15 fun facts about South Africa, “the Rainbow Nation”

South Africa is a country at the southern tip of Africa. Because of its cultural and ethnic diversity, South Africa is often called “the Rainbow Nation” Here are 15 interesting facts about South Africa. Let’s read.

15 fun facts about South Africa, “the Rainbow Nation”


Flag of South Africa
Flag of South Africa

South Africa has an area of 1.22 million square kilometers. It is the ninth largest country in the African continent. The population of South Africa is over 60 million making it the fifth most populated country in Africa.

Capitals of South Africa

South Africa has three capital cities – Bloemfontein the judicial capital, Pretoria the executive capital, and Cape Town the legislative capital.

The oldest mountains in the world are in South Africa

Makhonjwa Mountains of South Africa
Makhonjwa Mountains

In the Makhonjwa Mountains of South Africa and Eswatini, some of the oldest preserved rocks are found. Rocks more than 3.2 billion years old have been discovered in these mountains. These mountains have thus earned the title of “oldest mountains on Earth”.

South Africa completely surrounds a country

Landscape of Lesotho

South Africa is one of the only two countries in the world that completely surround another country. Lesotho is an enclaved country completely surrounded by South Africa. Lesotho has an area of 30,355 square kilometers and a population of 2.2 million.

UNESCO World Heritage Sites in South Africa

There are 10 UNESCO World Heritage Sites in South Africa – 5 cultural, 4 natural, and 1 mixed. The most famous ones are iSimangaliso Wetland Park, Mapungubwe Cultural Landscape, Robben island, etc.

Sports in South Africa

Football (soccer) is the most popular sport in the country. Cricket and Rugby are also very popular in South Africa. In both cricket and Rugby, South Africa is among the top-performing nations.

South Africa is a biodiversity hotspot

South Africa is among the very few megadiverse countries in the world. It is estimated that over 100,000 species of flora and fauna are found within the country’s borders. This includes about 300 mammal species, over 850 bird species, and thousands of plant and insect species.

GDP of South Africa

South Africa is the country with the third-highest nominal GDP in Africa after Nigeria and Egypt.

The lion population in South Africa

A lion in a National Park in South Africa

With over 2,300 lions, South Africa has one of the highest populations of Lions in the world. Moreover, South Africa also has a stable population of Leopards and Cheetahs.

National animal of South Africa


Springbok, a fast-running antelope is the national animal of South Africa. With a running speed of nearly 90 km/hr, Springbok is one of the fastest animals on Earth.

The largest city in South Africa


Johannesburg is the largest city in South Africa. The city has a population of more than 5.6 million. Located in the Gauteng province, Johannesburg is among the top 10 largest cities in the whole of Africa.

The world’s first human-to-human heart transplant was performed in South Africa

Christiaan Barnard, a surgeon in Cape Town, performed the world’s first human-to-human heart transplant in 1967.

Official languages in South Africa

There are 11 official languages in South Africa- Afrikaans, English, Ndebele, Pedi, Sotho, Swati, Tsonga, Tswana, Venda, Xhosa, and Zulu. Among these languages, Zulu is the most spoken language. There are many other significantly spoken languages in South Africa as well which include languages spoken by immigrant communities like Hindi, Gujarati, Greek, etc.

Religion in South Africa

Christianity is the most followed religion in South Africa. As per a 2016 survey, Christianity is followed by 4/5th of the total population. Islam is the second most followed religion in South Africa followed by Hinduism.

Ethnicity in South Africa

As per the last census, about 80 percent of the population in South Africa is indigenous African. Coloured South Africans are nearly 9 percent of the population. Whites are the third most prevalent ethnic group followed by Indians and Asians.

Some basic facts about South Africa

CapitalsBloemfontein (judicial capital), Pretoria (executive capital), and Cape Town (legislative capital).
Largest cityJohannesburg
CurrencySouth African rand
National animalSpringbok
Area1.22 million square kilometers
PopulationOver 60 million
National treeReal yellowwood
National birdBlue crane

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