Explore South Africa in Africa

South Africa
Country Guide

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South Africa with its capital Pretoria is located in Africa (Southern Africa, at the southern tip of the continent of Africa). It covers some 1,219,913 square kilometres (slightly less than twice the size of Texas) with 43,786,000 citizens. Zulu, Xhosa, Afrikaans, , English, Tswana, Sotho, Southern and Tsonga are the official languages spoken in South Africa (consider regional differences). Zimbabwe, Swaziland, Mozambique, Botswana, Namibia and Lesotho are bordering countries.

South Africa is located at the southern tip of Africa. The Orange River on the border to Namibia is a popular destination for rafting tours. Several tour operators launch 4-6 day trips in blow-up boats from Vioolsdrif with camping under the stars. South Africa has sites spread along its coast that are perhaps better known for sharks and other large marine life, but also have a wide range of endemic smaller fish and invertebrates. The coastal sites range from tropical coral reefs in the north of KwaZulu-Natal, where the fish are typical Indo-pacific tropical species, and very colourful, to cool temperate rocky reefs on the West Coast, where the fish life is relatively dull, but the invertebrates provide the colour.

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Pictures from the South African capital

Have a look at our dedicated photo collection to get a view of what Pretoria is like. We have selected more pictures from Pretoria on our dedicated gallery page.

Awesome photos provided by Panoramio are under the copyright of their owners.

Landscape, climate and basic hints for travelling

National Tourism office

Website: South Africa Tourism

P.O. Box X 02
Southbroom 4277
South Africa

Phone: +27 39 316 6999
Phone: +27 39 316 6999

The topography features vast interior plateau rimmed by rugged hills and narrow coastal plain. The average density of population is about 36 per km². The climate in South Africa can be described as mostly semiarid with subtropical along east coast, sunny days, cool nights. Potential natural disasters are prolonged droughts.

To reach someone in South Africa dial +27 prior to a number. There are 4,320,000 installed telephones. And there are 46,436,000 registered mobile phones. The cellular networks operate on frequencies of 900, 1800 Mhz. Websites typically end with the top level domain ".za". If you want to bring electric appliances (e.g. battery charger), keep in mind the local 220V - 50Hz.

Learn more on our South African Facts page.

Description of the flag of South Africa

Two equal width horizontal bands of red (top) and blue separated by a central green band that splits into a horizontal Y, the arms of which end at the corners of the hoist side; the Y embraces a black isosceles triangle from which the arms are separated by narrow yellow bands; the red and blue bands are separated from the green band and its arms by narrow white stripes; the flag colors do not have any official symbolism, but the Y stands for the "convergence of diverse elements within South African society, taking the road ahead in unity"; black, yellow, and green are found on the flag of the African National Congress, while red, white, and blue are the colors in the flags of the Netherlands and the UK, whose settlers ruled South Africa during the colonial era
note: the South African flag is one of only two national flags to display six colors as part of its primary design, the other is South Sudan's.

National administrative regions of South Africa

Historical background information

Dutch traders landed at the southern tip of modern day South Africa in 1652 and established a stopover point on the spice route between the Netherlands and the Far East, founding the city of Cape Town. After the British seized the Cape of Good Hope area in 1806, many of the Dutch settlers (the Boers) trekked north to found their own republics. The discovery of diamonds (1867) and gold (1886) spurred wealth and immigration and intensified the subjugation of the native inhabitants. The Boers resisted British encroachments but were defeated in the Boer War (1899-1902); however, the British and the Afrikaners, as the Boers became known, ruled together beginning in 1910 under the Union of South Africa, which became a republic in 1961 after a whites-only referendum. In 1948, the National Party was voted into power and instituted a policy of apartheid - the separate development of the races - which favored the white minority at the expense of the black majority. The African National Congress (ANC) led the opposition to apartheid and many top ANC leaders, such as Nelson MANDELA, spent decades in South Africa's prisons. Internal protests and insurgency, as well as boycotts by some Western nations and institutions, led to the regime''s eventual willingness to negotiate a peaceful transition to majority rule. The first multi-racial elections in 1994 brought an end to apartheid and ushered in majority rule under an ANC-led government. South Africa since then has struggled to address apartheid-era imbalances in decent housing, education, and health care. ANC infighting, which has grown in recent years, came to a head in September 2008 when President Thabo MBEKI resigned, and Kgalema MOTLANTHE, the party''s General-Secretary, succeeded him as interim president. Jacob ZUMA became president after the ANC won general elections in April 2009.

Learn more on our South African Facts page.

Based on the content from wikitravel.org. The original article can be found here based on the work of these users. Geography information is based on the data provided by geonames.org, CIA world facts book Edition 2010 and 2013, Unesco, DBpedia, wikipedia and others.