20 Lesser Known But Interesting Facts About South Africa


South Africa is one of the most developed countries in Africa with an amazing population of 50.59 million people making up slightly more than 5% of the total population of Africa. The country is located at the southern end of the African continent. It is officially recognized as the Republic of South Africa and shares borders on the north with Namibia, Botswana and Zimbabwe; Mozambique and Swaziland on the eastern part; the rest are water bodies.

See Also: Domestic And International Airports In South Africa

Even though it is surrounded by countries and water bodies, it is very interesting to know that South Africa completely encloses the country of Lesotho. This article highlights some of the most amazing, interesting and even weird facts about South Africa that most people who think they know the rainbow country so well do not know. Have fun.

Interesting Facts About South Africa

Geography And Sports:

Flag 3d map of South Africa, satellite outside.

1. Every year, South Africa moves about two inches farther away from South America as a subtle continuation of continental drift

2. Adams Calendar: Adams Calender is a circular stone structure that was found in 2005 in Mpumalanga. The functional and intact monolithic stone calendar has been dated back to about 750 000 years ago. There is an amazing concurrence: The location of the Adams calendar is along the same longitudinal axis as the Great pyramid and the great Zimbabwe ruins.

3. The country of Lesotho is completely landlocked within the shores of South Africa. Most people feel it should have been a part of South Africa.

4. South Africa was the first African country to host the FIFA Soccer World Cup in 2010. It is only the second country in the world to have hosted the Cricket, Rugby Union and Soccer World Cups, after England.

5. South Africa is home to the world’s largest individually timed cycle race (the Cape Argus Cycle Race), the world’s largest open water swim (the Midmar Mile) and the world’s largest ultra-marathon (the Comrades Marathon).



6. South Africa sold cars worth of $1.8 billion to the United States 2010, placing the country ahead of Italy as suppliers of cars to the United States market and this value is still expected to increase.

7. South Africa ranks 24th with respect to the number of tourist visitors arriving the  at 11.3 million (France 79 million, UK 28 million, Switzerland 8.5 million, India 5.2 million)

8. South Africa has 45 million active cell phones subscribers among the over 51 million people. This places SA among the top 5 countries with the highest cell phone penetration and coverage.

9. Two – thirds of every South African have colour TV, 9 telephone land lines are installed for every 100 people and there are 90 mobile phone subscribers per 100 population.

10. SA came 1st among upper middle-income economies in the World Bank “Connecting to Compete 2012: Trade Logistics in the Global Economy” report. Overall, SA was ranked at 23 out of the 155 countries included in the Logistics Performance Indicators (LPI). Its main competitor on the African continent, Nigeria, is ranked at 121.


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11. South Africa is quite a multi-ethnic and multicultural society with one of the most diversified cultures and languages in the world. There are 11 official languages recognized in the constitution of South Africa: English, Afrikaans, Ndebele, Pedi, Sotho, Venda, Xhosa, Swazi, Tsonga, Tswana and Zulu. There is no other country in the world that has as much official languages as South Africa.

12. According to the Open Budget Index of 2012 by the International Budget Partnership (IBP), South Africa has the second most transparent budget in the world and the best in Africa.

13. There are 3 official state capitals in South Africa: Pretoria (administrative), Cape Town (legislative), Bloemfontein (judicial)

14. There are 9 provinces in South Africa: Eastern Cape, Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal, Mpumulanga, Northern Cape, Limpopo, North West, Free State, Western Cape

15. South Africa is the only African country that is a member of the G20.

See Also: Interesting Things You must Know about South African Flag

Education And Crime:

South African Students

16. South Africa has a shocking reputation for murder. South Africa is the 6th African country with highest rates of homicide according to the latest reports of UNOC: United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime.

17. South Africa ranks 14th among countries with the highest number of jail facilities. South Africa has a total of 220 prisons.

18. Stellenbosch University was the first African university in the world to design and launch a micro satellite

19. The first MBA programme outside of the United States was started by the University of Pretoria in 1949.

20. In 1994 only 12,000 schools had electricity, In 2013, approximately 25,000 have access to electricity

Health And Food:


21. According to The Economist, South Africa is not among the list of 20 countries with brain drain people.

22. The Mompane (or Mompani) worms of Limpopo is a well deserved meal in South Africa. Apart from being a great source of protein when it meets the ill fate of ravaging humans, it turns out to be a beautiful moth. The Mompane is often eaten as it is or fried and prepared into a crispy snack.

23. There are 2 Cape Town restaurants among the top 50 restaurants of the world. La Colombe restaurant in Constantia, Cape Town, was voted the 12th best and Le Quartier Francais in Franschhoek came in at 31.

24. The proportion of the South African population using improved drinking water sources was 94% in 2013, up from 83% in 1990. (WHO/UNICEF, March 2012)

25. The life expectancy of an average South African has increased to 60 in 2012 from 54 in 2009, according to The Lancet health journal.

Social And Infrastructure:


26. The country loves movies and ranks 16th as per cinema visits per 1000 population.

27. There are 727 Airports found in South Africa, 143 of these airports have paved runways.

28. The country is the first, and up till date, the only country to build its own nuclear weapons and to voluntarily dismantle its nuclear weapons programme. There is no other country in history that has done so.

29. The Shoe House of Mpumalanga: This easily qualifies for MTV’s extreme cribs; a house built into the shape of a shoe and easily seen at a visit to Abel Erasmus Pass in Mpumalanga.

30. Two South African cities were voted amongst the world’s top 100 Most livable Cities in the 2010 study conducted by Mercer Human Resource Consulting. Cape Town was ranked in 86th place and Johannesburg 90th.


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