Cape Town Commonwealth Walkway

South Africa / Africa

South Africa is the southernmost country on the tip of the African continent and the most populous country located entirely south of the equator. It is renowned for its vast natural beauty, cultural diversity and mixed topography. It is a multiethnic society with many different cultures, languages, and faiths. This pluralistic makeup is reflected in the constitution’s recognition of eleven official languages. The two most spoken languages are Zulu and Xhosa, followed by ones of European origin: Afrikaans (developed from Dutch and serves as the first language of most coloured and white South Africans) and English (legacy of Africa’s colonial past).  Africa is also one of the few countries that has never had an overthrown state or regular elections. The majority of black South Africans were not enfranchised until 1994, the legal ending of apartheid.  Apartheid played a main role for South Africans and it dominates their history and politics.  Apartheid was introduced by the National Party in 1948, formalising earlier racial segregation. After a long, and often violent, struggle by the African National Congress and other activists both inside and outside the country, discriminatory laws were put into place.  South Africa stands today as a liberal democracy which comprises a parliamentary republic and nine provinces. It is often referred to as the ‘rainbow nation’ to reflect the country’s multicultural diversity, especially in the wake of apartheid. South Africa is also a favoured destination for travellers who wish to explore its inland safaris, Western beaches and craggy cliffs, forests and lagoons. The Republic of South Africa joined the Commonwealth in 1931 under the Statute of Westminster.  It was to South Africa that the King and Queen and two princesses came for a long visit to Jan Smuts (1970-1950), Prime Minister of the Union from 1919 to 1924 and again from 1939 to 1948.  In Cape Town Princess Elizabeth turned 21 and made her famous broadcast dedicating her life, whether it be short or long.  South Africa left the Commonwealth in 1961 on becoming a Republic but rejoined in 1994 under the Presidency of Nelson Mandela (1918-2013).  The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh paid a State Visit in 1994. Capital Cities The South African Commonwealth Walkway is in Cape Town, one of South Africa’s three capital cities - a famous city on the southern coast, and a well-known port on the shores of Table Bay for voyagers heading to India and Australia.  It has a significant cultural heritage.   Cape Town has been the legislative capital since 1910, when the British established the Union of South Africa, but is more than the parliamentary centre.  It is home to the Cape Floral Kingdom.  Table Mountain and Cape Point are also scenic landmarks which attract vast tourism from around the world.  South Africa is the only country in the world with three capitals.  This came about because the South African Government is organised into three sections and therefore, based in three diverse capitals. The idea for this comes from the time when the Union of South Africa was formed when there was worry that having a single capital would concentrate too much power in one area.   The other two capital cities are Pretoria (the administrative capital), and Bloemfontein (the judicial capital).  Pretoria, in the northern province of Gauteng, was the capital of Apartheid South Africa.  On a national level, it is regarded as the city with the most prospects for high-level studies at universities, with universities such as the University of Pretoria, founded in 1908, being one of the country’s oldest and largest academic institutions.   Bloemfontein means 'blooming flowers’ or 'fountain of flowers’ in Afrikaans. The city is also known as ‘City of Roses’ since it hosts an annual rose festival. Fun Facts: The longest continuous wine route on earth is found in South Africa. Two-thirds of Africa’s electricity is generated in South Africa. Rovos Rail is the most lavish train in the world. South Africa is the largest meat producer in Africa. Table Mountain is one of the oldest mountains on the planet. The Bloukrans Bridge is the highest bridge for bungee jumping in the world. South Africa is the only country in the world where right-hand drive cars are produced by Mercedes Benz. Up to 7,000 plants can be found in Cape Town which can’t be found anywhere else in the world.

8.1 miles / 13 kilometres

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