Did you know?
South Africa has the oldest meteor scar in the world. The meteor plummeted to Earth nearly two billion years ago, predating the heady days of oxygen and multi-celled life. The Vredefort Dome was recently declared a World Heritage Site.
Most of the world's proto-mammalian fossils are found in the Karoo region - along with a 280 million-year-old fossilised shark.
According to recent studies, the star-watching town of Sutherland in the Northern Cape is one of the most geologically stable places on Earth, yet it has a 66-million-year-old volcano, not yet officially extinct.
Kimberley may have the biggest man-made hole in the world, but the southern Free State town of Jagersfontein has the deepest vertical man-made hole.
The only street in the world to house two Nobel Peace prize winners is in South Africa. Nelson Mandela and Archbishop Desmond Tutu both have houses in Vilakazi Street in Soweto.
The world’s first heart transplant was done in South Africa in 1967 by South African Dr. Chris Barnard.
South Africa, Zimbabwe and Mozambique are tearing down fences between the countries’ game parks to create a 35 000 square kilometers game park which will become the largest conservation area in the world.
South Africa is ranked number one in the world for its floral kingdom.
South Africa’s Coastal Management policy is one of the best in the world with the country being the first outside Europe to gain Blue Flag status for its coastal management.
The CONDE NAST TRAVELLER ranked Cape Town as the world's best value for money city two years in a row, as well as the most hospitable city in the world.
Discovery.com being an influential travel website has rated Clifton - Cape Town, as one of the top nine beaches in the world, calling Clifton: "sprawling and clean, reflecting the brilliant African sunshine off white sand and throngs of tanned bodies."
The London Observer Newspaper reports Cape Town as a favourite overseas city for British travellers.
Useful information for visitors:
Size: 1,221,037 sq km
Capitals of SA: Pretoria (administrative), Bloemfontein (judicial), Cape Town (legislative)
Population numbers: 43.1 million (77% black, 10% white, 8% mixed race, 2.5% Indian or Asian descent.)
Religions: Christian, Muslim, Hindu, Jewish and traditional religions
Major Industry: mining, finance, insurance, food, tourism
President: Jacob Zuma
Currency: ZAR (South Africa Rand)
There are 11 official languages. The English speaking tourist will experience no difficulties, neither the Dutch nor Flemish speakers. Most of the larger institutions and operators cater for German, French and Japanese groups.
Credit cards are not accepted for fuel purchases in South Africa.
South Africa operates two hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time throughout the year, making it an hour ahead of Central European Winter Time, seven hours ahead of Eastern Standard Winter Time and seven hours behind Australian Central Time.
For the majority of foreign nationals who travel to South Africa for vacation, entry is straightforward and hassle-free. All visitors to South Africa must be in possession of a valid passport in order to enter the country, and in some cases, a visa.
To determine whether you require a visa to enter South Africa, visit the comprehensive South African Home Affairs Department website at http://home-affairs.pwv.gov.za
The currency unit is the Rand, denoted by the symbol R, with 100 cents making up R1 (one Rand). Foreign currency can be exchanged at local banks and Bureaux de Changes. Most major international credit cards such as American Express, Diners Club, MasterCard, Visa and their affiliates are widely accepted.
Most restaurants do not add a service charge to bills - thus it is customary to leave a 10-15% tip. Parking and petrol station attendants should be given whatever small change you have available. This is always appreciated, even though it may seem a small amount.
South Africa's electricity supply: 220/230 volts AC 50 HzMost plugs have three round pins but some plugs with two smaller pins are also found on appliances. Adaptors can be purchased but may be in short supply. US-made appliances may need a transformer.
All visitors intending to drive are required to obtain an international drivers permit, visitors found driving without a permit will be fined and not permitted to continue on their journey. Visitors will also not be able to rent a car without a valid driver's permit. The wearing of seatbelts is compulsory and strictly enforced by law.