Souvenirs from South Africa
Visitors to the Republic of South Africa are impressed with the vibrant scenery and unique political situation. South African souvenirs reflect both the traditions of the culture, including delicious preserves and chutneys that combine African fruits with European recipes. A truly remarkable craft is created from tin cans, turning them into multi-petaled flowers that will look amazing in a ceramic vase. Beautifully produced silver pieces, such as utensils, bowls and trays, are another chic option for a home. A bottle of Pinotage wine, a varietal created using local grapes, is a classic souvenir from South Africa, as well as diamond jewelry. For something just as special, if a little kinder to the pocketbook, wooden art and toys sculpted by hand are available in many different markets. Cookbooks of South African recipes, posters of the landscapes and wildlife, or even a key chain or refrigerator magnet, are just a few of the fine memorabilia offered to tourists.
Flora of South Africa
A major draw for visitors to South Africa is the wide range of animals, plants and climates found within its borders. In fact, the country ranks sixth in the world for biodiversity, with 20,000 of the Earth's recognized plant species. The grassland is the most prevalent climate, full of grasses, shrubs and trees, with cacti in drier northwest regions. In the Western Cape, the majority of plants are evergreen, with needle leaves. The protea plant, popular as a house plant, originates from South Africa, where you can find about 130 different species. Only 1 percent of the country is forested, mostly found in the coast plain region. This is linked to the arrival of the first European settlers, who cut down much of the forest to create buildings in the European manner. The settlers were also responsible for bringing a great many invasive species to the country, which threaten the native plants.