South Africa Facts
Animals and Plants
What is growing there in South Africa?
The fauna and flora in South Africa is very varied. Only a very small part of the total area of the country is forested and these forest areas are mainly on the southern coasts or in the east, where the mountainous region slopes down towards the sea. In the heights, mostly savannahs or extensive grassy areas determine the landscape. There you will mainly find shrubs and acacias. The less precipitation there is in the region, the fewer plants can survive. Few trees grow in these areas.
Diverse landscape in the south of the country
The region around the Cape in the south of the country is particularly diverse. Many plants thrive here and the area is heavily used for agriculture. Otherwise, it is mainly evergreen hard-leaved plants that survive in the steppe-like regions that have fine leaves that look like needles. Sugar bushes that have nothing to do with sugar but belong to the silver tree family are also typical.
In South Africa you can find 10 percent of all known plant species in the world, more than 20,000 different have been counted there. There are a large number of flowering plants that are found mainly in the coastal regions and especially in the Cape region.
Big Five is English and means “big five”. This means the large animal species elephant, buffalo, leopard, rhino and lion, which can be observed on safari tours in the national parks, especially in the Kruger National Park. In the past, they were often the target of hunts, which reduced their populations. They are now protected in parks and reserves.
Big Five and much more
Although many animal species are now threatened with extinction in South Africa, the South African fauna is still very diverse. It is also the center of attraction for many tourists who travel to South Africa year after year. They really want to see the Big Five and for that they go to South Africa.
South Africa is home to more than 300 species of mammals and more than 500 species of birds, plus 100 species of reptiles and many different insects.
Animals in the national park
About six percent of the total area of South Africa is under nature protection. There are 20 state national parks and many small animal and plant reserves. The best known is the Kruger National Park in the northeast of the country. This park is bigger than Belgium. In addition to the Big Five, more than 140 other mammal species live here. The Kalahari and Royal Natal National Parks are also popular with visitors.
What other animals are there in South Africa?
In addition to the “Big Five” you will find zebras, antelopes, hippos, giraffes, springboks, kudu, warthogs and many more. The “hunters” include wolves, cheetahs, bucket dogs and spotted hyenas.
Numerous species of monkeys such as baboon baboons and vervet monkeys are also native. Incidentally, you will not only meet many animals in South Africa in the national park, but they can be found everywhere outside the cities.
Reptiles such as crocodiles, snakes, lizards, chameleons or even turtles of different sizes cavort under the South African sun. Over 100 species of reptiles can actually be discovered in South Africa.
Whales, dolphins and sharks can be seen on the coast. The diverse bird life that lives in South Africa is also fascinating. They include the popular African penguins. They cavort on the coast and on the islands. They are under nature protection. Other eye-catching birds in the country are the ostrich, the smooth-necked black horse and the flamingo. The predatory eagle is one of the birds of prey.
Typical South Africa
Did you know…?
… that the largest diamond on earth was found in South Africa? It’s called the Cullinan diamond and weighed 621.5 grams and was split into 105 pieces because it was way too big. Carrying a diamond weighing more than half a kilo around your neck is certainly no fun. Most of it can still be found in the British Crown Jewels.
Did you know…?
… that there is a baboon emergency number in Cape Town? It is not the baboons who call here, but people who are harassed by baboons. 400 of these monkeys alone should live on the outskirts of the big city and a monkey has to eat something too. So these animals are pretty smart, because they can not only open car doors, but also loot refrigerators and rob handbags.
But the animals are under protection, so you have no choice but to pay close attention or, in an emergency, call the ranger’s emergency number, who will then take care of the dear pests.
Did you know…?
…. that in Cape Town the sun shines 3100 hours a year? In comparison, the sun only shines 1500 hours in Berlin, which is around half.
Did you know…?
… that South Africans also like to celebrate Christmas on the beach and that the Christmas trees are then made of plastic? When we celebrate Christmas, it’s not winter in South Africa, but summer. Probably the sun is shining and people celebrate outside like we do in summer.
Did you know…?
… that many famous films were and are being made in South Africa? Even the 2004 film “Nibelungen” by a well-known Hollywood director named Uli Edel was shot in South Africa. Likewise, the “Hotel Rwanda”, which was not filmed in Rwanda, but in South Africa. Due to the diversity of its landscapes, the country offers ideal film sets.
Are the South Africans athletic?
The South Africans are definitely very enthusiastic about sports. But the racial segregation of the country is still noticeable in sport today. The Boers prefer to play rugby, the English cricket and black South Africans soccer. Today, however, people try to use sport as a means of integration, so in the end everyone should do sport together, that would be the goal.
By the way, soccer is also a very popular sport for many South African children. There are a lot of football clubs and most of them are fans of “their” club. Football is an important leisure activity for young and old in South Africa. Boxing, swimming, sailing, triathlon, sailing and golf are also popular sports. For more articles on South Africa and Africa, please visit computergees.
Carnival on January 2nd
Every January 2nd, the descendants of former slaves welcome the New Year by holding a colorful parade. It is also Cape Town’s oldest street festival, which is also known under the names Coon Carnival or Tweede Nuwe Jahr, which means “Second New Year”.
The clubs rehearse months in advance, dance, sing and dress up. There are prizes at the end for the most successful costume. As happy as it is at this festival, the occasion is serious. The festival is reminiscent of the time of the slaves, who were not doing well at all. They actually only had one day off and that was January 2nd, which is remembered year after year.