Q&A with Imogen McCormick-Matthews

What is your role at PG Tops?


What do you enjoy most about your job?

Assisting people from around the world in putting together a once-in-a-life time trip to our beautiful country; it is very special. Being a part of big life events such as engagements, honeymoons, birthdays and reunions is amazing!

What makes PG Tops unique?

PG Tops offers a completely customised and personal service to clients.

What is your favorite PG Tops tour and why?

I used to work as a field guide in the Eastern Cape and as much as I love the city, the bush will always be a special place, so a safari is always my favourite.

What is your ultimate travel destination in South Africa?

South Africa is so diverse and each area offers something so different to the next, so it’s hard to pick just one. However, having said that Cape Town offers pretty much everything so if you only have a short amount of time in South Africa, a trip to the Mother City is a must.

What are the top three destinations on your bucket list?


Bora Bora


If you could have dinner with any woman in the world, who would it be?

My mom. My parents live in the UK and even though I normally see them about twice a year, an extra dinner (preferably cooked by my mom) would always be nice.

What women in the travel and tourism industry inspire you?

I have so much respect for women who guide. It’s a role that’s male-dominated and sometimes presents challenges from lifting heavy bags, changing tyres and convincing guests you can drive the big vehicle in front of them.

What is the best career advice you have been given?

Never give up. If someone says you can’t do something, prove them wrong and pursue your dreams.

What is your favourite motivational quote?

“Life is a journey and only you hold the map.”

If you could only pack five things for a trip, what would they be?




My two dogs!

Q&A with Danielle Janse van Rensburg


What is your role at PG Tops?

Tour facilitator.

What do you enjoy most about your job?

My dual role of consultant and tour guide. I never get sick of one job because I have the best of both worlds.

What makes PG Tops unique?

Obi, our friendly PG Tops mascot (Pieter’s Labrador) and reason to smile when stuck in the office all day.

What is your favourite PG Tops tour and why?

Winelands, because it’s a stunning area, filled with lots of hidden gems, nature, hikes, local markets, amazing wine and delicious food. All my favourite things.

What is your ultimate travel destination in South Africa?

Sodwana Bay.

What are the top three destinations on your bucket list?

Fiji, India and all of South America.

If you could have dinner with any woman in the world, who would it be?

Amelia Earhart.

What women in the travel and tourism industry inspire you?

Bianca Smith – she is a rockstar consultant!

What is the best career advice you have been given?

The best service you can give starts with listening.

Who is your role model and why?

My mother – she’s been through thick and thin and still rocks out every day with a smile.

What is your favourite motivational quote?

“Just keep swimming” – Dory

If you could only pack five things for a trip, what would they be?

Toothbrush and four pairs of clean underwear. 😊

Q&A with Bianca Smith

1. What is your role at PG Tops?

Overseeing staff, handling HR, banking and consulting.

2. What do you enjoy most about your job?

Creating/ building new and exciting itineraries for clients.

3. What makes PG Tops unique?

The flexibility of our tours, our guides and the speed of replying upon consultation.

4. What is your favourite PG Tops tour and why?

Peninsula! There’s just so much to see and the best part is driving around at Cape Point looking for animals.

5. What is your ultimate travel destination in South Africa?

Narina Lodge, Kruger.

6. What are the top three destinations on your bucket list?

  • Namibia
  • Botswana
  • Mozambique

7. If you could have dinner with any woman in the world, who would it be?

Kate Hudson – I often hear that I look like her.

8. What women in the travel and tourism industry inspire you?

All my lovely lady colleagues in the office – Imogen, Monade, Danielle & Lauren.

9. What is the best career advice you have been given?

Under promise and over deliver.

10. What is your favourite motivational quote?

Life is the art of drawing without an eraser.

11. If you could only pack five things for a trip, what would they be?

Underwear, mascara, phone, charger and wallet.

Q&A with Lauren-Lee Isaacs

1. What is your role at PG Tops?

My main role is called Control Tower and it basically means that I’m in charge of the schedule and making sure that all the bookings display the correct information. I make sure that each client has a guide and a vehicle allocated to it. I am also a consultant.

2. What do you enjoy most about your job?

The people I work with; there is not a day that goes by that we don’t have a good laugh. Also, the educationals (experiencing the places we send clients first hand). But my job is very challenging (which I like) and it’s very rewarding when a client gives you a good review because then you know you’ve delivered a great service.

3. What makes PG Tops unique?

Well, I don’t think there is anything specific that makes us unique as there are so many places out there that do what we do. I think the difference though is that we do it better.

4. What is your favourite PG Tops tour and why?

The Cape Canopy Tour. I’d do it again and again and again because it’s just so much fun and I kind of think it’s a good stress reliever. I also love Hermanus and the drive going there. I feel like it’s our own little Hamptons.

5. What is your ultimate travel destination in South Africa?

If I could choose to go anywhere in South Africa, it would have to be Grootbos, Gansbaai, we were recently treated to an overnight educational and it was amazing.

6. What are the top three destinations on your bucket list?

Turkey, Cuba and Chile. Turkey for the Turkish Delight, Cuba for the Cuban Cigars and Chile for the Chinchorro mummies.

7. If you could have dinner with any woman in the world, who would it be?

Ellen Degeneres. I think she’s hilarious but is also a great ambassador for women all over the world.

8. What women in the travel and tourism industry inspire you?

It would have to be one of my tourism lecturers, Lesley Badenhorst. She played a very important role in getting me to where I am today.

9. What is the best career advice you have been given?

Perseverance is the hard work you do after you get tired of doing the hard work you’ve already done.

10. Who is your role model and why?

My role model is not a woman but my father.

11. What is your favourite motivational quote?

‘’I believe in pink; I believe that laughter is the best calorie burner. I believe in kissing, kissing a lot. I believe in being strong when everything else is going wrong. I believe that happy girls are the prettiest girls. I believe that tomorrow is another and day and I believe in miracles.’’ (Audrey Hepburn)

12. If you could only pack five things for a trip, what would they be?

If I were going on an island vacation, I would take a good book, iPod, a camera, sunglasses, flip-flops and suntan lotion.

Q&A with Monade van Eeden

1. What is your role at PG Tops?

PG Tops reservations team leader & consultant.

2. What do you enjoy most about your job?

Working with my awesome colleagues.

3. What makes PG Tops unique

Thinking out of the box when consulting and having an awesome boss like Pieter.

4. What is your favourite PG Tops tour and why?

Cape Peninsula tour as it covers such a large area of our beautiful city.

5. What is your ultimate travel destination in South Africa?


6. What are the top three destinations on your bucket list?

Vietnam, Bali & Greece.

7. If you could have dinner with any woman in the world, who would it be?

Jennifer Aniston. I would like to know what hair products she uses. 😊

8. What women in the travel and tourism industry inspire you?

My sister, Eunice, and all my fellow colleagues. Girl power!

9. What is the best career advice you have been given?

If you’re offered a seat on a rocket ship, don’t ask what seat, just get on!

10. Who is your role model and why?

My dad. He always gives the best advice – even if I don’t want to hear it.

11. What is your favourite motivational quote?

Do not let the behaviour of others destroy your inner peace.

12. If you could only pack five things for a trip, what would they be?

Sunglasses, a Deon Meyer book, wet wipes, credit card and passport.

Springfontein Eats: Gourmet Dining in Great White Shark country

Springfontein Eats

A number of years ago, a good friend of mine suggested I shift my business into the realm of high end clientele and “gourmet” experiences.

Being a card carrying philistine who regularly spoils my housemate (the Gentleman)’s sterling culinary efforts by liberally applying too much Tobasco, I have never quite felt that that was really what we do…

But then, unbeknownst to me, a few key factors conspired to change the way I deal with, look at and appreciate food:

  1. I grew up. Made some new friends. Kept the old ones, and I still prefer a good old braai on my porch any day of the week – but that’s because my porch is awesome. However, a lot my current mates seriously enjoy the finer side of life and food, and I couldn’t help but be influenced.
  2. My business grew up.  While the core philosophy has always been “welcome to my life” and sharing the amazing stories we have to tell here in Cape Town, after a while I realized Swedish 20-year old backpackers might be fun to look at, but they don’t necessarily help pay for my puppy’s lunch money or my expensive collection of wine. As the clients changed, the place we take them to changed, and now La Colombe, Test Kitchen, Babylonstoren, Reubens et al are all regulars on our recommendation list..
  3. Cape Town grew up. From a city famous for its laid back citizens, beautiful beaches and mountains and cultural diversity and wind and wines and vineyards – a new element has crept in during the course of our re-integration into the world post-apartheid. The city – and the region – has become a culinary hotspot:  Attracting not only food lovers with a nose for a good deal, but commensurately, food lovers with a passion for cooking and living in a place that is arguably THE most vibrantly growing environment in the world.

Cut to present day. My friend, foodie and non-ginger (he argues he has a chesnut beard) Tudor Caradoc-Davis asked me to assist with transfers for a media lunch at a new venue in Stanford. And come check it out, while I’m at it.

Stanford? Really?

This small, sleepy coastal town past Hermanus in the Overberg region is admittedly charming, but in my experience mostly merited a howzit on a driveby on the way to taking my clients Shark Cage Diving in adjacent Gansbaai (http://www.sharkwatchsa.com/en/home/).

But Tudor caught my attention with some snippets of the inspiring story behind Springfontein wine estate – and I decided to hop along for a free lunch.

The drive from Cape Town is about 2 hours, and can be enjoyed going through the picturesque Elgin and Overberg region, or along Clarence Drive hugging the False Bay coast. We do this drive all the time taking small groups to Marine Dynamics for their whale watching or Great White Shark experience. In this instance, I was essentially a guest, so I got to sit back and shoot the breeze with the interesting other passengers, comprising a few journalists, online folks and various interesting and interested parties.

Our destination? Drive through the town of Stanford, keep on going on a dirt road for a couple of kilometres and you come to the farm of Springfontein.

There is no gate. I would later learn that Jurgen took a sledgehammer to it. This place will be OPEN!

The estate has a charming and unpretentious feel to it, although it is clearly well run and they are in the process of upgrading it even further. I was struck by my immediate sense that this is a WORKING estate, as opposed to a showpiece winery that is just the pet project for some rich investor.

Continue to the restaurant, where we were greeted by too many smiling faces to count. Everyone from the proprietor (charming and gracious host Jennifer Packard Weber) to the winemaker (gentle but passionate Tariro Masayiti ), his gorgeous partner Hildegard Witbooi and most significantly the chef couple Jurgen and Susanne Schneider made us feel immediately at home.

I need to address two separate elements at this point: The Dream and the Food.

THE DREAM: Spend the latter years of your productive working life on a labour of love – a winery in Africa. Choose a region that is exploding with potential for its fantastic white cultivars,Pinot Noir and Pinotage. Buy a property that has huge potential but little current infrastructure, and proceed with the business of creating amazing wines through careful cultivation, meticulous planning and hiring the very best and brightest to assist. Collaborate with a couple team that share the same dream, and proceed to convince them to leave a secure (but ultimately unfulfilling) life in Germany owning and running a five-star Michelin Restaurant – because you’re going to just do it all over again, in the place that will allow you to live the life you’ve always wanted to live, develop people to their amazing potential, and work with new and exciting ingredients, flavours and recipes.

Hats off to Jurgen and Susanna for making this leap, and to Jennifer and her husband Johst (not present, but he’s the money – therefore equally important as the one bankrolling things!) They have joined hordes of European expatriates that have, wisely, realized that the Western Cape is the ideal place to live, love and play.

The interesting Segway to this story is that my friend Tudor used to be a professional rugby player in Germany. This quite uncommon reference is why he ended up in a region with the “last star from Moscow” ie Jurgens restaurant – where he not only played fullback for the local team, but competed for the title of champion dishwasher with a little old Romanian lady for his nighttime gig. He admits she beat him hands down in efficiency and workrate. Jurgen tells the funny story where he went to his wife to tell her that they were going to have a problem with their dishes that night, as the newspaper reports their dishwasher had been seriously injured in the weekend game.

Now, 15 years down the line and many investigatory visits later… they have built, sweated and laboured day and night for the last few months to open Springfontein Eats, sure to become the new hotspot for culinary awesomeness.


And so to the food part.

Our six course lunch was wonderfully paired with their delicious wines. Tariro Masayiti is a huge man, and interestingly, one of the very few black winemakers I have met. His inspiring story brought him to South Africa from his native Zimbabwe, where he has carved out a reputation for his winemaking skill first at Nederburg, and now set to take the market by storm with the Springfontein range.

Before sitting down to eat, Jurgen first presented us a with a tray full of herbs from the estate. His favourite thing is foraging for interesting herbs and flavours on their estate, which he then experimentally couples with the different gourmet cousine choices that he will present on the day – therefore every dish has some kind of local flavour right there from the estate- even the desert!

I liked all of it. It was indicative of the quality that the foodie group round the table was scooping up every morsel – and the flavours were beautiful. It is, however, above my pay grade to explain to you exactly what each course was – google Springfontein Eats for the foodie blogs sure to pop up soon, and they’ll go more into the detail.

What I can tell you, is that the one thing that absolutely fascinated us was the veal accompaniement Mushroom pate – but that description doesn’t even do it justice. It looks like a slice of blood sausage, tastes like heaven and transforms the veal from great to awesome.

The finished off the meal with a lovely lemony desert, and a wonderful selection of pastries with some seriously good coffee.

The best way I can describe the experience is listening to the Philharmonic. Without understanding the technicality that goes into producing this awesome sound, if done well and under the right direction, you are swept along by the technical symbiosis, the individual brilliance but above all the tangible passion that is the mark of a great team.

We left happy, sated and slightly tipsy. I can highly recommend the experience.

They do lunches and dinners, and courses range from 2,3 and 6 course options.

You can contact Springfontein Eats by calling Tel: 0027 (0)28 341 0651, go to the website http://www.springfontein.co.za/content/springfontein-eats or email them on hospitality@springfontein.co.za.

Or email us on info@pgtops.com to arrange the day out for you, for foreign guests it would particularly work with a Shark Cage Diving or Whale Watching experience in Gansbaai (http://pgtops.com/our-trips/cape-town-day-trips/sharks/).

Leaders in South Africa – circa 2007


Answering the question of leadership in South Africa is an interesting task, and one I would gladly undertake. The potential scope to this task is monumental as South Africa has produced many incredible people in its rich history, but to simplify to a global audience it is necessary to divide the South African history into four main parts:

PRE-1652: Pre-colonization
1652-1910: Colonization and imperialism
1910 – 1994: Segregation, white dictatorship and APARTHEID
1994 – present day: Democracy

The leaders that can be mentioned are numerous, from the Zulu King Shaka Zulu to the leader of the first Dutch colony Jan van Riebeeck, the spokesman for peace Bishop Desmond Tutu to the last great dictator P.W. Botha, the captain of the National Rugby Team the Springboks Francois Pienaar who won us the World Cup, to the man who did the first heart transplant, Chris Barnard.

I will limit my dissertation to the following 3 highly Influential Leaders. The first two have been bridges from near civil war to democracy, the third is a role model for young people in the new South Africa…

Political-social: Nelson Mandela, former terrorist leader of the African National Congress, a prisoner for 27 years and the first black South African President.

Business-social: Raymond Ackerman, founder of the Pick ´n Pay retail group, a white Jewish Businessman who believed and fostered inclusive systems and the importance of social responsibility long before it became fashionable.

Business-social: Mark Shuttleworth, 30-something internet billionaire, engineer for social change, venture capitalist and the first African in Space.

Nelson Mandela

Nelson Mandela was imprisoned by the white Apartheid Government of South Africa in 1963 for what was to be a period of 27 years. At the time he was one the leaders of the African National Congress, a black political organization who was fighting for civil liberties for the black majority in South Africa and was subsequently banned. A period of civil strife, sanctions and economic duress ensued with white and black South Africans living in segregation, a state of near civil war, rampant terrorism and cruel and violent surpression of black terrorist activity by the militant white government.

International pressure, coupled with a changing in the thinking of the white leadership and an untenable domestic situation led to a reformed National Party government under the leadership of F.W. de Klerk releasing Mandela from prison in 1990.

He could have emerged bitter and vengeful, eager to get back at his surpressors. Instead, he preached a system of inclusivity for white and black Africans alike, a new economic and social order of peace and democracy that would see all South Africans prosper. A model of renewal that would put South Africa firmly at the forefront of world affairs, a leader in Africa and a beacon of hope that would be a role model for others.

Under his leadership, this came to pass. He was duly elected President of South Africa in 1994. He did not accept this leadership sooner, as it was necessary to build the foundations to a new South Africa, including a ironclad constitution, a democratic system that was best of breed with an inclusive Parliament, Regional and National Government and a business environment that would foster growth.

Even more remarkable, he had earmarked a successor in Thabo Mbeki that would, in 1999, take on the mantel of national leadership and admirably fill the shoes of this legendary and almost mythical figure. Mbeki would bring South Africa to the next step of economic and social welfare with one of the strongest growth rates in the world, and sustainable social and economic programmes to ensure that it would remain an inclusive and internationally attractive country.

He is admirable for:

His capacity for forgiveness
His ability to inspire through the integrity of his character and the strength of his convictions
His complete lack of ego, and the resultant sustainability of his achievements through others

Raymond Ackerman

The Chairman of national grocery store Pick ´n Pay, he was fired by the then market leader Checkers in 1966, an action spawned by jealousy from his bosses at his success and often described as “The Single Greatest Mistake in South African Business – Ever.”

He proceeded to open a rival chain called Pick ´n Pay, and from humble beginnings this eventually grew into a market leader, built on fundamental principles he calls “The Four Legs of the Table”. Ackerman, and the whole of his thriving business, believes in and stresses the importance of Administration, Merchandise, Promotions / Social responsibility and People – with the sovereign consumer on top of the table.

His belief in Social Responsibility, specifically, has spurred him to implement social wellness programmes, educational benefits to staff, huge charity drives and numerous other initiatives that has firmly fixed Pick ´n Pay in the mind of the consumer as a company that cares about – and fights for- them. The public has resonded by supporting Pick ´n Pay to the degree that today is has long since eclipsed its old competitors and in reality now only face the Shoprite group in the retailer battlefield.

He is admirable for:

Doing what´s right on a social level long before it became fashion.
Formulating his guiding principles and sticking to them, and successfully transferring them to a massive organization as foundational principles to success.
Being a role model to other business leaders to what the modern South African can achieve through good corporate citizenship in helping change the landscape of our country.

Mark Shuttleworth

Mark Shuttleworth is of my generation, being born in 1973 in South Africa, a white South African. He sold his internet software company Thawte Consulting to US-based Verisign in 1999 for a reported $300 milllion, making him South Africa´s first internet billionaire (in Rand terms) and making him an immediately celebrity. Instead of just enjoying his windfall for the next few years, he proceeded to do the following:

He gave all of his 17 employees – including his gardener- a cool million dollars each to say thanks for their part in the success of his business
He immediately created several businesses, but most noteworthy would be HBD venture Capital (“Here be Dragons”) – to foster and support new technology businesses in South Africa.
On a social level, he initiated the Shuttleworth Foundation which runs the Hip2b² (hip to be square) campaign, a national campaign which encourages young South Africans to study Science and Maths as a key to eventual economic and social success.
He has broken several social taboos as one the most prominent young white South Africans, including dating a prominent black South African celebrity.
Currently, he is based in London and is spearheading the Ubuntu Project, an incursion on the territory of all-powerful Microsoft by developing free desktop software that can be readily available all over the world.

He entered the international consciousness, however, by using some of his vast fortune to buy a ticket to space in 2002. After seven months of intense testing and training, he launched with the crew of Soyuz TM-34 from Baikonur in Kazakhstan and docked with the International Space Station two days later. This event was the culmination of a lifelong dream and received wide international press for being “the first African in Space”.

He is admirable for:
His belief that there are no boundaries, whatever the mind of man can conceive it can achieve
· His generosity
His success as an entrepreneur, and his admirable use of capital gained in his pursuits to foster social upliftment and education
His willingness not only to spend on social initiatives but also to be gratuitous even under significant criticism (the exorbitant cost of the space mission cost him some friends – but hey, I just think it´s jealousy…).


All three leaders had very different paths.
Mandela´s power came from character and integrity, and the ability to convince others of the validity of his convictions.
Ackerman brought a work and principle-centred ethic to his life and business, and is a role model for all South Africans in building a sustainable business that benefits the greater community.
Shuttleworth has firmly established that no young South African needs to see any limits for themselves in the new global community, but that your successes should not be used just for personal gain but also to the benefit of others.

Through integrity of character, hard work and self-belief or our leaders, South Africa will continue to build a new economic and social miracle, and truly become a Rainbow Nation…

South Africa grows to 51.7-million!

Noun: Census – (sensus)

  1. A periodic count of the population

Statistics, statistics…we don’t like it but there must be some individuals as there are faculties dedicated to future statisticians!

Thanks to Statistics South Africa, Awesome South Africa and SouthAfrica.info and good ‘ol Google for some of the following information.

The last census before 2011 was done in 2001! As you experienced counting an entire country’s people from 10 years ago was going to need a lot of man (and woman) power. A year later with 156 000 field workers, 1 228 computers, 25 million census questionnaires (in 8 languages) and over 13.5 million houses visited they have established that we have 51.7 million people!

The average age of our citizens is 25 years old. There is an estimation of 26 581 769 females and 25 188 791 males. This I think can become problematic, so if you have a partner, stick to them as there is 1 392 978 more females than males. There is also a figure that shows more men died of unnatural causes…just saying…

We have 9 Provinces here in South Africa each a different size and with its own speciality! Our Provinces with their estimated population figures are below:

Western Cape – 5.8   million
Eastern Cape – 6.5   million
Northern Cape – 1.1   million
Free State – 2.7   million
Kwa-Zulu Natal – 10.2 million
North West – 3.5   million
Gauteng – 12.2 million
Mapumalanga – 4.0   million
Limpopo – 5.4   million

Now this is quite a substantial amount of people here and we all need to eat at some point…

73% of South Africans make use of electricity as main cooking source which is a 47.5% increase since 1996! The other cooking methods include Gas (3.5%), Paraffin (8.5), Wood (braai inclusive at 12.5%), Coal (0.7%), Solar (0.2%) and Other methods at 0.7%.

This is a bit of information to process and talking about food and cooking and being a Friday, let’s see if we can do a proper Chisa Nyama!

Till next time!

South African Coat of Arms

We all see the Coat of Arms everywhere, on our money, identification documents and well, just about all over…but do you know what it means?

It illustrates the extraordinary creativity of our people through the ages. It inspires our united and diverse nation to shine as bright as the sun!

The words in the Coat of Arms is that of the San people and calls for the nation to unite in a common sense of belonging and national pride!   !KE E:/XARRA //KE

Campbell, D. 2011, Awesome South Africa, Awesome SA Publishers.

Comparison South Africa, USA and UK

Society and People

South Africa USA United Kingdom
Population 49,004,031 (July 2011 est.) 313,232,044 (July 2011 est.) 62,698,362 (July 2011 est.)
Abolition of the slavery 1833 (was decided by the Brits) 1865 (after the American Civil War 1861 – 1865)

Ethnic groups black African 79%,white 9.6%,colored 8.9%, Indian/Asian 2.5% white 79.96%,black 12.85%,Asian 4.43%,Amerindian and Alaska native 0.97%,native Hawaiian and other Pacific islander 0.18%,two or more races 1.61% (July 2007 estimate) white (of which English 83.6%,Scottish 8.6%,Welsh 4.9%,Northern Irish 2.9%) 92.1%,black 2%,Indian 1.8%,Pakistani 1.3%,mixed 1.2%,other 1.6%(2001 census)
Birth rate 19.48 births/1,000 populationcountry comparison to the world: 3 13.83 births/1,000 population (2011 est.)country comparison to the world: 148 12.29 births/1,000 population (2011 est.)country comparison to the world: 161
Death rate 17.09 deaths/1,000 populationcountry comparison to the world: 3 8.38 deaths/1,000 population (July 2011 est.)country comparison to the world: 89 9.33 deaths/1,000 population (July 2011 est.)country comparison to the world: 64
Religions Protestant 36.6% (Zionist Christian 11.1%, Pentecostal/Charismatic 8.2%,Methodist 6.8%,Dutch Reformed 6.7%, Anglican 3.8%),Catholic 7.1%,Muslim 1.5%,other Christian 36%, other 2.3%,unspecified 1.4%,none 15.1%(2001 census) Protestant 51.3%,Roman Catholic 23.9%, Mormon 1.7%,other Christian 1.6%, Jewish 1.7%,Buddhist 0.7%,Muslim 0.6%,other or unspecified 2.5%,unaffiliated 12.1%,none 4%(2007 est.) Christian (Anglican, Roman Catholic, Presbyterian, Methodist) 71.6%,Muslim 2.7%,Hindu 1%,other 1.6%,unspecified or none 23.1%(2001 census)
Life expectancy at birth 49,33 yearscountry comparison to the world: 215 total population: 78.37 yearscountry comparison to the world: 50 total population: 80.05 yearscountry comparison to the world: 28
Maternal mortality rate 410 deaths/100,000 live births (2008)country comparison to the world: 35 24 deaths/100,000 live births (2008)country comparison to the world: 121 12 deaths/100,000 live births (2008)country comparison tothe world: 141
Infant mortality rate total: 43.2 deaths/1,000 live birthscountry comparison to the world: 58 total: 6.06 deaths/1,000 live birthscountry comparison to the world: 175 total: 4.62 deaths/1,000 live birthscountry comparison to the world: 189
Drinking water Source urban: 99% of populationrural: 78% of populationtotal: 91% of population urban: 100% of populationrural: 94% of populationtotal: 99% of population urban: 100% of populationrural: 100% of populationtotal: 100% of population (2008)
HIV/AIDS – adult prevalence rate 17,8% 0.6% (2009 est.) 0.2% (2009 est.)
People living with HIV 5,6 million (2008) 1,2 million 85,000 (2009 est.)
HIV deaths 310,000 (2009 est.) 17,000 (2009 est.) fewer than 1,000 (2009 est.)
Literacy definition: age 15 and over can read and writetotal population: 86.4%male: 87%female: 85.7% (2003 est.) definition: age 15 and over can read and writetotal population: 99%male: 99%female: 99% (2003 est.) definition: age 15 and over has completed five or more years of schoolingtotal population: 99%male: 99%female: 99% (2003 est.)
Unemployment, youth ages 15-24 total: 48.2%country comparison to the world: 3 male: 44.6%female: 52.5% total: 17.6%country comparison to the world: 66 male: 20.1%female: 14.9% (2009) total: 18.9%country comparison to the world: 63 male: 21.7%female: 15.6% (2009)




South Africa USA United Kingdom
Area total: 1,219,090 sq kmcountry comparison to the world: 25 and: 1,214,470 sq kmwater: 4,620 sq km total: 9,826,675 sq kmcountry comparison to the world: 3 land: 9,161,966 sq kmwater: 664,709 sq kmnote:includes only the 50 states and District of Columbia total: 243,610 sq kmcountry comparison to the world: 80 land: 241,930 sq kmwater: 1,680 sq km
Land boundaries total: 4,862 kmborder countries: Botswana 1,840 km, Lesotho 909 km, Mozambique 491 km, Namibia 967 km, Swaziland 430 km, Zimbabwe 225 km total: 12,034 kmborder countries: Canada 8,893 km (including 2,477 km with Alaska), Mexico 3,141 km total: 360 kmborder countries: Ireland 360 km
Climate mostly semiarid; subtropical along east coast; sunny days, cool nights mostly temperate, but tropical in Hawaii and Florida, arctic in Alaska, semiarid in the great plains west of the Mississippi River, and arid in the Great Basin of the southwest; low winter temperatures in the northwest are ameliorated occasionally in January and February by warm chinook winds from the eastern slopes of the Rocky Mountains temperate; moderated by prevailing southwest winds over the North Atlantic Current; more than one-half of the days are overcast
Terrain vast interior plateau rimmed by rugged hills and narrow coastal plain vast central plain, mountains in west, hills and low mountains in east; rugged mountains and broad river valleys in Alaska; rugged, volcanic topography in Hawaii mostly rugged hills and low mountains; level to rolling plains in east and southeast
Natural Resources vast interior plateau rimmed by rugged hills and narrow coastal plain coal, copper, lead, molybdenum, phosphates, rare earth elements, uranium, bauxite, gold, iron, mercury, nickel, potash, silver, tungsten, zinc, petroleum, natural gas, timbernote:the US has the world’s largest coal reserves with 491 billion short tons accounting for 27% of the world’s total coal, petroleum, natural gas, iron ore, lead, zinc, gold, tin, limestone, salt, clay, chalk, gypsum, potash, silica sand, slate, arable land
Coastline 2,798 km 19,924 km 12,429 km
Highest Point Njesuthi 3,408 m Mount McKinley 6,194 m Ben Nevis 1,343 m
Natural hazards prolonged droughtsvolcanism: the volcano forming Marion Island in the Prince Edward Islands, which last erupted in 2004, is South Africa’s only active volcano tsunamis; volcanoes; earthquake activity around Pacific Basin; hurricanes along the Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico coasts; tornadoes in the Midwest and Southeast; mud slides in California; forest fires in the west; flooding; permafrost in northern Alaska, a major impediment to development winter windstorms; floods



South Africa USA United Kingdom
Country name Republic of South Africa United States of America United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
Government type Republic Constitution-based federal republic; strong democratic tradition constitutional monarchy and Commonwealth realm
Capital Pretoria (administrative capital) note:Cape Town (legislative capital); Bloemfontein (judicial capital) Washington, DC London
Administration divisions 9 provinces: Eastern Cape, Free State, Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal, Limpopo, Mpumalanga, Northern Cape, North-West, Western Cape 50 states and 1 district:Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia*, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming England: 27 two-tier counties, 32 London boroughs and 1 City of London or Greater London, 36 metropolitan districts, 56 unitary authorities (including 4 single-tier counties*)
Independence 31 May 1910 (Union of South Africa formed from four British colonies: Cape Colony, Natal, Transvaal, and Orange Free State); 31 May 1961 (republic declared); 27 April 1994 (majority rule) 4 July 1776 (declared); 3 September 1783 (recognized by Great Britain) 12 April 1927 (Royal and Parliamentary Titles Act establishes current name of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland); notable earlier dates: 927 (minor English kingdoms united); 3 March 1284 (enactment of the Statute of Rhuddlan uniting England and Wales); 1536 (Act of Union formally incorporates England and Wales); 1 May 1707 (Acts of Union formally unite England and Scotland as Great Britain); 1 January 1801 (Acts of Union formally unite Great Britain and Ireland as the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland); 6 December 1921 (Anglo-Irish Treaty formalizes partition of Ireland; six counties remain part of the United Kingdom as Northern Ireland)
Legal System mixed legal system of Roman-Dutch civil law, English common law, and customary law common law system based on English common law at the federal level; state legal systems based on common law except Louisiana, which is based on Napoleonic civil code; judicial review of legislative acts common law system; has nonbinding judicial review of Acts of Parliament under the Human Rights Act of 1998
Constitution 10 December 1996; note – certified by the Constitutional Court 4 December 1996; was signed by then President MANDELA 10 December 1996; and entered into effect 4 February 1997 unwritten; partly statutes, partly common law and practice
Suffrage 18 years 18 years 18 years
Executive Branch Chief of state:President Jacob ZUMA (since 9 May 2009); Deputy President Kgalema MOTLANTHE (since 11 May 2009); note – the president is both the chief of state and head of governmentHead of government: President Jacob ZUMA (since 9 May 2009); Deputy President Kgalema MOTLANTHE (since 11 May 2009)Cabinet:Cabinet appointed by the presidentElections:president elected by the National Assembly for a five-year term (eligible for a second term); election last held on 6 May 2009 (next to be held in 2014)Election results:Jacob ZUMA elected president; National Assembly vote – Jacob ZUMA 277, Mvume DANDALA 47, other 76 Chief of state: President Barack H. OBAMA (since 20 January 2009); Vice President Joseph R. BIDEN (since 20 January 2009); note – the president is both the chief of state and head of governmentHead of government: President Barack H. OBAMA (since 20 January 2009); Vice President Joseph R. BIDEN (since 20 January 2009)Cabinet:Cabinet appointed by the president with Senate approvalElections:president and vice president elected on the same ticket by a college of representatives who are elected directly from each state; president and vice president serve four-year terms (eligible for a second term); election last held 4 November 2008 (next to be held on 6 November 2012)Election results: Barack H. OBAMA elected president; percent of popular vote – Barack H. OBAMA 52.4%, John MCCAIN 46.3%, other 1.3%; Chief of state:Queen ELIZABETH II (since 6 February 1952); Heir Apparent Prince CHARLES (son of the queen, born 14 November 1948)Head of government: Prime Minister David CAMERON (since 11 May 2010)Cabinet: Cabinet of Ministers appointed by the prime ministerElections:the monarchy is hereditary; following legislative elections, the leader of the majority party or the leader of the majority coalition usually the prime minister
Legislative Branch bicameral Parliament -National Council of Provinces (90 seats; 10 members elected by each of the nine provincial legislatures for five-year terms; has special powers to protect regional interests, including the safeguarding of cultural and linguistic traditions among ethnic minorities)National Assembly (400 seats; members elected by popular vote under a system of proportional representation to serve five-year terms)Elections:National Assembly and National Council of Provinces – last held on 22 April 2009 (next to be held in April 2014) bicameral Congress consists of the Senate (100 seats, 2 members elected from each state by popular vote to serve six-year terms; one-third elected every two years) and the House ofRepresentatives (435 seats; members directly elected by popular vote to serve two-year terms)Elections:Senate – last held on 2 November 2010 (next to be held in November 2012); House of Representatives – last held on 2 November 2010 (next to be held in November 2012)Election results:Senate – percent of vote by party – NA; seats by party – Democratic Party 51, Republican Party 47, independent 2; House of Representatives – percent of vote by party – NA; seats by party – Democratic Party 192, Republican Party 243 bicameral Parliament consists of House of Lords (741 seats; consisting of approximately 625 life peers, 91 hereditary peers, and 25 clergy – as of 15 December 2010) and House of Commons (650 seats since 2010 elections; members elected by popular vote to serve five-year terms unless the House is dissolved earlier)Elections:House of Lords – no elections (note – in 1999, as provided by the House of Lords Act, elections were held in the House of Lords to determine the 92 hereditary peers who would remain there; elections are held only as vacancies in the hereditary peerage arise); House of Commons – last held on 6 May 2010 (next to be held by June 2015)Election results:House of Commons – percent of vote by party – Conservative 36.1%, Labor 29%, Liberal Democrats 23%, other 11.9%; seats by party – Conservative 305, Labor 258, Liberal Democrat 57, other 30
Judical Branch Constitutional Court; Supreme Court of Appeals; High Courts; Magistrate Courts Supreme Court (nine justices; nominated by the president and confirmed with the advice and consent of the Senate; appointed to serve for life); United States Courts of Appeal; United States District Courts; State and County Courts Supreme Court of the UK (established in October 2009 taking over appellate jurisdiction formerly vested in the House of Lords); Senior Courts of England and Wales (comprising the Court of Appeal, the High Court of Justice, and the Crown Courts); Court of Judicature (Northern Ireland); Scotland’s Court of Session and High Court of the Justiciary
National Symbol Springbok, Antelope Bald eagle Lion (Britain in general); lion (England); lion, unicorn (Scotland); dragon (Wales); harp (Northern Ireland)




South Africa USA United Kingdom
Internet Users 4,42 million 245 million (2009) 33.32 million (2010)
Telephone- Main lines in use 4.225 million (2010) 151 million (2010) 80.799 million (2010)
Cell phones- Main lines in use 279 million (2010) 50,373 million (2010) 51.444 million (2009)





South Africa USA United Kingdom
Airports 578 (2010) 15,079 (2010) 505 (2010)
Pipelines condensate 11 km; gas 908 km; oil 980 km; refined products 1,382 km (2010) petroleum products 244,620 km; natural gas 548,665 km (2010) condensate 8 km; gas 14,071 km; liquid petroleum gas 59 km; oil 595 km; refined products 4,907 km (2010)
Railways total: 20,192 km total: 224,620 km total: 16,454 km
Roadways total: 362,099 km total: 6,506,204 kmcountry comparison to the world: 1 total: 394,428 km
Ports and Terminals Cape Town, Durban, Port Elizabeth, Richards Bay, Saldanha Bay Cargo ports (tonnage): Baton Rouge, Corpus Christi, Houston, Long Beach, Los Angeles, New Orleans, New York, Plaquemines, Tampa, Texas Citycontainer ports (TEUs): Los Angeles (7,849,985), Long Beach (6,350,125), New York/New Jersey (5,265,058), Savannah (2,616,126), Oakland (2,236,244), Hampton Roads (2,083,278) (2008)cruise departure ports (passengers): Miami (2,032,000), Port Everglades (1,277,000), Port Canaveral (1,189,000), Seattle (430,000), Long Beach (415,000) (2009)oil terminals: LOOP terminal, Haymark terminal Dover, Felixstowe, Immingham, Liverpool, London, Southampton, Teesport (England); Forth Ports (Scotland); Milford Haven (Wales)




South Africa USA United Kingdom
Military Branches South African National Defense Force (SANDF): South African Army, South African Navy (SAN), South African Air Force (SAAF), Joint Operations Command, Military Intelligence, South African Military Health Services (2009) United States Armed Forces: US Army, US Navy (includes Marine Corps), US Air Force, US Coast Guard; note – Coast Guard administered in peacetime by the Department of Homeland Security, but in wartime reports to the Department of the Navy (2011) Army, Royal Navy (includes Royal Marines), Royal Air Force (2010)
Military service age and obligation 18 years of age for voluntary military service; women are eligible to serve in noncombat roles; 2-year service obligation (2007) 18 years of age (17 years of age with parental consent) for male and female voluntary service; maximum enlistment age 42 (Army), 27 (Air Force), 34 (Navy), 28 (Marines); service obligation 8 years, including 2-5 years active duty (Army), 2 years active (Navy), 4 years active (Air Force, Marines) (2010) 16-33 years of age (officers 17-28) for voluntary military service (with parental consent under 18); women serve in military services, but are excluded from ground combat positions and some naval postings; as of October 2009, women comprised 12.1% of officers and 9% of enlisted personnel in the regular forces; must be citizen of the UK, Commonwealth, or Republic of Ireland; reservists serve a minimum of 3 years, to age 45 or 55; 16 years of age for voluntary military service by Nepalese citizens in the Brigade of Gurkhas; 16-34 years of age for voluntary military service by Papua New Guinean citizens (2009)