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Countries Closest to South Africa with Exceptions

Name the non-African countries whose territory is geographically closest to South Africa.
Not counting overseas territories or departments
Not including the uninhabited South African possessions in the Prince Edward Islands
Quiz by Quizmaster
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Last updated: November 10, 2017
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First submittedNovember 9, 2017
Times taken50,354
Average score85.7%
Rating4.81
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km
country
4118
Yemen
4485
Saudi Arabia
4945
Oman
5450
Maldives
5540
United Arab Emirates
5636
Qatar
5744
Bahrain
km
country
5746
Jordan
5747
Brazil
5766
Israel
5909
Iraq
5925
Kuwait
5955
Iran
6034
India
km
country
6099
Syria
6165
Lebanon
6185
Sri Lanka
6211
Pakistan
6321
Cyprus
6359
Greece
6464
Uruguay
68 Comments
+48
Level 62
Nov 9, 2017
Excellent quiz. Surprisingly easy though. Lots of freebies once you realize most of the middle east is easily within the range
+5
Level 83
Nov 9, 2017
Interesting!
+5
Level 85
Nov 9, 2017
Using Google Earth's ruler tool, I get a much longer distance to Australia (about 7600 km). Is there something tricky I'm overlooking?
+5
Level 71
Nov 9, 2017
You're right. And my "Countries Distance Matrix" concurs. Seems like next up is surprisingly- Uruguay, at 6465 km, narrowly beating out Turkey. Though that should probably be confirmed by whatever source Quizmaster is using.
+2
Level 67
Nov 9, 2017
Indonesia actually looks closer than Australia.
+2
Level 69
Nov 10, 2017
Maps are not at all useful for calculating – or even making wild guesstimates of – distances (even though in this case, it was the right guess!).
+7
Level ∞
Nov 9, 2017
I finally got around to writing a computer program to calculate distances. I dug a little deeper and it seems that Australia is 6397 km from Marion Island, an uninhabited island controlled by South Africa. I think I'll remove that answer and add a caveat.
+1
Level 60
Jun 11, 2022
Also, I'm getting 4642 km for Brazil with Ilha do Sul when researching for my version with external territories, which I believe is not covered in the caveats.
+7
Level 59
Nov 9, 2017
With Argentina as a near miss?
+7
Level 83
Nov 10, 2017
Malta should be close too
+5
Level 64
Nov 22, 2017
Afghanistan seems much closer. Spain is also closer
+1
Level 48
Mar 30, 2020
Argentina misses it by only about 200 km
+3
Level 74
Nov 10, 2017
All but Uruguay. I tried Argentina and Chile -- figured if those were no then Uruguay wouldn't work. I should know better by now than to not at least try what I think is unlikely.
+2
Level 44
Mar 12, 2018
yeah gave up on south american countries after I got Brasil.. and Argentina and Chile didnt work haha
+2
Level 60
Nov 10, 2017
Uruguay's a big surprise. Never would've expected for it to appear.
+2
Level 59
Jul 2, 2020
It was the first one I got.
+1
Level 48
Dec 28, 2021
mine too
+5
Level 74
Nov 19, 2017
Even though I guessed Cyprus early on, I didn't get Greece until the last 5 seconds...I kept getting hung upon Turkey..
+4
Level 84
Mar 12, 2018
I never would have guessed Greece is closer than Turkey.
+2
Level 51
Mar 12, 2018
Probably because of Crete
+7
Level 54
Mar 17, 2018
The Greek island of Gavdos lies to the south of Crete, comprising the southernmost point of Europe.
+4
Level 89
Nov 19, 2019
Further south than Cyprus?
+5
Level 60
Aug 25, 2021
Not this again. Please shut up.
+1
Level 64
Nov 22, 2017
I tried Spain because of the Canary Islands, but they are 6900 km far
+1
Level 76
Jul 3, 2020
And anyway, the Canary Islands are considered part of Africa
+4
Level 60
Aug 25, 2021
And anyway, they are a overseas territory or department
+1
Level 45
Jan 8, 2018
UK? They own falkland islands. They are only 4,300 miles apart?
+9
Level 81
Feb 14, 2018
''Not counting overseas territories or departments.''

As statet in the top.

+3
Level 66
Mar 12, 2018
I'll be the political and correct commenter again, Islas Malvinas belong to Argentina.
+16
Level 62
Mar 18, 2018
The Falkland Islands belong to Argentina as much as Taiwan belongs to mainland China. Argentina's land claim is untenable.

The Falkland Islanders are British citizens.

+2
Level 52
Dec 16, 2023
THANK YOU for recognizing Taiwan as an independent country.
+2
Level 76
Sep 30, 2020
Except the claim is not on the islanders but on the islands, and is far from untenable, as most of the UN countries seem to agree with.

Also, the Taiwan comparison is inadequate, since Taiwan is a sovereign nation, unlike the islands.

+8
Level 62
Jan 21, 2021
They had a referendum, and only three people voted against remaining as an Overseas Territory of the United Kingdom. I think that's fairly conclusive.
+1
Level 66
Sep 26, 2023
Most UN countries do not agree, but those currying favour with Argentina or anti-UK will say so for political reasons. Not only has Argentina never occupied the islands, but Argentina itself is an occupied country of Spanish descendants.
+1
Level 76
Mar 4, 2024
It's amusing to think Argentina would be important enough for other countries to want to curry favor with it. As for the anti-UK argument, again, we're talking about *most* UN countries, unless you think there's a worldwide anti-UK sentiment strong enough for those countries to make diplomatic gestures that would affect their relationship with one of the most powerful nations in the world. Also, bear in mind that some of those are Commonwealth countries. Hardly anti-UK.

As for the referendum, it wasn't legally valid (like how the Crimean one wasn't, yet some people argue for the former and against the latter), just a political gesture.

And actually the islands were settled when the British took them by force in 1833.

The truth is the issue of sovereignty is very messy, as there's a lot of factors, and ambiguity related to events of the past (like which country had the first valid claim). My issue is with people who pretend this is a settled matter with only one side to the argument.

+1
Level 76
Mar 4, 2024
To clarify on the UN countries point, many resolutions have been voted throughout the years, calling for negotiations to be held. And by "voted" I mean "voted in favor by a majority of the member states". I.e. most UN countries.
+4
Level 72
May 8, 2022
The land claim is only untenable if you make this decisions by emotion rather than fact. They were unsettled, although possibly visited by native Patagonians, before European discovery. The islands were then controlled by Britain and France, the latter of which later surrendered its half to Spain (Spain, not Argentina). Buenos Aires claimed control of Spain’s South Atlantic holdings in 1816 and backed a German born governor, but they were never able to take control from the British.

The only ‘claim’ Argentina has is one of proximity. The islands are approx 300 miles off the coast of the southernmost point of Argentina: by that logic, India could claim Sri Lanka, Morocco the Canary Islands and the USA, the Bahamas (sovereign nation or otherwise is irrelevant if it’s simply a case of one country saying “that island is sort of nearby, therefore it’s ours.”). Apart from that, there were a handful of gauchos and fishermen on the islands. Never had them, couldn’t take them.

+1
Level 44
Jul 2, 2022
okay then sri lanka is indian, the canary islands are moroccon, the bahamas are american and the falkand islands are argentenian
+1
Level 76
Mar 12, 2018
Cool quiz. I couldn't visualise it at all though so did really badly!
+3
Level 71
Mar 12, 2018
Interesting quiz, some surprises, good idea.
+2
Level 75
Mar 12, 2018
Can't believe I got Uruguay but forgot Iran and Iraq.
+1
Level 60
Mar 12, 2018
Forgot Greece while I got Turkey and Cyprus, good one.

And I knew I forgot one country in the Saudi Arabia area, forgot about Kuwait.

+1
Level 66
Mar 12, 2018
If greece is on this list, Malta should be too.
+1
Level 66
Nov 4, 2019
Italy would come before Malta because of the island of Lampedusa
+1
Level 27
Mar 12, 2018
Kuwait and Uruguay caught me off guard.
+1
Level 73
Mar 12, 2018
I got Uruguay after trying a bunch of other countries, since I figured if Brazil was so in range there had to be something else.

But Kuwait was the last one I remembered.

+1
Level 36
Mar 12, 2018
greece stuned me
+1
Level 70
Mar 14, 2018
"whose territory is geographically closest" (not including actual territories)
+4
Level 63
Jul 30, 2018
So no country should be on this list then?
+2
Level 68
Mar 24, 2018
Got all of them on the 2nd attempt. Was betrayed by Greece on the first run
+3
Level 81
Oct 2, 2018
I feel Russia and Norway should be on there - you know, just go off the bottom of the map and come back on the top...
+2
Level 60
Sep 30, 2021
Lol but world is sphere
+2
Level 58
Jul 7, 2019
Technically Norways Bouvet island is closest to south africa.
+2
Level 59
Jan 19, 2021
You may be right, but external territories are excluded.
+2
Level 76
Jul 2, 2020
Nice. How does quizmaster do it..
+1
Level 56
Jul 3, 2020
Why are none of them actually in Africa???
+4
Level 81
Jul 3, 2020
To make it more challenging?
+4
Level 58
Aug 19, 2021
That's the point. Sigh.
+1
Level 51
Dec 8, 2020
nice quiz
+1
Level 58
Aug 19, 2021
Nice quiz!
+1
Level 30
May 7, 2022
Portugal is also close because of the "Selvagens Islands"
+3
Level 45
May 7, 2022
not including overseas territories
+1
Level 60
Jun 11, 2022
With Selvagen Islands, I get 7,206 km. Not enough for this quiz anyways.
+2
Level 60
Jun 11, 2022
+1
Level 69
Aug 3, 2023
...there are south african territories near the prince edward islands???
+1
Level 77
Sep 26, 2023
Not related to Prince Edward Island. They’re tiny islands between Antarctica and South Africa.
+1
Level 45
Jan 4, 2024
i got uruguay but missed the maldives and cyprus FML
+1
Level 66
Apr 9, 2024
Finished with exactly 0 seconds left, BARELY got Jordan in before the time ended