Diamonds, Shipwrecks, Walt Disney Wine and 280,000,000 year old sharks

Some more little known facts about South Africa:

  1. South Africa is the second largest exporter of fruit in the world.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Walt Disney serves South African wine exclusively at its 73-acre Animal Kingdom Lodge in the United States.
  5. Most of the world’s proto-mammalian fossils are found in the Karoo region – along with a 280 million year old fossilized shark.
  6. 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.
  7. South Africa is 5 times the size of Japan and three times the size of Texas.
  8. 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.
  9. South Africa is the only country in the world to voluntarily abandon its nuclear weapons program.
  10. 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).



Ten odd facts about South Africa

Here’s ten little known miscellaneous facts about South Africa.

  1. South Africa has the longest wine route in the world.
  2. The Tugela Falls is the second highest waterfall in the world, where the water tumbles down 2,789 feet. First place goes to the Angel Falls in Venezuela at 3,212 feet.
  3. South Africa has the oldest meteor scar in the world, just across the Vaal River near Parys, called the Vredefort Dome. The meteor plummeted to Earth nearly two billion years ago (Earth is said to be 4,5 billion years old), pre-dating the heady days of oxygen and multi-celled life. The Vredefort Dome has been declared a World Heritage Site.
  4. South Africa is the top ranked gold producing country and has 80% of the world’s platinum reserves.
  5. More than 50% of the Paragliding world records have been set in South Africa.
  6. South Africa has the most luxurious train in the world, The Rovos Rail.
  7. There are only 12 countries in the world that supply tap water that is fit to drink, and South Africa is one of them. South Africa’s tap water quality is third best overall in the world.
  8. When Graça Machel married Nelson Mandela on 18 July 1998, she became the first woman in the world to have married the heads of state of two different countries. She was previously married to Samora Machel, the first president of Moçambique who was killed in a plane crash in 1986.
  9. The Lost City Resort Hotel at Sun City is the largest theme resort hotel in the world.
  10. South Africa has the only street in the world to house two Nobel Peace Prize winners – Vilakazi Street in Soweto has houses owned by Nelson Mandela and Archbishop Desmond Tutu.

Watch this space for more odd tit-bits of information about our amazing country.

Responsible Tourism and Social Responsibility

We are the caretakers of the earth. We do not own the fresh water, the air, the plants, or anything that lives on the earth and in the sea.  We are the guardians, entrusted with the preservation of the world for future generations.  Anything we take or make use of must be replaced with interest.  Everything we do must be with an open and clear mind, with respect and a true desire to better the lives of everyone around us.

ENVIRONMENTAL RESPONSIBILITY:

We limit the amount of paper wastage, always re-using paper whenever possible. We actively encourage communication via e-mail and store all documents and data digitally instead of on paper. We no longer print paper brochures but instead use digitally produced brochures.

We encourage our guests to get “off the beaten track” and visit places of unique beauty and interest, not on the “bus rush” trail. By adopting a pioneering spirit, unforgettable experiences and memories can be enjoyed.

We educate our guests about nature and the inter-dependency between all living things. Everything has its role in the ecosystem.

In bringing tourists to rural areas, and thereby creating employment, we also educate the local communities about the importance of preserving nature and everything in it.

SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY:

We design and encourage tours to community-based eco projects that are run in a responsible manner and which benefit the whole community.

Before arriving at a local community, our guests are given information concerning local customs and traditions. This is to make them aware of the impact their behavior can have on the local community.

We support the concept of Responsible Tourism, as we strongly believe that local communities must share the benefits of tourism.

ECONOMIC RESPONSIBILITY:

It is only when we can put money in the pockets of the underprivileged, when we can create jobs to the previously unemployed and when we can show that animals, trees and plants are worth more if they are alive than dead that tourism will succeed. The benefits of tourism must go to the people living in the area where the tourist visits, not just into the bank accounts of large enterprises.

For this reason, we always try to use local guides and to support community projects when possible in our tours. Their local knowledge, often gained from birth, is invaluable and gives the visitor a unique experience.

During our cultural tours, we aim to use local accommodation as far as possible. These venues employ local people and support local producers of food and goods, thus assisting with the general empowerment of local communities.

We always encourage our guests to purchase the souvenirs and holiday mementos from reputable local traders. This will benefit the visitor as these items are usually more affordable when purchased directly from the source, and it also benefits the local economy, particularly in rural areas where formal employment is still scarce.