South Africa is a country with a rich and diverse culture, history, and natural beauty. From its iconic Table Mountain to its vibrant cities, South Africa has something for everyone. On September 24th, South Africans celebrate their annual Heritage Day, a day to come together and celebrate their diverse cultures, traditions, and beliefs. On this day, you will find people enjoying a braai (barbecue) and dressed in traditional attire.
South Africa is also home to some of the world's most innovative and groundbreaking achievements. On December 3rd, 1967, Dr. Christiaan Barnard performed the world's first heart transplant at Groote Schuur Hospital in Cape Town. He was assisted by an exceptional team of surgeons, nurses, and technicians, including Hamilton Naki, a black laboratory assistant who had previously worked as a gardener.
Despite not having access to formal training due to apartheid laws, Naki learned and helped university researchers and went on to do an incredible job. One of South Africa's most iconic landmarks is Table Mountain. This majestic mountain is believed to be one of the oldest in the world, estimated to be around 260 million years old. It is also home to thousands of plant species, including species unique to the Cape Floral Region.
Table Mountain is one of the 7 new natural wonders of the world and is also believed to be one of the 12 major energy centers on the planet that emit spiritual, magnetic, and electrical energies. It's no wonder why it's such a popular hiking destination with hundreds of routes to explore. The Bloukrans Bridge is another iconic landmark in South Africa. This bridge spans over the Bloukrans River Valley and is the highest bridge in Africa at 216 m (709 ft). It's also a popular bungee jumping destination; Mohr Keet holds the record for being the oldest bungee jumper in the world when he jumped off the bridge at age 103!South Africa is also home to some of the oldest hominid bones dating back 4.5 to 2.5 million years ago that were found in limestone caves about 50 km northwest of Johannesburg.
In addition, evidence suggests that humans used stone tools two million years ago and made fire 1.8 million years ago. The KhoiSan people are believed to have been living in what is now known as the Western Cape around 300 AD. The Zulu and Xhosa tribes established great kingdoms in the region in the 15th century. When apartheid laws were put into place by the Afrikaaner Nationalist Party in 1948, it segregated blacks and whites and forced hundreds of thousands of people into black “homelands”.The African National Congress (ANC) fought against apartheid initially through civil disobedience but after the Sharpeville massacre in 1960 (when police killed 70 demonstrators), it formed a military wing under Nelson Mandela. After decades of international sanctions and boycotts, ANC opposition and public uprisings, South African apartheid government agreed to repeal apartheid laws and hold democratic elections. In 1994, Nelson Mandela became South Africa's first black president; April 27 is now Freedom Day.
There are 11 official languages spoken in South Africa: Zulu (the most widely spoken), Afrikaans, Xhosa (second most common), Swati, Sesotho, Xitsonga, Sepedi, Ndebele, Tswana, Venda and English which is the language of business, politics and media. Route 62 stretches between Cape Town, Constantia and Port Elizabeth passing through Oudtshoorn and the Garden Route. This route spans 350 years of winemaking as it passes classic Cape Dutch farms, green mountains, 200 wineries and miles and miles of vineyards. Between May and July millions of small silverfish travel on huge sandbanks from the cold waters of Cape Point in South Africa to the coasts of the northern Eastern Cape and south of KwaZulu-Natal; this annual migration event is known as Sardine Run. South Africa is also home to some incredible inventions such as Ferdinand Chauvier's 'KreepyKrauly', which uses pressurized water to suck leaves and pieces of dirt out of pools. South Africa is part of BRICS (an acronym that refers to an association of five main markets: Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) which account for 42% of the world's population; it is also part of G-20 which is an international forum for the world's top 20 economies. For those looking for a luxurious experience there are Rovos trains which can carry up to 72 passengers on wood-paneled cars with Royal Suites that feature large bathrooms with separate showers as well as permanent double beds and two armchairs. South Africa officially known as The Republic of South Africa (RSA) has an area of 1,219,090 square km with Pretoria as its capital city and Johannesburg as its largest city. Its official languages are Zulu, Xhosa, Afrikaans, English Tsonga Swazi Venda while its official currency is South African rand (ZAR). Six countries share land borders with South Africa: Botswana Mozambique Namibia Swaziland Lesotho Zimbabwe. South Africa is a multi-ethnic society encompassing a wide variety of cultures languages religions customs cuisines music art dance sports literature film festivals etc.
Every year thousands take part in The Cape Town Cycling Tour race along the southern peninsula of Cape Town along Chapman's Peak Drive.