Happy heritage day South Africa!
1. Kruger National Park supports the greatest variety of wildlife species on the African continent.
2. The deepest mine is a gold mine in South Africa. in 1977 the Western Deep Levels Mine reached a depth of 11,749 feet. Most mines descend to about 3,300 feet.
3. South Africa generates two-thirds of Africa’s electricity.
4. Blyde River Canyon is the third largest canyon in the world – and the largest green one. The Grand Canyon in the U.S. is the biggest, and the Fish River Canyon in Namibia the second, but both are very dry.
5. South Africa is home to the world’s smallest succulent plants (less than 0.39 inches) and the largest (the baobab tree).
6. Kimberley may have the biggest man-made hole in the world, but did you know that the southern Free State town of Jagersfontein has the deepest vertical man-made hole?
7. The only street in the world to house two Nobel Peace prizewinners is in Soweto. Nelson Mandela and Archbishop Desmond Tutu both have houses on Vilakazi Street in Soweto.
8. South Africa is the world’s leader in mining and minerals. It has nearly 90% of the platinum metals on earth, 80% of the manganese, 73% of the chrome, 45% of the vanadium and 41% of the gold.
9. South Africa has the oldest meteor scar in the world, just across the Vaal River near Parys, called the Vredefort Dome. This is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
10. South Africa has deserts, mountains, escarpments, plateaus, grasslands, bush, wetlands and subtropical forests.
11. Dr. Christiaan Barnard, at Groote Schuur Hospital in Cape Town, performed the first human heart transplant in the world in 1967. He was also the first to do a “piggyback” transplant in 1971, and he was the first to do a heart-lung transplant.
12. The world’s largest diamond was the Cullinan Diamond, found in South Africa in 1905. It weighed 3,106.75 carats uncut. It was cut into the Great Star of Africa, weighing 530.2 carats, the Lesser Star of Africa, which weighs 317.40 carats, and 104 other diamonds of nearly flawless color and clarity. They now form part of the British crown jewels.
13. Three of the five fastest land animals live in South Africa – the cheetah (63 miles per hour), the wildebeest, and the lion.
14. The oldest remains of modern humans were found in Klasies River Cave in the Eastern Cape. They are well over 100,000 years old.
15. There are more than 2,000 shipwrecks, dating back at least 500 years, off the South African coast. More than one of these, including the Waratah, simply vanished without a trace.
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