Facts about South Africa

Fact: Boulders Beach in South Africa is home to penguins

In this article you will find many interesting facts about South Africa. We even included a quiz to test your knowledge about the country. You can go to the quiz by clicking here.

  1. Languages: If you find it hard enough to be in a country where, for example, three languages are spoken, then South Africa is probably not the country for you. There are 11 official languages. And that’s not even counting the dialects.
  2. Ethnicity: A whopping 80 % of the country’s population are black people, while whites only make up 8%. This makes it even more incredible that the white oppression of the black people in the country, known as Apartheid, could take place.
  3. Riches: South Africa also has the distinction of having an underground treasure trove of riches. Not only can some of the world’s largest diamonds be found here, and there are also large collections of precious metals, but over 40% of the world’s gold is mined here.
  4. Penguins: Many people associate South Africa with sun and warmth, but if you travel to Boulders beach, you’ll encounter something you probably wouldn’t expect to see in Africa: Penguins. They reportedly arrived in 1982 and have been living there ever since.
  5. Shipwreck: Throughout history, it has not been easy to cross the southern tip of Africa by ship. As a result, many ships have run aground here or succumbed to storms. In fact, over 3,000 shipwrecks can be found on the South African coast, many of which date back over 500 years.
  6. Nuclear: Not only was South Africa the first country in Africa – and the fifth worldwide – to make same-sex marriage legal, South Africa was also the first country to voluntarily shelve its nuclear program.
  7. Illness: Although South Africa is very modern and progressive, the country also has an unfortunate record. It is home to one of the most prevalent cases of HIV in the world. In fact, so many people in the country carry HIV that it’s equivalent to one in five of the country’s population having HIV.
  8. Surgery: South Africa may not have been the place where this was expected to happen, but it was nevertheless the site of the world’s first successful heart transplant. It happened in 1967.
  9. Nobel Prize: In South Africa, both former and now deceased President Nelson Mandela and human rights activist Desmond Tutu have received the Nobel Peace Prize. It’s not that unusual for a country to have had multiple Nobel Prize winners, but what’s crazy is that they both lived on the same street.
  10. Flowers: Table Mountain in South Africa is an impressive sight in itself, but the mountain is also home to many types of flowers. In fact, there are so many different kinds on the mountain that it’s more than what you can find in England, Ireland, Wales and Scotland – combined.

Quiz about South Africa

 

FAQ about the 3 capitals of South Africa

 

How many capitals do South Africa have?

3 capitals: Pretoria is the administrative capital. Cape Town is the seat of Parliament and thus the legislative capital. Bloemfontein has traditionally been regarded as the judicial capital. The largest city, and site of highest court is Johannesburg.

 

Did South Africa always have 3 capitals?

No, prior to the formation of the Union of South Africa, Bloemfontein and Pretoria were the capital cities. When the Union of South Africa was established in 1910, there was a heated debate over where to locate the nation’s capital. The present capital cities are the result of a deal to distribute a power balance across the nation.

 

What is the famous capital of South Africa?

Cape Town is the most famous capital of South Africa.

 

What is the oldest capital of South Africa?

The “Mother City,” Cape Town, is the oldest city in South Africa and has a more than 300-year-old cultural legacy.

 

Which capital city is the richest in South Africa?

Johannesburg, the commercial hub of South Africa, continues to be the richest city in the continent. According to the World’s Wealthiest Cities Report, it is also known as the “City of Gold,” and it is where the majority of the continent’s dollar billionaires reside.

Geographic facts

  • Location: South Africa, at the southern tip of the continent in Africa
  • Country borders: Botswana 1,969 km, Lesotho 1,106 km, Mozambique 496 km, Namibia 1,005 km, Eswatini 438 km, Zimbabwe 230 km (total: 5,244 km)
  • Coastline: 2,798 km
  • Climate: Mostly semi-arid; subtropical along the east coast; sunny days, cool nights
  • Landscape: Large inner plateau surrounded by high hills and a narrow coastal plain
  • Lowest point: Atlantic Ocean: 0 m
  • Highest point: Njesuthi: 3,408 m
  • Natural resources: Gold, chromium, antimony, coal, iron ore, manganese, nickel, phosphates, tin, rare earths, uranium, pearl diamonds, platinum, copper, vanadium, salt, natural gas
  • Largest city: Johannesburg
  • Capital city: Pretoria (administrative), Cape Town (legislative), Bloemfontein (judicial)
  • Total area (square kilometers): 1.219.090,00 (2021)
  • Land areas (km2): 1.204.427,39 (2015)
  • Urban areas (km2): 15.118,66 (2015)
  • Agricultural land (km2): 963.410,00 (2021)
  • Agricultural area (% of total area): 79,42 (2021)
  • Forest area (% of land area): 14,03 (2021)
  • Plant species (higher), endangered: 153,00 (2018)
  • CO2 emissions (metric tons per capita): 6,69 (2020)

Demographic facts

Population

  • Population density (people per km2 total area): 48,96 (2021)
  • Population of largest city: 6.198.016,00 (2023)
  • Population growth (annual %): 0,84 (2022)
  • Population, total: 59.893.885,00 (2022)
  • Population growth in urban areas (annual %): 68,34 (2022)
  • Population in urban areas (% of total population): 1,56 (2022)
  • Population in rural areas (% of total population): 31,67 (2022)
  • Population growth in rural areas (annual %): -0,69 (2022)
  • Etniske grupper: 80.9% Black African, 8.8% Colored, 7.8% White, 2.5% Indian/Asian
  • Sprog: 24.7% isiZulu (official), 15.6% isiXhosa (official), 12.1% Afrikaans (official), 9.8% Sepedi (official), 8.9% Setswana (official), 8.4% English (official), 8% Sesotho (official), 4% Xitsonga (official), 2.6% siSwati (official), 2.5% Tshivenda (official), 1.6% isiNdebele (official), 1.9% other (includes Khoi, Nama and San languages)
  • Religioner: 86% Christian, 5.4% traditional African religions, 1.9% Muslim, 1.5% other, 5.2% none
  • Net immigration: 58.496,00 (2023)

Birth and death rates

  • Fertility rate, total (births per woman): 2,37 (2021)
  • Birth rate, gross (per 1,000 inhabitants): 19,82 (2021)
  • Teenage mothers (% of women aged 15-19 who have had children or are pregnant): 15,60 (2016)
  • Death rate, gross (per 1,000 people): 11,43 (2021)
  • Life expectancy at birth, women (years): 59,46 (2021)
  • Life expectancy at birth, men (years): 62,34 (2021)
  • Life expectancy at birth, all (years): 237,00 (2022)
  • Mortality caused by traffic accidents (per 100,000 inhabitants): 22,20 (2019)
  • Mortality, women (per 1,000 adult women): 294,82 (2021)
  • Mortality, male (per 1,000 adult males): 399,44 (2021)
  • Suicide rate, women (per 100,000 women): 9,80 (2019)
  • Mortality, infant (per 1,000 live births): 26,40 (2021)

Work, income and education

  • Wage earners, total (% of total labor force): 71,01 (2022)
  • Income share of the highest 10%: 50,50 (2014)
  • Income share of the lowest 10%: 0,90 (2014)
  • Unemployment, total (% of total labor force): 28,84 (2022)
  • Labor force, total: 65,00 (2021)
  • Workforce with basic education (% of the workforce): 67,96 (2022)
  • Labor force with medium education (% of labor force): 25.158.403,00 (2023)
  • Number of poor cf. national poverty limits (% of the population): 55,50 (2014)
  • Proportion of the population with moderate or severe food insecurity (%): 20,30 (2021)
  • School enrolments, primary school (gross %): 98,12 (2021)
  • Youth unemployment, all young people (% of total labor force aged 15 - 24): 49,57 (2022)
  • Young people not in education, employment or training, total (% of all young people): 32,92 (2022)
  • Literacy/literacy, total adults (% of population over 15): 90,00 (2021)

    Spending

  • Household (and NPIS) consumption expenditure (US$): 610.159.473.577,93 (2022)
  • Electricity consumption (kWh per inhabitant): 4.183,83 (2014)
  • Inhabitants using the Internet (% of the population): 72,31 (2021)
  • Mobile subscriptions (per 100 people): 167,40 (2022)
  • Number of smokers, total (over 15 years): 20,30 (2020)
  • Alcohol consumption per capita (litres of pure alcohol, expected estimates, +15 years): 8,77 (2019)

Business and tourism

  • Employers, total (% of total labor force): 4,77 (2022)
  • New companies (number of registrations): 486.900,00 (2020)
  • New businesses (new registrations per 1,000 inhabitants aged 15 - 64): 12,50 (2020)
  • Listed companies, total: 494.755,92 (2022)
  • Business conditions (0 = lowest grade to 100 = highest grade): 20.953,00 (2021)
  • International tourism, number of arrivals: 3.886.600,10 (2020)
  • International tourism, number of departures: 49,37 (2022)
  • Railway lines (total route kilometers): 20.953,00 (2021)
  • Railways, number of passengers transported (million passenger-kilometres): 3.501,96 (2020)

Health

  • Hospital beds (per 1,000 inhabitants): 2,30 (2010)
  • Suicide rate, men (per 100,000 men): 37,60 (2019)
  • Nurses and midwives (per 1,000 inhabitants): 5,01 (2018)
  • Doctors (per 1,000 inhabitants): 0,81 (2021)
  • Prevalence of HIV, total (% of population aged 15 - 49): 183,68 (2022)

Facts South Africa's economy

GDP and GNI

  • BNP (US$): 5,07 (2022)
  • GDP growth (annual %): 67,02 (2019)
  • GDP per capita (US$): 405.270.850.099,39 (2022)
  • GDP, KPP (US$): 1,91 (2022)
  • BNI (US$): 6.766,48 (2022)
  • GNI growth (annual %): 953.536.128.641,09 (2022)
  • Gross savings (% of GDP): 396.810.059.371,41 (2022)

Inflation, interest rates and consumer prices

  • Deposit rate (%): 15,29 (2020)
  • Lending rate (%): 7,04 (2022)
  • Inflation, consumer prices (annual %): 24,68 (2022)
  • Consumer Price Index (2010 = 100): 183,68 (2022)

Trade and production

  • Trade (% of GDP): 17,17 (2022)
  • Vareeksport (US$): 12,27 (2022)
  • Vareimport (US$): 49.714.380.927,06 (2022)
  • Food exports (% of merchandise exports): 10,39 (2022)
  • Food imports (% of goods imports): 6,38 (2022)
  • Food Production Index (2004 - 2006 = 100): 113,24 (2022)
  • Index of animal production (2004 - 2006 = 100): 4,00 (2019)

Industry

  • Industry (including construction), value added (% of GDP): 1,76 (2022)
  • Industry (including construction), value added (US$): 14,87 (2022)
  • Industry, value added (% of GDP): 8,79 (2022)
  • Industry, value added (US$): 103,24 (2022)

Military

  • Armed forces, total: 89.000,00 (2020)
  • Military expenditure (% of GDP): 122.901.000.000,00 (2022)
  • Military Expenditure (US$): 136.208.000.000,00 (2022)

Others

  • Current health expenditure (% of GDP): 15,29 (2020)
  • Labor tax and contribution (% of company profit): 100.009.242.127,36 (2022)
  • Development Assistance (ODA) received per capita (US$): 0,74 (2022)
  • Social contributions (% of income): 2.995.329.364,67 (2022)