(Image Source: CapetownVillas.net)
South Africa lies on the southernmost tip of Africa. It is the second most visited country on the continent. There is so much to discover in this land. It is filled with amazing natural wonders and beautiful wildlife. South Africa even has three different capital cities (Cape Town, Pretoria, and Bloemfontein). So if you are thinking about a trip to South Africa, here are a few secrets about the country.
South Africa Has Over 11 Official Languages
South Africa is home to over 56 million people. People from all over the world have brought their own traditions, culture, and languages to this nation. In fact, the country is filled with so much diversity that it has been named the “Rainbow Nation.” The 11 recognized languages are Afrikaans, English, Xhosa, Ndebele, Northern Sotho, Sotho, Swazi, Tsonga, Tswana, Venda, and Zulu. Zulu is spoken by around 22.7 percent of South Africans. Don’t worry about a communication breakdown. English is spoken throughout the whole country and is widely used in the business sector.
They Have a Famous Road
Route 66 has captured the hearts of drivers in the United States. South Africa has something similar for the intrepid traveler. It is called Route 62 and stretches over 500 miles throughout the South African countryside. It starts from Cape Town and ends in Port Elizabeth. This route is routinely named one of the best road trips in the world. You can find anything from wine tours to safari rides along the road. If you are looking for a great way to see South Africa, jump in your car and hit the route.
South Africa is an Animal Lover’s Dream
South Africa is known for their abundant wildlife. There are many places to stop and visit the unique creatures that inhabit the land. There are more than 700 public animal reserves and 200 private lands for wildlife to roam free. There are even safaris available for those who want a closer look. Kruger National Park is the largest reserve in the country. There are over 150 species of animals, 500 bird species, and 100 reptile species in the park. South Africa is also home to the largest land mammal, the elephant. The largest bird (the ostrich), the tallest animal (the giraffe), the fastest land mammal (the cheetah), and the largest fish (the whale shark) all call South Africa home.
Seasons are Different
In the United States, the summer months are typically between June through August. South Africa enjoys their winter season during those same months. The weather in Cape Town is typically dry and cool. The city will see the majority of its yearly rain during the winter. The best times to visit South Africa are September through October. The weather is usually considered the best of the year with mild temperatures.
South Africa is Home To Two Nobel Peace Prize Laureates
Not only is South Africa considered home to the winners, but they both lived on the same street. Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Nelson Mandela lived on Vilakazi Street in Johannesburg. In 1984, Tutu was awarded the honor for his opposition to apartheid. Mandela won the Nobel Prize for his work in 1993. He was instrumental in ending apartheid and helped to establish democracy in the country. You can visit the house of Mandela as it is now a museum.
Table Mountain is Considered One of the Oldest Mountains in the World
Table Mountain is older than even the Alps and the Andes. This mountain is over 260 million years old. The layers of sandstone were flattened by moving glaciers. It has created a spectacular mountain that overlooks the city of Cape Town. If you are looking to explore Table Mountain, there are over 900 different trails available to hikers.
South Africa is the “Cradle of Mankind”
The oldest hominid remains were found in South Africa. Archaeologists can trace human evolution back to at least 2.5 million years. The area dubbed the “Cradle of Mankind” is located 35 miles northwest of Johannesburg. UNESCO declared the land a World Heritage Site in 1999. Archeologists have found evidence of man’s early use of fire and tools in the limestone cave system.
South Africa is a country that is full of numerous places to explore. It has many unique features that you cannot find in any other place in the world. From mankind’s beginnings to the unusual species of the animal kingdom, South Africa is a hidden gem. If you are looking for a trip that is out of the ordinary, put down South Africa as a potential destination.
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