Top of the day to you all!
Every country has it’s own national symbols, but not to be biased or anything 🙂 I do think South Africa’s are the best and the most beautiful. May you enjoy learning more about Awesome South Africa and as an added bonus there is even a yummy recipe for you to follow!
Awesome National Animal
The Springbok – a lithe and beautiful antelope, standing at only approx 75cm in height and weighing in at approx 40kg. The Sprinbok’s name is derived from its jumping display when running (pronk in Afrikaans)
Should you see them, snap your picture quickly as they are also the fastest of the antelopes and can reach speeds of approx 80km/h
Running from the middle of their back to their tails is a pocket-like skin flap. Should they be excited or frightened they lift this flap in order to warn other Springbok, as the white hairs underneath stand up as a conspicuous crest.
Both the male and females have horns, but the female’s are shorter and thinner.
Many many moons ago the Springboks would migrate in herds consisting of over 1 MILLION individuals!!!!!! Farmers would sit for days watching the herds pass over their lands. Unfortunately today most are confined to game reserves….or….on the reverse side of a Kruger rand.
The Springbok also lends its name to our Awesome South African Rugby team – affectionately shortened to “the Bokke”
Photo Credit to Bernd Wasiolka/www.wildphotolife.com
Awesome National Tree
An age old family line the Yellowwood has the honour of being national tree, having grown here for over 100-million years. The base of the trunk often reaches 3m in diameter with a height of approx 40m.
While you are visiting Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens to view the Proteas, you will be able to tick off another national symbol as the Yellowwood trees grow along the Yellowwood Trail, leading to Table Mountain. Else you will find them in the ravines of the Drakensberg up to the Soutpansberg and The Blouberg in Limpopo.
Awesome National Flower
The King Protea (or Giant Protea) is the largest of the protea family (of which there are approx 1,400 varieties) and makes up an important part of the Cape Floral Region (a Unesco World Heritage Site).
Scientists have found that the Protea is an ancient flower dating back around 300 million years!
It’s specific name ‘cynaroides’, meaning ‘like cynara’ (the artichoke) was given due to the artichoke-like appearance of the flower-heads and its common name is from ‘Proteus’, the Greek god who changed his appearance whenever he wanted, as there as so many varieties.
Should you wish to snap a few pictures yourself of these beautiful flowers in bloom, then head on over to the Cape Town surrounds:
- Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens
- Drive either from Cape Point to Kommetjie or Noordhoek to Constantia
- In November – Cape Point
Our Awesome South African cricket team is named after this flower.
Awesome National Bird
This title goes to the elegant Blue Crane. Should you wish to see this bird you would need to travel to South Africa, as its distribution is almost solely restricted to South Africa. Common in the Karoo, but can also be found in the Highveld and grasslands of KwaZulu-Natal.
While being tall (approx 1m) the Blue Crane is in fact the smallest species of crane. A ground-dwelling bird they live and feed in flocks of up to 40 birds. Pairs are monogamous with long-term bonds, once becoming parents, they have an almost non-existent nest, usually just a few small sticks pulled together.
Did you know that the long black ‘tail’ feathers are in fact wing feathers!
Awesome National Fish
The Galjoen was the choice as it is found only on the coastline stretching from Namibia to Durban. Not only is it the national fish, but also a highly prized sports angling species – but it is illegal to either buy or sell these fish. They are reserved purely for recreational fishers and the fishers must be in possession of a recreational permit.
Galjoen braai (barbeque) recipe
1 fresh Galjoen, scaled, but not skinned
50ml melted butter
50ml cooking oil
50ml coarse salt
30ml lemon juice
Open the galjoen, leaving the stomach area intact.
Remove the entrails carefully and wipe the fish clean inside – out.
Mix together the butter and cooking oil and a little of the salt, brush over the skin.
Sprinkle the coarse salt generously over the flesh and place the open fish in a hinged grid.
Braai the Galjoen, skin down about 300mm above moderate coals.
When the skin is crisp and golden brown turn the fish over and lower the grid to brown the flesh quickly without letting it become dry.
Baste with lemon juice from time to time.