Journey Jotters

Bitten by the travel bug

The JJ family’s journey to South Africa is covered under these posts here.I thought of sharing some unusual, fun, and interesting facts about South Africa, before writing my conclusion thoughts on this trip.

South Africa’s domain names end in .za and not .sa, as would be expected. According to ZADNA’s website, “South Africa was a signatory to the 1968 Vienna Convention on Road Signs and Signals. That was the convention that chose the country codes. The(se) country codes were established by the International Standards Organisation (ISO) before the domain name system. At the beginning of the DNS in the USA, computer scientists chose to adhere to all international standards. Therefore, they allocated .za to South Africa because .za (Zuid-Afrika, Dutch for South Africa) was the country code already listed for South Africa. Also, .sa was taken by Saudi Arabia!“.

South Africa is one of the 17 megadiverse countries in the world. Megadiverse states are defined as having at least 5000 species of endemic plants and possess a marine ecosystem within their borders. South Africa boasts 20,000 different plants (10% of all known species on earth), 858 bird species, and 299 mammalian ones (about 6% of the world’s species).

South Africa contains nine biomes, or areas of the planet classified based on the animals and plants that live in it. They are influenced by the topography and climate of the land. The Savannah biome is the largest of all such biomes in the country.

The Cape Floral Kingdom is said to be the smallest and most diverse (with about 9000 species) of the six floral kingdoms on earth. And it’s the only one to be contained within one country. It’s home to 3% of the world’s plant species and 20% of Africa’s plant diversity. The Fynbos Biome which belongs to the Cape Floral Kingdom depends on intermittent wildfires to help germinate and regrow.

Route 62 is the world’s longest wine route, however, it doesn’t extend fully as Route 62 from Cape Town to Port Elizabeth. Still, its widely accepted as the longest wine route. The Cape Winelands area with Paarl, Stellenbosch, Franschhoek are included in this route.

Although several varieties of wine are produced in South Africa, Pinotage is the only one unique to this country.

South Africa has three cities that serve as capitals: Pretoria (executive), Cape Town (legislative), and Bloemfontein (judicial).

South Africans have eleven officially recognized languages.

The majority of the population lives in the eastern half of the country and along southern coastal areas. The western aspect, except for a small area around the Cape, is sparsely populated.

The Makhonjwa Mountains in the Barberton Greenstone Belt, 3.5 billion years old, is the oldest mountain range in the world.

Table Mountain was named one of the new seven wonders of nature. An official plaque was unveiled in December 2012, declaring this unique distinction.

Cape Town to Johannesburg domestic flights are the 11th busiest in the world!

The high-altitude, land-locked country of Lesotho is wholly enclaved within the Republic of South Africa. A country within a country, similar to the Vatican in Italy.

According to the Smithsonian website, “Fossil hominins were first discovered in the Dinaledi Chamber of the Rising Star Cave system in South Africa during an expedition led by Lee Berger beginning October 2013. In November 2013 and March 2014, over 1550 specimens from at least 15 Homo naledi individuals were recovered from this site. This excavation remains the largest collection of a single hominin species that has been found in Africa.” The Perot Museum hosted these fossils in a rare exhibition. We were planning to visit during spring break, but the pandemic happened. Guess we’ll have to settle for the Google 360 Tour.

The Fossil Hominid Sites of South Africa, Robben Island and the Cape Floral Kingdom protected areas are three of the eleven UNESCO world heritage sites.

In December 1967, the first human heart transplant was performed in Cape Town by Dr. Christiaan Barnard.

The African Penguin, the only species of penguins to inhabit this continent, can be seen at one of three African mainland sites, at Boulders Beach in Simon’s Town.

South Africa is a unique country in many ways. I wanted to showcase its many diverse and distinctive aspects, hope you enjoyed reading about them.

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