Monthly Archives: September 2010
8 Things You Might Not Have Known About South Africa
I’m off to South Africa today so I thought it would be fun to share some of the things I’ve picked up in my research:
- The world’s first heart transplant was performed in Cape Town at Groote Schuur Hospital in 1967 by Dr. Christiaan Barnard. In addition to having performed the first heart transplant, he also performed the first heart/lung transplant. The donor of the first heart transplant was a white girl who also had her kidneys donated to a black recipient, which was extremely controversial at the time.
- South Africa is by far the largest producer to strategic minerals. It produces 90% of the platinum, 80% of the manganese, 73% of the chrome, 45% of the vanadium, and 41% of the gold.
- The two biggest man made holes in the world were excavated in South Africa. The Big Hole in Kimberly and the Jagersfontein Mine are both gigantic, open pit diamond mines. Both mines were designed to extract diamonds from underground Kimberlite Pipes which come from the mantle of the Earth.
- South Africa is home to the world’s largest bird (ostrich), largest mammal (bull elephant), smallest mammal (dwarf shrew), largest reptile (leatherback sea turtle: 1500 pounds), largest earthworm (African Giant Earthworm), fastest animal (cheetah), tallest animal (giraffe), and the largest fish (whale shark).
- The second highest waterfall in the world is in South Africa: Tugela Falls. It checks in at 948m, 31m less than Angel Falls in Venezuela.
- The best example of a living fossil was found in South Africa in 1938: the Coelacanth. The fish was thought to be extinct since the Devonian period and is considered the linked between fish and tetropods.
- In 1879, the largest defeat of an army with gunpowder to an army without guns occurred in South Africa. 1,400 British troops were defeated by 30,000 Zulu warriors armed primarily with spears and shields. Over 1,000 British were killed (71%) vs 3,000 Zulus (10%).
- South Africa has 11 official languages: Afrikaans, English, Ndebele, Pedi, Sotho, Swazi, Tsonga, Tswana, Venda, Xhosa and Zulu.
What other interesting things about South Africa do you know? Has anyone else traveled there or planning a trip soon?
My Most Frequently Asked Question
One dozen representatives of our species have escaped the clutches of the Earth’s gravity and walked upon another celestial body. For a brief period of time, these twelve men experienced something no other humans have experienced before or since.
After their short time on the lunar surface they all returned to Earth to something they had to suffer every single day for the rest of their god damn life: people asking them what it was like to walk on the moon.
A guy like Neil Armstrong exchanged 45 minutes of moon walking for a life time of every single person he’d meet for the rest of his life all asking him about those 45 minutes.
I am nothing close to being an astronaut, but like an astronaut I am well traveled and I have also found that I am being asked the same question almost every single day.
I’ll be speaking at Blog World 2010
The rest of the travel track at the show also takes place on the 15th. It includes:
- Travel blogging after 40
- How to get noticed by travel PR
- How to film a kick ass travel video
Also, if you are in Vegas let me know if you would like to meet up. I’m going to tentatively plan a meet up (location to be determined) in Vegas around 5-7pm. If you are a attending the show, that should be between the last event and the first party of the night.