Diamonds, Shipwrecks, Walt Disney Wine and 280,000,000 year old sharks
Some more little known facts about South Africa:
- South Africa is the second largest exporter of fruit in the world.
- The world’s largest diamond was the Cullinan Diamond, found in South Africa in 1905. It weighed 3,106.75 carats uncut. It was cut into the Great Star of Africa, weighing 530.2 carats, the Lesser Star of Africa, which weighs 317.40 carats, and 104 other diamonds of nearly flawless color and clarity. They now form part of the British crown jewels.
- There are more than 2,000 shipwrecks, dating back at least 500 years, off the South African coast. More than one of these, including the Waratah, simply vanished without a trace.
- Walt Disney serves South African wine exclusively at its 73-acre Animal Kingdom Lodge in the United States.
- Most of the world’s proto-mammalian fossils are found in the Karoo region – along with a 280 million year old fossilized shark.
- Scientific studies from South Africa and Japan corroborate findings of potent antioxidants in an indigenous herb tea from the Southwestern Cape region of South Africa. Called Rooibos (roy-boss), this red tea is the only other tea in the world which undergoes a fermentation process like black tea. Fermentation turns the leaves of Rooibos from green to a deep red color and gives it a slightly sweet note with a deep body. Rooibos, unlike black and green tea is completely caffeine-free.
- South Africa is 5 times the size of Japan and three times the size of Texas.
- According to studies, the star-watching town of Sutherland in the Northern Cape is one of the most geologically stable places on Earth, yet it has a 66-million year old volcano, not yet officially extinct.
- South Africa is the only country in the world to voluntarily abandon its nuclear weapons program.
- Four of the five fastest land animals live in Africa – the Cheetah (100 km/ph), Wildebeest, Lion, and Thomson’s gazelle (about 80 km/ph).