Breaking a world record is a massive accomplishment and Capetonians are known for their tenacity when there’s a winning medal in sight.

In honour of Guinness World Record Day, we decided to take a closer look at some of the historical achievements made by Cape Town locals.

From having the largest numbers of surfers riding the same wave to the first heart transplantation, the Mother City has a lot to be proud of.

Many of our accolades have put South Africa on the map on the map for innovation and determination.

Here are 5 memorable Guinness World Records achieved

1.First successful heart transplantation 

A milestone in the medical field was achieved in Cape Town when Dr. Christiaan Neethling Barnard and 30 other medical physicians performed the world’s first successful heart transplant at Groote Schuur Hospital, Cape Town, South Africa.

The Mother City has a hospital named in honour of the leading doctor, and the Heart of Cape Town museum inside Groote Schuur hospital showcases the story of the first heart transplant.

2. Largest cycling race  

The annual Cape Argus Pick’n Pay Cycle tour held in Cape Town was named a World Guinness Record-holder in March 2004, a year that saw 42 614 entrants.

This comes as no surprise, as locals are known to love their outdoor adventures and were recently dubbed the healthiest South Africans.

3. Most people performing full-body burns 

Testing their mettle, 32 locals came together to break a world record for the most people set alight. All participants were qualified stuntmen and the spectacle took place at Grand Parade on January 4 2018.

A lot of planning an preparation went into the event, as safety was a main concern. All stuntmen wore fire-proof costumes and gel. Once they were finished, a helper extinguished the flames.

The previous record was held by 21 men in Cleveland, Ohio, in the United States.

Facebook/ Grand Parade Cape Town


4. Most people on a single wave

Over 110 surfers arrived on Muizenberg Beach in October 2009 and took to the water to ride one wave simultaneously.

The event was organised by Kahuna Promotions and held with the Earthwave Beach Festival in an effort to raise awareness about climate change.


5.World’s smallest Ostrich (in height) 

The Cape Town Ostrich ranch was previously home to the world’s smallest ostrich in terms of its height, Tom Thumb. The record-holding adult male bird was measured at 127cm in height from the ground. An average male ostrich is measured at 1.8 -2.7 meters.

Unfortunately, Tom Thumb passed away in September 2018 – there are no definite cause of his death but the Cape Town Ostrich Ranch have decided to host a display in his honour.


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Not a bad view for Tom Thumb the resident miniature Ostrich #capetownostrichranch #miniostrich #whataview

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Picture: Facebook

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