Known as the birthplace of humankind, South Africa’s prehistoric history goes back as far as 3,5 million years ago. The first evidence of humankind was 3 million years with the discovery of Taung child. In 1652 the first Dutch settlers arrived in the Cape of Good hope and set up a refreshment station for the ships travelling to the East.
Over the next few 100 years, the country was swapped between the Dutch and English rule and separated into 4 districts. From 1836 the Dutch farmers moved inland away from the British colony at the cape. This resulted in the discovery of gold and diamonds in 1876 and the development of many inland cities. In 1948 the Afrikaans National party came into power and Apartheid began.
Up until 1988, there were many laws put into place forcing races of colour to live apart from white people, during this time there were many uprisings and sanctions against apartheid and South Africa. 1990 saw the end of Apartheid and Nelson Mandela being released from prison. 1994 was South Africa’s first democratic elections this resulted in the ANC coming into power.
Today South Africa is a melting pot of culture, a multi-racial country working together for a better South Africa.
UNESCO SA World Heritage Sites
- UKhahlamba / Drakensberg Park (2000)
- Cape Floral Region Protected Areas (2004)
- Greater St. Lucia Wetland Park (1999)
- Vredefort Dome (2005)
Four UNESCO designated biosphere reserves in South Africa:
- Kogelberg Biosphere Reserve, Western Cape Province – Evergreen sclerophyllous forest, woodlands or scrub, marine/coastal zone
- Cape West Coast Biosphere Reserve, Western Cape Province – Coastal plains, marine-influenced fynbos area, marine areas, wetlands
- Waterberg Biosphere Reserve, Limpopo Province – Tropical grasslands & savannas
- Kruger to Canyons Biosphere Reserve, Limpopo Province – Tropical grasslands and savanna, temperate grasslands, mixed mountain and highland systems, tropical dry and deciduous forest.
Capital of the country
Cape Town – Legislative, Bloemfontein – Executive, Pretoria – Judicial
Johannesburg (the Largest), Cape Town, Durban, Nelspruit, Kimberly, Bloemfontein, Port Elizabeth
Mostly semiarid; subtropical along east coast; sunny days, cool nights
Chiefly sunny days, cool nights – overall warm, temperate climate
South-west – rains all year round
Rest of country – summer rains (Nov-Mar) & sunny, dry winters (Apr – Oct)
Spring & Autumn – neither distinct nor prolonged
Subtropical along the north-east coast
Mediterranean conditions in far south-west
Benguela current cools the west coast
Agulhas current warms the east coast
Average rainfall – 484mm
As the Temperature in South Africa differs so vastly depending on where you are this is only of Cape Town and NOT the whole of South Africa.
A typical day of an average person in South Africa
Most South Africans work Monday through Friday, 8 am – 4 pm. Weekends are normally very social with a Braai (BBQ), watching sports – Rugby, going to the beach, hikes etc.
Typical school schedule
Monday to Friday
8 am – 12:30 or 14:30 depending on age
10:00 – 10:30 & 12:00 – 12:30 lunch
Does the week start on Monday and end on Friday?
Yes, for most South Africans.
Main means of transport used by the major part of the population
Car, bus, train, walk
Main means of transport used by persons who usually host foreign participants
Car, bus, walk
Average number of children per family
Average monthly salary
Type of clothes people wear every day?
South Africans dress in a very western fashion, normally with informal or relaxed clothing
Give a few tips on what we should or not do in your country
Always respect other people’s cultural beliefs, differences and heritage. Greeting people in our country is a very big must
According to your experience, what could be shocking for participants when discovering your culture?
South African is very much like Europe when it comes to cultures around the cities. However, further away from the cities you will be able to experience more of the traditional cultures and traditions. Expect locals to speak loudly, stand close to you and be as interested in your culture as you are in theirs.
Could you present some habits of the population and some fun facts or anecdotes about your country?
African Time: South African runs on what is called ‘African time’ this is a very relaxed way of doing things. Nothing ever runs on time and people are usually late for meeting etc. Most of this happens because of the story telling culture in our country, there is no such thing as a quick answer – This is African time
TIA: ‘This Is Africa’ An expression that is used when things don’t work or run according to plan, this happens often.
Now Now or just Now: are time frames given. It could be any time between now and next week or longer. Ie. ‘When will you get here? ’ ’ Just now’
Could you present a few cultural aspects of your country?
Hugging and kissing your friends on the lips is a normal way of greeting.
Women are looked after by men, it is usual to open a door or give a women your seat.
Are there any annual events that could be of interest for participants?
Up the Creek – Feb – Cape Town
Oppikoppie – Aug – Rustenberg
Rocking the Daises – Oct – Cape Town
Kirstenbosch summer concerts – Dec- Feb – Cape Town
Events and festivals:
First Thursdays – Open Art galleries – Cape Town
J&B Met – Horse race – Cape Town
Durban July – horse race – Durban
Wacky wine festival – Cape Town
For more info look at www.sa-venues.com
Western Cape – Cape Town
V & A Waterfront
Oudtshoorn – Ostrich
Nelson Mandela Museum
Addo Elephant National Park
Shamwari Private Game Reserve
Valley of Desolation
Hole in The Wall
Eastern Cape Game Reserves
Greater St Lucia
Gold Reef City
Cradle of Humankind
Gauteng Game & Nature Reserves
Walter Sisulu Botanical Gardens
The Big Hole
Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park
Tswalu Kalahari Reserve
Northern Cape Game Reserves
Kruger National Park
Private Game Parks
Blyde River Canyon
Mapungubwe National Park
Kruger Park (North and central)
The Makapansgat Valley
Modjadji Nature Reserve
Limpopo Game and Nature Reserves
Madikwe Game Reserve
North West Game Reserves
Basotho Cultural Village
Golden Gate Highlands Park
What are the most developed religions in the country?
Christianity, Islam, Hinduism and African Religion
Can these have any effect on the participant’s life?
No, volunteers are not forced to do anything they do not want to be involved in.
What type of clothes do people normally wear in religious places?
Casual clothes or traditional dress.
MEN & WOMEN
In a Job context do women have the same status as men?
Yes, jobs are available for all and women will generally get the position over a man.
In the family context do women have the same status as men?
Yes, there are still households where the women are supported by the men and stay at home with the children. However, it is now normal for men and women to work and share household responsibilities.
How would you rate the security in the country or the cities where the participants will stay in?
7/10, the areas where the volunteers will be staying are all very safe. There are petty crimes due to the poverty in the country but it is safe for volunteers to walk in the streets on their own.
Regarding security, are their differences between men and women that our participants should be aware of?
No, there are no differences between men and women in South Africa.
Can you drink the water from the Tap?
Yes, in most of South Africa the water is safe to drink. Just ask before drinking it.n.
Do participants usually open bank accounts?
Are there any vaccinations required to enter the country?
Police & Fire Department
Could you give us a few useful phone numbers, address or links to consult if the participant has a health problem?
Tel: 012 665-8500
Tel: 011 301 0000
What means of transport should the participant use to get around easily?
Car or bus
Is there any interesting website we can recommend in that regard?
Which website would you recommend to find directions?
Average price of a 20minute taxi ride
+_ R160 – R240 for a private taxi and R5 for a public one
What is the cost of one Big Mac burger
What is the price of a Coca cola?
What is the average price for a Internet connection in a Cyber café
R10 – R20
What is the cost of a loaf of bread?
What is the cost of a local take away lunch?
Written in the Khoisan language of the /Xam people, literally meaning: diverse people unite.
Total: 1,219,912 sq km
South African Rand – ZAR
GMT + 2
Type of Government