I will focus on all the good and beautiful things that form proud and majestic South Africa. I will hear her call and listen to her spirit. Why? Because I am not in South Africa – South Africa is in me. So where are all the good and beautiful things? Well they are all around us. From our Mother City, Cape Town’s Table Mountain, being honoured as one of the new 7 Natural Wonders of the World (to be confirmed and validated early 2012). This will be a definite boost to our tourism for those wanting to tick off destinations on their bucket lists. The best way to relax and enjoy the view is of course with a glass of world class wine from the Cape Winelands. Did you know: Table Mountain is the only natural site on the planet to have a constellation of stars named after it? The constellation is called Mensa – meaning “the table”
We move on to a kaleidoscope of activities and must do’s: Oysters during the Knysna Oyster festival, – cherry picking on a cherry farm in Ceres – experiencing arts and culture at the Grahamstown festival – standing in awe at the Tswaing Meteorite Crater just outside Pretoria, experiencing the wonder of luxury train travel on Rovos Rail, seeing the beauty of blue lined Pretoria streets (not nicknamed the Jacaranda City for nothing), when the trees are in full bloom during the month of October. One word: Awesome Stopping at the oldest wildlife parks in Africa – the Kruger National Park, boasting the Big 5 (Rhino, Elephant, Leopard, Buffalo, Lion), quality roads, accommodation and fantastic views. Spend some time in Kruger and you will take a lifetime of memories home with you and some fantastic photography shots. There is nothing quite like an African thunderstorm whilst in the bush. Did you know: South Africa also has the Baby 5: * The Ant Lion * The Elephant Shrew * The Leopard Tortoise * The Red Billed Buffalo Weaver * The Rhino Beetle.
South Africa is AWESOME in sports: The first black golfer to win a major tournament on the European circuit was Vincent Tshabalala (French Open, 1976) – RSA was host to the Soccer World Cup (2010) – World Female Athlete of the year went to Hestrie Cloete (2003) – Gary Player has won 164 tournaments across the world – Karen Muir, at 12 years of age was the youngest to set the world record in any sport (swimming) – RSA was host to the Rugby World Cup (1995) – In 1979 Jody Schecter won the Formula 1 World Driver’s Championship for Ferrari (it would be 21 years before Ferrari won this title again) – RSA was host to the Cricket World Cup (2003) and these are only to name a few of the awards and events South Africa has hosted.
In the 1953 musical “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes”, Marilyn Monroe sings the words “Diamonds are a girl’s best friend”, if that is true then South Africa is every girls dream destination. In the 15 years after the first diamond (appropriately named the Eureka) was found in 1867, South Africa yielded more diamonds than India had in over 2,000 years!! The Kimberly Hole was at the centre of attraction during this time and after its 43 year existence lays claim to being the biggest man-made hole in the world. What about the Cullinan Diamond? The original rough diamond, the largest ever found, was approximately the size of a soft drink can! The diamond was cut and polished – the largest gem was called the Great Star of Africa and is now found in the head of the Sceptre with the Cross (British Royal Sceptre) and the Lesser Star of Africa is found in the British Crown.
Did you know: To produce a single one-carat diamond, 250 tons of earth will have to be mined?
Fun Facts: * Johannesburg has the biggest man-made forest in the world * Barberton’s mountains are the oldest in the world * The Fish River Canyon is the world’s second largest * St Lucia is the largest estuarine system in Africa * Afrikaans, the language, is only 90 odd years old, making it the youngest in the world * The Tugela Falls is the second-highest in the world * Durban has the highest number of tall buildings in South Africa (218) * The Rand was stronger than the US Dollar until 1982 * In 1961 the Pound is replaced by the Rand * Cape Town is voted as the world’s favourite city * Rovos Rail won the World’s Leading Safari Train and has also been voted World’s leading luxury train * South Africa voluntarily abandoned its nuclear weapons programme (the only country in the world to do so)
I can go on and on about my awesome South Africa, listing a thousand reasons why I love my country and yes I know nothing can be a hundred percent perfect, so to the people I say: Remember “UBuntu” – “I am what I am, because of who we all are” – the essence of being human, trusting, caring, it is a way of life, helpfulness and community. Remember it means humanity towards others, because we can’t be human all by ourselves, we need each other and you want to be known for your generosity. And to my country I say: Ons sal lewe, ons sal sterwe – ons vir jou, Suid Afrika