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What South Africa is Famous For A Look at The Rainbow Nation’s Best Characteristics

What South Africa is Famous For: A Look at The Rainbow Nation’s Best Characteristics

There are a lot of things that are interesting and unique about South Africa. Even their national flag is special and symbolic. 

At just a quick glance, you’ll see that the country offers rich history, diverse culture, and natural beauty. But actually, South Africa is so much more!

What is South Africa is famous for?

South Africa is famous for its diversity. They have a culturally varied population, 11 national languages, and three capital cities. 

The country is also known for its exquisite nature that’s home to abundant wildlife. Moreover, South Africa boasts ten UNESCO World Heritage Sites and over 20 National Parks.

1. South Africa is famous for having three city capitals.

South Africa is famous for having three city capitals.


The country has nine provinces and, uniquely, three city capitals. This is because its government is divided into three branches. 

CapitalGovernment Branch
Cape TownLegislative 

Much like checks and balances, this arrangement was pushed through to share and regulate power across regions.

South Africa is the second largest country in Africa and ranks fifth worldwide. In 2022, the country’s population count was estimated to be 60.6 million people.

According to Britannica, about 75% of the country’s population is made up of Black Africans who are mostly Zulu, Xhosa, Sotho, and Tswana descent. The remaining 25% is a mix of European, South Asian, or mixed.

Because of its varied culture, South Africans speak and recognise different languages. Currently, there are 11 languages acknowledged in their 1996 constitution:

  1. Afrikaans
  2. English
  3. Ndebele
  4. Pedi
  5. Sotho
  6. Swati
  7. Tsonga
  8. Tswana
  9. Venda
  10. Xhosa
  11. Zulu

2. South Africa is famous for its many tourist spots.

South Africa is famous for its many tourist spots.

Image: Britannica

South Africa is a tourist hotspot all year round. Backpackers and even families with kids love to visit the country for its famous heritage spots and the fun activities that await. 

Currently, there are 10 UNESCO World Heritage Sites in South Africa. Here’s the list and where to find them:

UNESCO World Heritage SiteLocation
Robben IslandCape Town
Cradle of HumankindJohannesburg
iSimangaliso Wetland ParkDurban (nearest)
Vredefort craterJohannesburg (nearest)
Drakensberg600 miles from the Eastern Cape Province
Victoria FallsAlong the course of the Zambezi River
AldabraIndian Ocean
Bothongo WondercaveBothongo Rhino & Lion Nature Reserve 
Kingdom of MapungubweNorthern border of South Africa

Some of those are too far and difficult to visit but don’t worry! There’s a lot more to see in South Africa.

Here are 5 other famous destinations:

1. Kruger National Park

Kruger National Park

Image: Britannica

Kruger National Park was established in 1926 and is one of the country’s most iconic and exciting safari destinations. It’s considered one of the largest game reserves on the continent. 

The park covers a vast area of 19,623 km² and homes around 2,000 leopards, 2,800 lions, 12,000 elephants, and 27,000 African Buffalos.

2. Blyde River Canyon

Blyde River Canyon


The Blyde River Canyon is considered the third-largest canyon in the world. It runs 26km long and is located in Mpumalanga, South Africa.

This is also called Motlatse Canyon and is a famous tourist site in the country because of the spectacular view and sparkling clear waters. 

3. Addo Elephant National Park

Addo Elephant National Park


The Addo Elephant National Park is also a must-see tourist spot in South Africa, especially if you love animals. This is a wildlife conservation park that shelters Africa’s big 7: elephants, lions, buffalos, rhinoceros, leopards, whales and great white sharks.

The park was established in 1931 and is located at the Eastern Cape Bush of South Africa. It covers an area of 1,640 km² and is ranked third in size next to Kruger National Park and the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park.

4. Namaqualand



Namaqualand is a famous South African destination in spring. It features around 4,000 colourful wildflowers spread over the area.

Aside from it being a magnificent sight, what’s special about these flowers is more than 1,000 types of flowers are endemic in South Africa and do not grow anywhere else in the world.

It’s recommended to visit around late August to the end of September to witness the mass flower display in full bloom. 

5. Cape Winelands

Cape Winelands


South Africa is also a great place for wine lovers. Cape Winelands is another famous spot in the country, highly sought-after for producing some of the world’s finest wines.

The tours that go through these Winelands don’t just offer delicious wine, but mouthwatering food to pair as well. Aside from the refreshments, people also visit Cape Winelands for the fresh air and magnificent views.

3. South Africa is known for its unique local cuisine.

South Africa is also famous for offering a unique experience when it comes to cuisine. If you’re planning to visit or even move to the country, here are some local dishes you need to try:

1. Biltong



Biltong is one of the most popular South African food. It’s made by cutting high-quality meat into strips, marinating it in flavourful ingredients, and drying it by air for days. 

It’s a delicious and high-protein snack that’s found to be healthier than beef jerky.

Originally, biltong was created as a survival food when the Dutch colonisers arrived in South Africa. They needed nutritious and filling food that could last for days especially considering the country’s hot climate.

That’s when locals discovered that hanging and drying the meat out works, hardening the meat but letting it keep its flavour.

2. Boerewors



Boerewors is a South African sausage which translates to “farmer’s sausage”. It was originally made with wild game, but nowadays beef is mostly used for the sausage.

Aside from being delicious, boerewors are a notable dish because they play an important role in South African history. 

About 200 years ago, these sausages were made by early farmers for their stopovers when they were trekking to escape colonial rule. From then until around 1960s, Boerewors were only available in South Africa.

3. Cape Malay curry

Cape Malay curry


Cape Malay curry was brought to the country by Indonesian slaves when they were put  to work on farms in Cape Town in the 17th century, thus the name of the dish. 

It’s part of a Cape Malay cuisine that developed, which is a mix of traditional South African dishes with Malaysian and Eastern twists.

While South Africa is not typically known for curry, Cape Malay curry is a prominent dish in Cape Town until now and many foreign food experts rate it as a must-try.

4. Chakalaka & pap

Chakalaka & pap

Chakalaka is a well-loved South African curried vegetable stew made with tomatoes, peppers, carrots and onions. This easy-to-prepare dish is delicious and nutritious, which is why it’s one of the most common food in many households and establishments.

It’s also often partnered with pap or pap-pap, another national dish, which is a cornmeal porridge. Pap, too, is a very common side of many common meals, including fried chicken.

5. Amarula Dom Pedro

Amarula Dom Pedro

The Dom Pedro is a uniquely South African cocktail made from vanilla ice cream, double cream, and Amarula Cream Liqueur. This is one of the most popular alcoholic desserts that are on almost all restaurant and bar menus.

4. South Africa is known for its art and music.

One of the most distinguishable traits of South Africa is its rich culture and unique art and music.

South Africa is known for its art and music.


One of the most distinguishable art forms in the country is their rock paintings, dating back over a hundred thousand years ago. 

What makes South African creations unique is the artists’ resourcefulness and creativity.

Because there aren’t many art galleries in towns, especially in the earlier years, South African artists were freer to express themselves without the burden of pleasing the middle class.

Despite rampant poverty, artists were able to come up with new art using simple materials like recycled cloth and bottles.

South African music


South African music, just like their culture, is very diverse too. It’s home to many genres such as Marabi, Kwaito, House music, Isicathamiya, Gqom and Amapiano.

Local musicians use music as a form of art, storytelling, protest, and expression. 

5. South Africa is the birthplace of some of the world’s most distinguished personalities.

South Africa is also known as the origin of many distinguished personalities in politics, entertainment, sports, business and many more. Here are some of the most famous people from SA:

1. Nelson Mandela

Nelson Mandela


Nelson Mandela is an iconic personality in world history. He’s a well-known social rights activist, politician and philanthropist who also became South Africa’s first black president.

Madela is a powerful name during the anti-apartheid movement. In honour of him, the country celebrates Mandela Day every July 18.

2. Charlize Theron

Charlize Theron


Charlize Theron, a high-paying and multi-awarded actress, was actually born and raised in Benoni, Johannesburg. She’s known for many successful movies like The Old Guard, the Mad Max franchise, the Fast and Furious franchise, and F9.

3. Trevor Noah

Trevor Noah


Trever Noah, a distinguished comedian, writer, producer, political commentator, actor, and television host, also hailed from South Africa. Throughout his career, Noah has been awarded several times, including the Primetime Emmy Award.

Noah is also the host of The Daily Show, a US late-night show airing on Comedy Central.

4. Kevin Anderson

Kevin Anderson


When it comes to sports, the name Kevin Anderson is a prominent flag-bearer for South Africa. He is a former professional tennis player who is a two-time Grand Slam finalist and ranked fifth best worldwide in 2018.

Anderson was born in Johannesburg, South Africa.

5. Candice Swanepoel

Candice Swanepoel


Candice Swanepoel is a famous model and philanthropist known for her work with the label Victoria’s Secret. Swanepoelcomes from an Afrikaner family of Dutch origin and was born and raised in Mooi River, South Africa.

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