- The number of tourists visiting South Africa has grown from 3.9million in 1994 to 11.3 million in 2010. South Africa is ranked among the top 5 countries in the world in respect of tourism growth (growing at 3 times the global average).
- Cape Town was named the top tourist destination in the world in the 2011 Traveler’s Choice Destinations awards.
- OR Tambo airport is the best airport in Africa, according to the World Airport Awards 2010/11. It was also in the top 3 most improved airports in the world for the same period.
- 27 South African beaches were awarded Blue Flags, an international indicator of high environmental standards for recreational beaches in 2010.
- South Africa is ranked 66th out of 139 in the World Economic Forums Travel and Tourism CompetitivenessReport 2010/11.
- South Africa was the first African country to host the FIFA Soccer World Cup in 2010. It is only the second country in the world to have hosted the Cricket, Rugby Union and Soccer World Cups.
- In 2009, the Springboks become the first international team to be World Champions in both 15-a-side and Sevens rugby.
- South Africa is home to the world’s largest individually timed cycle race (the Cape Argus Cycle Race), the world’s largest open water swim (the Midmar Mile) and the world’s largest ultra-marathon (the Comrades Marathon).
- 5 South Africans hold the world extreme swimming world record for swimming 2.5kms around Cape Horn. Since the 1940’s,
- South African golfers have won more golf majors than any other nation, apart from the United States.
- In 1991, South Africa became the first country in the world to provide full protection status for the Great White shark within its jurisdictional waters. Countries including USA, Australia, Malta and Namibia followed suit later.
- Cape Town has the fifth-best blue sky in the world according to the UK’s National Physical Laboratory.
- Johannesburg ranks 2nd among countries from Asia/Pacific, Middle East and Africa in dealing with urbanisation and environmental challenges, in the MasterCard Insights Report on Urbanisation and Environmental Challenges.
- South Africa is the only country to house an entire floral kingdom (Fynbos), one of only 6 on the planet.
- The Vredefort Dome (or Vredefort crater) in the Free State, is the largest verified impact crater on Earthat between 250 and 300km in diameter and is estimated to be over 2 billion years old.
Social and Infrastructure
- SA’s population is the 27th largest in the world (there are 230 countries, only 80 have a population in excess of 10 million).
- The current police to population ratio is approximately 1:308 (SAPS – April 2011)
- The percentage of the South African population with access to clean drinking water has increased from 62% in 1994, to 93% in 2011. Access to electricity has increased from 34% in 1994, to 84% in 2011.
- In 2010, 13.5 million South Africans benefited from access to social grants, 8.5 million of which were children, 3.5 million pensioners and 1.5 million with disabilities. In 1994, only 2.5 million people had access to social grants, the majority of which were pensioners.
- Since 1994, 435 houses have been built each day for the poor.
- Two South African cities were voted amongst the world’s top 100 Most Liveable Cities in the 2010 study conducted by Mercer Human Resource Consulting. Cape Town was ranked in 86th place and Johannesburg 90th
- SA ranks 6th out of 139 countries on the Legal Rights index, (Global Competitiveness Report).
- SA ranks 28th out of 139 countries on property rights(Global Competitiveness Report).
- SA ranked 34 out of 192 countries in terms of infrastructure and 12th for our rail network.
- South African media ranks 38th out of 178 countries in the Worldwide Press Freedom Index 2010, higher than France, Italy, Spain, Portugal and all of the other BRICS countries.
- SA has the 18th largest prisoner to population ratio (USA is number 1).
- In terms of total crimes recorded SA ranked 10th, USA 8th and the UK 6th.
- Out of 230 cities surveyed around the world, Johannesburg ranks the 151st and Cape Town the 171st most expensive city for expatriates to live in according to the 2010 Cost of Living Standards Survey from Mercer Human Resource Consulting, ahead of Tokyo (2), Moscow (4), Hong Kong (8), London (=17), Paris (=17), Tel Aviv (19), Sao Paulo (21), Sydney (24), Rome (26), New York (27), Dubai (55) and Auckland (149).
- South Africa has 11 official, state-wide, languages, more than any other country.
- The only street in the world to house 2 Nobel Peace Prize winners is in Soweto. Nelson Mandela and Archbishop Desmond Tutu both have houses in Vilakazi Street, Orlando West.
- Two of the world’s most profoundly compassionate philosophies originated in South Africa; Ubuntu (the belief in a universal bond of sharing that connects all humanity) and Gandhi’s notion of “Passive resistance” (Satyagraha), which he developed while living in South Africa.
- The Western Deep Level mines are the world’s deepest mines at approaching 4km.
- South Africa houses one of the three largest telescopes in the world at Sutherland in the Karoo.
- South Africa is the first, and to date only, country to build nuclear weapons and then voluntarily dismantle its entire nuclear weapons programme.
- SA ranks 12th in terms of beer consumption (China 1; USA 2; Russia 3; Brazil 4 and Germany 5).
- SA has 45 million active cell phones (population 49 million); ranking in the top 5 globally in terms of cell phone coverage.
- 2 Cape Town restaurants are in the top 50 restaurants in the world according to the S.Pellegrino Worlds
- 50 Best Restaurants list 2010. La Colombe restaurant in Constantia, Cape Town, was voted the 12th best andLe Quartier Francais in Franschhoek came in at 31
Fast Facts & Quick Stats About South Africa (Published: 31 May 2011)