Some Say, I am In Africa; The Truth is…Africa is in Me!

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Steuart Pennington, CEO of South Africa: The Good News recently shared his wealth of knowledge about South Africa. An authority on Africa and South Africa and an author of a number of books on the country, Steuart shared fascinating insights about South Africa’s population, economy, heath sector, transport access and more.

Some Say… I am In Africa

The Truth is… Africa is in Me

Steuart’s inspiration for his work came about, a couple of years ago, after having attended a dinner party where the conversation at the time turned to the negative issues that were being broadcast about South Africa, its leadership and safety. Not one person at the table had anything positive to say about the country and this angered him. “I was adamant that I would change this negative perception and set out investigating the good news showing people just how much we have to appreciate.”

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The greenest canyon in the world – the Blyde River Canyon. Photograph by Rich Laburn

His talk made me think about the many incredible reasons that we have to love our country and why South Africa is simply awesome. Here are just a few impressive facts to start the first of our South Africa is Awesome series:

South Africa has 11 official Languages

South Africa is rich in culture and boasts equal status to 11 official languages. The languages include: English, Sesotho, Sepedi, Xitsonga, Siswati, Afrikaans, Tshivenda, isiXhosa, isiNdeble, isiZulu and Setswana. The Xitsonga language is spoken by as many as 2.3 million people and is the home language of the majority of Shangaan staff working at Londolozi.

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South Africa is the first country outside of Europe to gain Blue Flag Status for Coastal Management

The Blue Flag is an award in recognition of beaches and marinas where a standard of excellence meets all 27 criteria of coastal management including safety, services, water quality and cleanness… South Africa has as many as 41 beaches and five marinas with this status.

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Long Beach, Noordhoek, Western Cape.

Home to 8 World Heritage Sites

South Africa is a place of great beauty and this has been recognised by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) that declared eight sites with World Heritage status. The following eight destinations in South Africa are World Heritage Sites: Richtersveld Cultural and Botanical Landscape, Cape Floral Kingdom, Mapungubwe National Park, iSimagaliso Wetland Park, Robben Island, The Vredefort Dome, The Cradle of Humankind and uKhahlamba Drakensberg Park.

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The scenerity of the uKhahlamba Drakensberg Park. Photograph copyright: Tim Nicholas

The Biggest Man-Made Forest in the World

Johannesburg is the economic hub of the country but it is also famous as the biggest man-made forest in the world with as many as 10 million trees. The next time you visit this city take note of how many beautiful trees can be seen along pavements and in people’s homes.

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It is estimated that there are around 10 million trees in Johannesburg from pavements and sidewalks to trees in private homes. Image courtesy of Google Images, unlicensed footage.

The Largest Green Canyon in the World

The Blyderiver Canyon in Mpumalanga forms part of the northern Drakensberg escarpment and boasts verdant landscapes, unearthly rock formations and animals such as hippos, monkey, crocodiles and antelope to name a few of its residents. Bird watchers must look out for eagles and falcons. Apart from being the greenest, the canyon is also the third largest in the world.

Can you think of some reasons that make South Africa simply amazing? Share your suggestions  in the comments below.

Written by Kate Collins

Rich Laburn
Rich Laburn is filmmaker, photographer and writer who is based at Londolozi Game Reserve in South Africa. Spending his time capturing scenes of the wild and communicating the beauty of the African bushveld, he runs the Londolozi Blog as a way to entertain and engage people wishing to visit these wild lands.
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