“The bushveld is a place where the human element indeed shrinks into utter insignificance, and grips you and subdues you and makes you one with yourself” – Jan Christiaan Smuts, South African Prime Minister – 1870 – 1950
In my last blog, I wrote about a few of the reasons that make our country the incredible place that it is – a blog inspired by a talk I had attended at Londolozi by Steuart Pennington, CEO of South Africa: The Good News.
The blog mentioned some of the natural wonders – The Blyde River Canyon and the eight World Heritage sites of South Africa as well as the leafy sidewalks and gardens of Johannesburg – recognised as the world’s largest man-made forest. Those are just a few reasons and I promised to mention a few more as we continue our series…
Below and in no specific order of preference:
Five Impressive Facts About South Africa:
The Cape Floral Kingdom – The Richest of the World’s Six Floral Kingdoms
With the beginning of spring it seems appropriate to mention that South Africa, namely the Cape Floral Kingdom, has the richest of the world’s six floral kingdoms. The Table Mountain National Park in the Western Cape has more plant species in its 22 000 hectares than New Zealand or the British Isles. It contains nearly 20% of the continent’s flora of which 68% of its species are endemic (plant species that only occur in this region and are not found anywhere else in the world).
From August through to the beginning of October, the Cape regions of South Africa have some of the best wildflower sightings. Popular places for flower spotting are along the West Coast of South Africa in the West Coast National Park and in the Northern Cape in the Namaqualand National Park.
The World’s Second Highest Waterfall
South Africa holds another world record with the second highest waterfall situated within the Royal Natal National Park in the Drakensberg. The Tugela Falls consist of five drops with the highest sheer drop at 441 meters. The highest waterfall in the world is the Angel Falls in Venezuela – there have however been many disputes as to which one is actually the tallest. The Angel Falls is universally regarded as having the tallest single uninterrupted drop of any waterfall in the world.
World Beating Wines
South Africa’s reputation for producing excellent wines is well known and this has been recognised with many wine awards, most notably in both the red and white single varietal categories that have regularly won top prizes in the prestigious World Wine Awards. South Africa also has the longest wine route (and we could also argue the most beautiful) in the world along Route 62 (850 km), stretching from Cape Town to Port Elizabeth.
At Londolozi we have a close relationship with Graham Beck wines and the Graham Beck Brut N/V is our house MCC – this is also the same sparkling wine that First Lady Michelle Obama elected for her husband President Barrack Obama’s celebrations on his election night, and the same wine that Nelson Mandela used to toast to his inauguration in 1994.
World’s Best Land-Based Whale-Watching Spot
The seaside town of Hermanus on the southern coast of the Western Cape is a prime spot for whale watching and the best land-based spot to see the giants of the sea as they come to the waters of the Cape to mate, calve and nurse their young. The whales can be seen from as early as June but usually depart by December each year – the most common whale to spot is the Southern right but you’ll also be able to see humpback and Bryde’s whales. The coastal town also has its very own Whale Crier – the world’s only one – who blows a horn when whales are sighted. The first whale crier Pieter Classen began at his post in 1992 and continued until 1998. His role has since been taken over but the job of the Whale Crier remains…
The Greatest Shoal on Earth
The Sardine run occurs every year during May through July when millions of sardines spawn in the cool waters of the Agulhas bank. A cold northerly current causes the sardines to move north from the Agulhas bank up to Mozambique. While not much is known about this phenomenon, it is believed that the water temperature has to drop below 21 degrees Celsius in order for the migration to take place. The sheer numbers of sardines invites a feeding frenzy to take place and superpods of dolphins, thousands of sharks, whales and gannets find their place in the waters and chase after, gorging mouthfuls of fish.
We will be continuing our South Africa is Awesome series – look out for our follow up blogs. Can you think of reasons that make South Africa simply amazing? Share your thoughts with us below, we’d love to know.
Written by Kate Collins, Londolozi Blog Editor