Discover South Africa in Africa

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.

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, 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.

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.

Demographic Information

South Africa has 392 senior citizens having at least the age of 100 years. Female citizens make up for 323 of this count (which is 82%). 4,670,219 children are younger than 5 years (and make up for 10% of the total population). 19.6 babies are born per thousand citizens.

South African Age Distribution

Blue bars represent male citizens. Red bars represent female citizens. A pair or bars represents a single age group spanning five years each. Data has been released 2011.

Gender Distribution (Full Population)

Total share of male (blue) and female (red) citizens of the total population of South Africa

Growth of Population (per thousands)

Babies born per thousand citizens (blue) and deaths (red) over the past ten years.

Geography And Economy Facts

Geographic Fact Data
Summary Continent: Africa
Neighbours: Zimbabwe, Swaziland, Mozambique, Botswana, Namibia, Lesotho
Capital: Pretoria
Size 1,219,912 square kilometers (km² or sqkm) or 471,011 square miles (mi² or sqmi)
slightly less than twice the size of Texas
Population 43,786,000

Economy Facts

Technology and Economy Data
Currency Name: Rand, Currency Code: ZAR
Country Top Level Domain (cTLD) .za
Telephone Country Prefix +27
Mobile Phone Connections 46,436,000
Landline Phone Connections 4,320,000
Military Spendings 1.7% (of GDP, Gross Domestic Product)

Country Position in World Rankings

Information about single country attributes and how these compare against the rest of the world. The information below is compiled with data from 2013. As such, it may differ a bit to the Information above in the text (which is from 2010).


Type of Data Value World Rank
Area 1,219,090 (sq km) 25

People and Society

Type of Data Value World Rank
Population 48,601,098 26
Population growth rate -0.45 (%) 221
Birth rate 19.14 (births/1,000 population) 93
Death rate 17.36 (deaths/1,000 population) 1
Net migration rate -6.24 (migrant(s)/1,000 population) 196
Maternal mortality rate 300.00 (deaths/100,000 live births) 40
Infant mortality rate 42.15 (deaths/1,000 live births) 52
Life expectancy at birth 49.48 (years) 222
Total fertility rate 2.25 (children born/woman) 100
Health expenditures 8.90 (% of GDP) 46
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate 17.80 (%) 4
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS 5,600,000 1
HIV/AIDS - deaths 310,000 1
Obesity - adult prevalence rate 31.30 (%) 24
Children under the age of 5 years underweight 11.60 (%) 63
Education expenditures 6.00 (% of GDP) 38
Unemployment, youth ages 15-24 49.8 (%) 5


Type of Data Value World Rank
GDP (purchasing power parity) 592,000,000,000 26
GDP - real growth rate 2.50 (%) 120
GDP - per capita (PPP) 11,600 109
Labor force 17,890,000 35
Unemployment rate 22.70 (%) 168
Distribution of family income - Gini index 63 2
Investment (gross fixed) 20.90 (% of GDP) 84
Taxes and other revenues 24.8 (% of GDP) 126
Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-) -5.50 (% of GDP) 166
Public debt 43.30 (% of GDP) 83
Inflation rate (consumer prices) 5.20 (%) 145
Central bank discount rate 7.00 (%) 38
Commercial bank prime lending rate 9.00 (%) 99
Stock of narrow money 117,000,000,000 30
Stock of broad money 277,000,000,000 34
Stock of domestic credit 287,900,000,000 37
Market value of publicly traded shares 855,700,000,000 16
Industrial production growth rate 2.50 (%) 103
Current account balance -21,330,000,000 183
Exports 101,200,000,000 40
Imports 106,800,000,000 34
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold 54,980,000,000 34
Debt - external 137,500,000,000 37
Stock of direct foreign investment - at home 162,900,000,000 27
Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad 88,590,000,000 29


Type of Data Value World Rank
Electricity - production 257,900,000,000 (kWh) 16
Electricity - consumption 234,200,000,000 (kWh) 17
Electricity - exports 15,040,000,000 (kWh) 12
Electricity - imports 10,060,000,000 (kWh) 23
Electricity - installed generating capacity 44260000 (kW) 22
Electricity - from fossil fuels 90.8 (% of total installed capacity) 75
Electricity - from nuclear fuels 4.1 (% of total installed capacity) 25
Electricity - from hydroelectric plants 1.5 (% of total installed capacity) 141
Electricity - from other renewable sources 0.5 (% of total installed capacity) 76
Crude oil - production 169,000 (bbl/day) 41
Crude oil - imports 402,300 (bbl/day) 22
Crude oil - proved reserves 15000000 (bbl) 88
Refined petroleum products - production 516,100 (bbl/day) 32
Refined petroleum products - consumption 590,900 (bbl/day) 30
Refined petroleum products - exports 49,430 (bbl/day) 60
Refined petroleum products - imports 60,290 (bbl/day) 63
Natural gas - production 970,000,000 (cu m) 65
Natural gas - consumption 4,010,000,000 (cu m) 67
Natural gas - imports 3,040,000,000 (cu m) 43
Natural gas - proved reserves 27,160,000 (cu m) 104
Carbon dioxide emissions from consumption of energy 465,100,000 (Mt) 13


Type of Data Value World Rank
Telephones - main lines in use 4,127,000 42
Telephones - mobile cellular 64,000,000 20
Internet hosts 4,761,000 23
Internet users 4,420,000 54


Type of Data Value World Rank
Airports 567 11
Railways 20,192 (km) 14
Roadways 362,099 (km) 18
Merchant marine 3 138


Type of Data Value World Rank
Military expenditures 1.70 (% of GDP) 87

Based on the content from The original article can be found here based on the work of these users. Geography information is based on the data provided by, CIA world facts book Edition 2010, 2013 and 2014, Unesco, DBpedia, wikipedia, national statistical offices and their census releases as well as other sources.