Home / Africa Blog / South Africa’s National Symbols

South Africa’s National Symbols

Countries have national symbols to show the world that it is a national community. National symbols are used to unite people by using pictorial representations such as animals and flowers to reflect the country’s values, goals, or history. You will often see them used in sport’s events or other patriotic celebrations. Below are South Africa’s National Symbols.

South Africa’s National Animal

The animal chosen to represent South Africa is the Springbok. In fact the South African rugby team is called the ‘Springboks’, locally known as ‘the bokke’. The Springbok (Antidorcas marsupialis) gets its common name from the way it jumps and springs around. It is extremely fast and reaches speeds of 100km/hour and leaps as high as 4 metres. When a male Springbok wants to show off its strength to attract a mate, or to ward off predators, he trots with his legs stiff off the ground and jumps high into the air and arches his back – a very amusing display to see!

Springboks live in dry, barren areas and open grass plains, such as the Free State, North West and Karoo. It is often that you will see a Springbok on an African safari, and hopefully you can see them springing around and ‘strutting their stuff’!

springbok_south_africa's_national_bird

The Springbok (Image)

South Africa’s National Bird

The Blue Crane (Anthropoides paradisia) has been chosen for this title, probably due to the fact that they reside almost entirely to the country. They are about a metre tall and a beautiful shade of light blue-grey, with a long neck and a rather large head. Their legs are long and spindly with elegant wing plumes which sweep along the ground. They are very graceful birds. You will find them in the Karoo, the grasslands of KwaZulu-Natal and the Highveld. Occasionally you will hear a distinctive high-pitched and rattling croak which can be heard from some distance, the call of the Blue Crane.

Blue_Crane_South_Africa

The Blue Crane (Image)

South Africa’s National Flower

The beautiful and wild-growing King Protea (Protea cynaroides) takes this honour. It has a very large flower head with large petals and can be seen in a variety of colours. The King Protea is the largest of the Proteas. It is distributed in the south-western and southern areas of the Western Cape. South Africa’s national cricket team are called ‘The Proteas’.

south_africa_king_protea

The King Protea (Image)

South Africa’s National Fish

Yes, there is even a national fish – the Galjoen (Dichistius capensis). The Galjoen was chosen as the country’s national fish because it is only found along the coast from Namibia to Durban, and nowhere else in the world. The Galjoen changes colour, depending on where it is swimming. Near rocks it is almost completely black, while in sandy areas the colour changes to silver-bronze. Anglers love to catch this fish and it known as a game fighter.

galjoen_south_africa
                 The Galjoen (Image)

South Africa’s National Tree

Last, but not least is South Africa’s National Tree – the Yellowwood tree. The Yellowwood family has been growing in this part of Africa for over 100- million years. The real Yellowwood (Podocarpus latifolius), South Africa’s national tree, is found on Table Mountain, along the southern and eastern Cape coast, and in the valleys of the Drakensberg up to Soutpansberg and Blouberg in Limpopo.

These trees can grow up to 40m in height with the base of the trunk being about 3m in diameter. The Yellowwood tree is a protected species. The bark of the Yellowwood is khaki-coloured and almost grey when it is old, and the bark peels off in strips. The Yellowwood is one of South Africa’s most valuable timber trees.

yellowwood_tree_south_africa

The Yellowwood Tree (Image)

South African tours:

  • Tour Length 22 days
    Group Size Min 1 Max 22
    Starts & Ends Starts: Johannesburg Ends: Cape Town
    Countries South Africa, Lesotho, Eswatini (Formerly Swaziland)
    Overview

    Set out on an exciting journey across some of southern Africa's most breathtaking landscapes. Take the breathtaking coastline road from Johannesburg to Cape Town in 22 days, stopping at many amazing locations along the way. Take game drives in the Kruger National Park to locate elusive animals, unwind on beautiful beaches, interact with the Xhosa people in Cintsa, and mix things up with two exciting nights in Cape Town. See the best of southern Africa's blessed natural beauty, accompanied by a local guide who can offer you all the best advice and a group of eager to discover adventurers. From the savanna of Kruger to the lush wetlands of the St Lucia Estuary to the dramatic ocean vistas and fertile vineyards along the Wild Coast.

    Price from

    R53,760

    View Tour Check Availability

    22 Day Southern Africa Overland Tour

    Tour start → end dates Price Enquire
    20 Jul 2024 → 10 Aug 2024

    From

    R59220
    Check Availability
    10 Aug 2024 → 31 Aug 2024

    From

    R58065
    Check Availability
    07 Sep 2024 → 28 Sep 2024

    From

    R58640
    Check Availability
    21 Sep 2024 → 12 Oct 2024

    From

    R58065
    Check Availability
    05 Oct 2024 → 26 Oct 2024

    From

    R58065
    Check Availability
    16 Nov 2024 → 07 Dec 2024

    From

    R55915
    Check Availability
    07 Dec 2024 → 28 Dec 2024

    From

    R55915
    Check Availability
    21 Dec 2024 → 11 Jan 2025

    From

    R55915
    Check Availability
    04 Jan 2025 → 25 Jan 2025

    From

    R57505
    Check Availability
    18 Jan 2025 → 08 Feb 2025

    From

    R57505
    Check Availability
    15 Feb 2025 → 08 Mar 2025

    From

    R57505
    Check Availability
    15 Mar 2025 → 05 Apr 2025

    From

    R57505
    Check Availability
    12 Apr 2025 → 03 May 2025

    From

    R59805
    Check Availability
    17 May 2025 → 07 Jun 2025

    From

    R59805
    Check Availability
    14 Jun 2025 → 05 Jul 2025

    From

    R59805
    Check Availability
    05 Jul 2025 → 26 Jul 2025

    From

    R59805
    Check Availability
    19 Jul 2025 → 09 Aug 2025

    From

    R62110
    Check Availability
    09 Aug 2025 → 30 Aug 2025

    From

    R62110
    Check Availability
    23 Aug 2025 → 13 Sep 2025

    From

    R62110
    Check Availability
    06 Sep 2025 → 27 Sep 2025

    From

    R62110
    Check Availability
    20 Sep 2025 → 11 Oct 2025

    From

    R62110
    Check Availability
    11 Oct 2025 → 01 Nov 2025

    From

    R59805
    Check Availability
    08 Nov 2025 → 29 Nov 2025

    From

    R59805
    Check Availability
    29 Nov 2025 → 20 Dec 2025

    From

    R57505
    Check Availability
    20 Dec 2025 → 10 Jan 2026

    From

    R57505
    Check Availability
  • Tour Length 16 days
    Group Size Min 1 Max 16
    Starts & Ends Starts: Johannesburg Ends: Johannesburg
    Countries Zimbabwe, Botswana, South Africa
    Overview Travel to Southern Africa and return to South Africa via Johannesburg, the Kruger National Park, Victoria Falls, and the Khama Rhino Sanctuary. This is your chance to see gorgeous sunsets, go on safari over the plains of Africa, camp in a secluded area, and travel through rivers teeming with recognizable species. Experience the wonders of majestic waterfalls, be mesmerized by sightings of threatened species, and be encouraged by the perseverance of communities rising out of difficult circumstances as you travel through South Africa, Botswana, and Zimbabwe. Take in Southern Africa and leave with a heart full of memories, inspiration, and fresh hope.

    Price from

    R75,990

    View Tour Check Availability

    16 Day Southern Africa Overland

    Tour start → end dates Price Enquire
    23 Jun 2024 → 08 Jul 2024

    From

    R85320
    Check Availability
    07 Jul 2024 → 22 Jul 2024

    From

    R83700
    Check Availability
    21 Jul 2024 → 05 Aug 2024

    From

    R82070
    Check Availability
    04 Aug 2024 → 19 Aug 2024

    From

    R88600
    Check Availability
    15 Sep 2024 → 30 Sep 2024

    From

    R88600
    Check Availability
    22 Sep 2024 → 07 Oct 2024

    From

    R86890
    Check Availability
    06 Oct 2024 → 21 Oct 2024

    From

    R88465
    Check Availability
    20 Oct 2024 → 04 Nov 2024

    From

    R82960
    Check Availability
    17 Nov 2024 → 02 Dec 2024

    From

    R75990
    Check Availability
    08 Dec 2024 → 23 Dec 2024

    From

    R75990
    Check Availability
    22 Dec 2024 → 06 Jan 2025

    From

    R75990
    Check Availability
    12 Jan 2025 → 27 Jan 2025

    From

    R81280
    Check Availability
    09 Feb 2025 → 24 Feb 2025

    From

    R81280
    Check Availability
    09 Mar 2025 → 24 Mar 2025

    From

    R81280
    Check Availability
    06 Apr 2025 → 21 Apr 2025

    From

    R81280
    Check Availability
    27 Apr 2025 → 12 May 2025

    From

    R81280
    Check Availability
    18 May 2025 → 02 Jun 2025

    From

    R81280
    Check Availability
    01 Jun 2025 → 16 Jun 2025

    From

    R84530
    Check Availability
    15 Jun 2025 → 30 Jun 2025

    From

    R84530
    Check Availability
    29 Jun 2025 → 14 Jul 2025

    From

    R87785
    Check Availability
    06 Jul 2025 → 21 Jul 2025

    From

    R87785
    Check Availability
    13 Jul 2025 → 28 Jul 2025

    From

    R87785
    Check Availability
    27 Jul 2025 → 11 Aug 2025

    From

    R87785
    Check Availability
    10 Aug 2025 → 25 Aug 2025

    From

    R87785
    Check Availability
    24 Aug 2025 → 08 Sep 2025

    From

    R87785
    Check Availability
    31 Aug 2025 → 15 Sep 2025

    From

    R87785
    Check Availability
    07 Sep 2025 → 22 Sep 2025

    From

    R84530
    Check Availability
    14 Sep 2025 → 29 Sep 2025

    From

    R84530
    Check Availability
    21 Sep 2025 → 06 Oct 2025

    From

    R84530
    Check Availability
    28 Sep 2025 → 13 Oct 2025

    From

    R84530
    Check Availability
    05 Oct 2025 → 20 Oct 2025

    From

    R84530
    Check Availability
    12 Oct 2025 → 27 Oct 2025

    From

    R81280
    Check Availability
    19 Oct 2025 → 03 Nov 2025

    From

    R81280
    Check Availability
    02 Nov 2025 → 17 Nov 2025

    From

    R81280
    Check Availability
    21 Dec 2025 → 05 Jan 2026

    From

    R84530
    Check Availability
  • Tour Length 14 days
    Group Size Min 2 Max 10
    Starts & Ends Starts: Cape Town Ends: Port Elizabeth
    Countries South Africa
    Overview In the south of South Africa, there is a great deal of diversity and colour. Cape Town, for example, is a world-class city that will enchant any visitor. With its picturesque wine farms and charming towns, the Winelands entices visitors to stay and spend time there, while the Whale Coast draws visitors hoping to see the giants of the ocean in season. Beautiful lagoons, sandy beaches, impressive cliffs, and lush vegetation characterise the Garden Route. South Africa's wildlife can be encountered at Addo Elephant Park. Join us on a journey of discovery as we explore this magical region with a small group of travelWe will not only show you the well-known highlights but also hidden gems - we will share our favourite destinations with you, as well as our passion for the country.

    Price from

    R47,000

    View Tour Check Availability

    14 Day South Africa Experience – Small Group Tour

    Tour start → end dates Price Enquire
    26 Sep 2024 → 09 Oct 2024

    From

    R49000
    Check Availability
    10 Oct 2024 → 23 Oct 2024

    From

    R49000
    Check Availability
    07 Nov 2024 → 20 Nov 2024

    From

    R49000
    Check Availability
    05 Dec 2024 → 18 Dec 2024

    From

    R49000
    Check Availability

These national symbols are not mere static emblems; they are vibrant expressions of the South African spirit, woven into the tapestry of the nation’s identity. Let them inspire you to uncover the magic of this captivating land, where adventure awaits at every turn.

About Bronwyn Paxton

Article by: Bronwyn Paxton
on January 22, 2024
Filed under  Africa Blog • South Africa 
African Overland Tours Experts
  • First-hand experience
  • Advice and guidance
  • We're passionate travelers

Enquire Now

FEATURED POSTS

How to do a Ngorongoro Crater safari on a budget

How to do a Ngorongoro Crater safari on a budget

Tanzania’s Ngorongoro Crater is the largest unflooded and unbroken crater in the world. IT is the site of a massive once-active volcano that last erupted millions of years ago. Covering a massive...

Flexible Payment Installments

Flexible Payment Installments

We know how difficult it can be to save for you trip. We are pleased to announce that we are helping travellers by offering you the option to pay for your tour by monthly installments. Pay monthly...

0 Comments

Next Article