Sometimes we forget that some of our planet’s most unique phenomena are right here on bottom soil! TravelGround rounded up 15 outstanding facts about our beloved country that will blow your mind and remind you of the wonders within reach. And with us you can even spend a few nights close to these amazing spots!

1. Indiana Jones

South Africa is a palaeontological treasure trove, especially at the Cradle of Humankind, where an estimated 40% of the world’s human ancestor fossils have been discovered. If you’re curious about our rich ancestral heritage, this spot is definitely worth a visit.

Where: Cradle of Humankind World Heritage Site, Gauteng
Stay: B’sorah Luxury Tented Camp | Lanseria Lodge | Willow Retreat

2. It’s not about the bike

The annual Cape Town Cycle Tour is the world’s biggest individually-timed cycle race. This race starts in the CBD, meanders through the spectacular Southern Peninsula and finishes at the Cape Town Stadium. Cyclists come from all across the globe to participate in this highlight on our sporting calendar.

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Where: Cape Town, Western Cape (approximately 109 km)
Stay: Riverside Estates | The Beach House | Tarragona Lodge

3. Where the wild things are

Every South African should visit the Kruger National Park at least once. This national treasure has more wildlife species than anywhere else on the African continent!

Where: Kruger National Park, Mpumalanga
Stay: Tented Adventures Pretoriuskop | Mananga Private Bush Retreat | Amani Safari Camp

4. Mother of mountains

Table Mountain is regarded to be one of the oldest mountains on earth and boasts more than 1 500 plant species ─ more than the entire United Kingdom! Two couples get married on top of this natural marvel every month.

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Where: Table Mountain National Park, Western Cape
Stay: Annarita’s Place | De Tafelberg Guesthouse | Alta Bay

5. Run Forest run

South Africa hosts the biggest ultra marathon in the world, the Comrades Marathon. This annual race started in 1921 and is truly a test of physical and mental strength. And, as a testament to endurance, the record-holder for the most wins is Bruce Fordyce, a South African!

Where: Between Durban and Pietermaritzburg, KwaZulu-Natal (89 km)
Stay: De Hoeve | Tancredi B&B | Jean-Lee Guest Cottages

6. Fields of gold

Near the end of winter, the endless fields of the Namaqualand are transformed into plates of the prettiest wildflowers. This natural beauty lure visitors from far and wide to witness the roughly 5 000 floral species. Be sure not to miss Mother Nature smiling in all of her glory!

  1. Where: Namaqualand, Northern Cape
    Stay: Sperrgebied Lodge | Brandrivier | Naries Namakwa Retreat

  2. 7. Not something to whine about

As South Africans, we definitely appreciate our rich wine culture. Small surprise then that the world’s longest wine route, Cape Route 62, is right here! This picturesque route meanders through numerous wine-growing areas, such as the Klein Karoo, Robertson, Wellington and Worcester ─ it’s really a must drive!

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Where: Cape Town, Western Cape to Port Elizabeth, Eastern Cape
Stay: Karoo Retreat | Big Sky Villa | Orchard Cottage

8. Flying without wings

If heights don’t scare you, a bungy jump off the Bloukrans Bridge should absolutely be on your bucket list! At an impressive 216 m, it’s the highest commercial bungy jump bridge in the world and will get your adrenaline pumping to the absolute max.

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Where: Near Tsitsikamma, Eastern Cape
Stay: Tranquil Beach House | Nature’s Valley Health Retreat | Orieduin Forest Drive

9. Tastes like home

When thinking Proudly South African, rooibos tea is surely one of the first things that come to mind. This healthy, fresh-tasting tea is only grown in a small region of our country and exported in massive quantities throughout the world. The smell alone is enough to make South African expats long for home!

Where: Cederberg, Western Cape
Stay: Piekenierskloof Mountain Lodge | Aan d’Oewer B&B | Cederkloof Botanical Retreat

10. Happy feet

Do you want to share a sunny beach with a colony of cuteness? At Boulders Beach you can do just that! This unique beach is home to various breeding colonies of African penguins and it’s an experience you’ll treasure forever.

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Where: Simon’s Town, Western Cape
Stay: Mariner Guesthouse | Bay Vista Garden Flat | Avian Leisure

11. Haunted shores

If only our vast shoreline could speak, it would tell the daunting tales of treacherous tides, horrible misjudgements and thousands of souls lost. Yes, the South African coast has become a graveyard to more than 2 000 shipwrecks over the years. Many are visible and can be visited, such as the Jacaranda and Meisho Maru 38.

Where: 2 500 km coastline

12. Drifting down through the clouds

South Africa is the proud home to the second tallest waterfall on earth. The Tugela Falls in the dramatic Drakensberg Mountains takes five consecutive leaps to a total drop of 948 m and it’s for sure a once in a lifetime sight!

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Where: Royal Natal National Park, KwaZulu-Natal
Stay: The Plover Bed and Breakfast | SeaFrog Chalet | Sometimes Tugela Mouth

13. It’s blowin’ in the wind

If you can deal with your hair being blown in all directions, Cape Point is really a beautiful place to visit. According to the South African Weather Service, it’s the windiest spot in South Africa as it’s calm for only 2% of the year!

Where: Cape Point Nature Reserve, Western Cape
Stay: South Winds | Rocklands Seaside Bed and Breakfast | Sunrise Sea Villa

14. A view from above

The Blyde River Canyon boasts one of the most breathtaking views in our country, It’s the third largest canyon on the planet and includes lookouts such as God’s Window and on the Three Rondavels.

Where: Blyde River Canyon Nature Reserve, Mpumalanga
Stay: Lisbon Hideaway | Thaba Tsweni Lodge | Cornelia

15. Home sweet home

We’re also home to some of the world’s most wonderful fauna and flora!

Largest bird: Ostrich

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Largest land mammal: Elephant

Tallest animal: Giraffe

Largest fish: Whale shark

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Largest antelope: Eland

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Largest tree: Baobab

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Fastest land mammal: Cheetah

These facts are just the tip of the iceberg that is the uniqueness of our extraordinary country ─ please tell us why you think South Africa is outstanding!

Feature image: Leisure Bay- Alprop Apartments (TravelGround)