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Highest, largest, longest: South African geographical facts, compared to the rest of the world

Did you know that the Tugela Falls is the second highest waterfall in the world, with a total height of 947m?

The falls are located in the Royal Natal National Park, through which the extensive Drakensberg Mountain range runs. “Thukela”, derived from isiZulu, means “the starting one”.

Here are some more interesting geographical facts about South Africa:

  • Longest river: Orange River (2,090km), rises in the Drakensberg, ends in the Atlantic Ocean
  • Highest mountain: Mafadi (3,240), in the Drakensberg in KwaZulu-Natal
  • Highest waterfal: Tugela Falls (947m high) in Royal Natal National Park, KwaZulu-Natal
  • Largest canyon: Blyde River Canyon (26km long and an average of 762m deep), in Mpumalanga
  • Largest dam: Gariep Dam (5,500 million cubic metres) on the Orange River between Free State and Eastern Cape

Let’s compare these numbers to the rest of the world:

  • Longest river: Nile River, (6,650m), stretching from Ethiopa to Egypt
  • Highest mountain: Mount Everest (8,848m high), in the Himalayas in Nepal/Tibet
  • Highest waterfal: Angel Falls (979m), in Venezuela
  • Largest canyon: Yarlung Tsangpo Grand Canyon (505km long with an average depth of 2,268m and deepest depth is 6,009m), in Tibet
  • Largest dam: Three Gorges Hydroelectic Dam in Hubei Province, China (capacity to hold 19 billion cubic metres of water)


You can find these facts and more in WTF What the Fact! by MapStudio:

WTF What the Fact!
South African Firsts and Onlys, an Excerpt from WTF What the Fact!


Images courtesy of Encyclopedia Britannica and Drakensberg Ukhahlamba


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