them the 1979 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine.

6. FIFA World Cup

FIFA World Cup 2010

South Africa is the first African country to host a FIFA World Cup (in 2010), and is one of two countries in the world to have hosted the cricket, rugby and soccer world cups (with England).

7. Macadamia nuts

South Africa largest producer of macadamia nuts

South Africa is the largest macadamia nut producer in the world with production increasing by 4000 hectares a year. They're mostly grown in the Limpopo region because they do well in more tropical areas where avocados, papayas, mangoes and bananas are grown.

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8. Bloukraans Bridge

Bloukraans Bridge Bungee

Adventure seekers from all over the world flock to leap off the Bloukraans Bridge, the highest commercial bungee jump in the world, that is 216 metres above the Bloukraans River. The bridge is situated in the heart of the Garden Route and forms part of the N2 Highway connecting Cape Town with Durban.

9. The Great White Shark

Great White Shark

In 1991, South Africa became the first country in the world to legally protect the Great White Shark. If caught or killed unintentionally, a Great White Shark must be kept in a whole state and handed over to a fisheries officer. No Great White Shark, part or product thereof, may be sold. In 2005, the Whale Shark and the Basking Shark were added to the prohibited species list.

10. Vilakazi Street

Vilakazi Street

There is no other street in the world that can claim to have been home to two Nobel Peace Prize winners. Vilakazi Street in Soweto was home to both late president Nelson Mandela, and Archbishop Desmond Tutu.

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