SOUTH AFRICA (REPUBLIC OF SOUTH AFRICA)

Date of establishment: May 31, 1910

Brief history:

  • 1910: Formation of the Union of South Africa by the joining of four British colonies and the Boer republics (the Orange State and Transvaal) into one state unit under the British crown.
  • 1948: The introduction of apartheid, a policy of racial segregation that limited the rights and freedoms of the black population.
  • 1961: South Africa gained independence and declared itself a republic.
  • 1994: Nelson Mandela elected president in the country’s first democratic elections, marking the end of apartheid.
  • 1996: A new constitution was adopted and South Africa became a multi-ethnic and democratic country.

 

International abbreviation: ZA

 

Currency: South African rand (ZAR)

The South African rand is divided into 100 cents. It is the commonly used currency in the Republic of South Africa and is also accepted in some other states of South Africa.

 

Internet domain: .za

 

Dialing code: +27

 

Time zone: GMT +2

 

Geography:

The country has extensive coastlines on the Atlantic and Indian oceans. The Atlantic coast runs along the western coast, while the Indian Ocean coast skirts the eastern part of the country.

The interior is characterized by diverse landscapes, including savannah, mountains, plains, and deserts. For example, the Drakensberg Mountains and the Karoo Desert are located there.

The country has several important rivers, including the Orange River, which forms the border with Namibia and partly with Botswana. Further rivers are the Limpopo, Vaal, and many others. The country also has several lakes, the largest of which is Lake Chrissie in Mpumalanga province. South Africa is home to vast deserts such as the Kalahari in the north and the Karoo in the south.

 

Highest peak: Mafadi 3 446 m (11 306 fee) above sea level.

Mafadi is the highest peak in South Africa and also the highest point of the entire Drakensberg mountain range.

This majestic peak is located on South Africa’s border with Lesotho, a small landlocked country surrounded by South Africa.

 

Climate:

The western part of the country, including the Cape Town area, has a Mediterranean climate with warm, dry summers and mild, rainy winters.

The interior has a typical continental climate with hot summers and cold winters. Most of the precipitation falls in the summer.

The northeastern part, including Limpopo and Mpumalanga provinces, has a subtropical climate with hot, humid summers and mild winters.

In the Drakensberg Mountains in the northeast of the country, there are different microclimates depending on the altitude. Higher elevations have a cooler climate and snow often falls.

The coastal areas of the Atlantic and Indian Oceans have a temperate oceanic climate with mild temperatures and frequent rainfall.

 

Fauna and flora:

South Africa is famous for the ‘Big Five’, which are the five most important African mammals that can be seen on safari. These include the lion, elephant, rhinoceros, leopard, and a buffalo.

In addition to the Big Five, a wide variety of other mammals can be seen, including the cheetah, hyena, zebra, giraffe, impala, and many more.

The country is home to many species of birds. It has several bird sanctuaries where you can observe rare species such as the African penguin, peregrine falcon, and African crow.

Fynbos, a special type of low shrubby vegetation, is typical of the Cape Town region. The local ecosystem is characterized by its rich and diverse flora, including many endemic (occurring only in this region) species. The interior of South Africa is home to savannah.

The northeastern part, especially the Limpopo province, hosts rainforests and wetlands with rich vegetation.

 

Agriculture:

South Africa produces a variety of crops, including cereals (wheat and maize), fruits (lemons, oranges, and grapes), vegetables (potatoes and onions) and sugar cane. The Western Cape region, including Cape Town, is known for wine growing and vineyards.

Livestock also plays an important role in South African agriculture. The country has large herds of cattle and sheep, contributing to the production of beef, lamb, and dairy products.

South Africa is one of the leading citrus fruit producers in the world. Citrus production includes oranges, lemons, grapefruits, and tangerines. The vineyards in the Western Cape region are known for their quality wine. South African wines have a prominent position in the world market and include varietals such as Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, and Sauvignon Blanc.

 

Extraction of raw materials:

South Africa was for a long time the largest gold producer in the world. Although this position was later overtaken by other countries, gold still plays a significant role in the South African economy.

It is also a major producer of diamonds. Diamond mines are mainly located in the Kimberley region. The country is the world’s leading producer of platinum. In addition, other precious metals such as rhodium, palladium, and iridium are also mined.

It has extensive coal reserves. Coal is used to generate electricity and in industry. South Africa also mines iron ore, which is important for the production of steel and other metal products.

 

Industry:

South Africa has a developed automotive industry. The country also has a mature chemicals industry, which includes production of chemicals, plastics, fertilizers, and other chemical products.

The country is investing in infrastructure, including transport networks, power plants, and telecommunications. The textiles and clothing industry produces clothes, textiles, and footwear for the domestic market and for export.

 

Services and other areas of the economy: tourism, road, maritime, rail and air transport, telecommunications, banking, science and research, and the IT sector

 

Natural and historical attractions: the Drakensberg Mountains, Kalahari Desert, Kruger, Tsitsikamma and Greater St. Lucia, Cape Town and Table Mountain, the Garden Route, and Kimberley Mine.

South Africa is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Africa and the world. It offers a diverse mix of beautiful nature, rich culture and history, wildlife on safari, and much more.

It has gorgeous countryside with diverse landscape types including mountains, savannah, beaches, deserts, and rainforests. Cape Town is a popular destination for tourists, with Cape Point, Table Mountain, and many other beautiful locations. Tourists can visit historical sites such as Robben Island, where Nelson Mandela was imprisoned, and learn more about the struggle against apartheid.

 

Waterparks in South Africa:

 

Form of government: parliamentary republic

The main representative of the state is the president, who is head of state and government. The president is elected for a five-year term through general elections. The government is headed by the president and consists of various ministers who are responsible for their respective ministries and areas of administration. The South African parliament is bicameral and consists of the National Assembly and the National Council of Provinces.

The South African political system is pluralistic and multiparty. There are several political parties, the two most prominent of which are the African National Congress (ANC) and the Democratic Alliance (DA). The Republic of South Africa is divided into nine provinces, which have their own government structures and self-government. Each province has its own legislative assembly and executive branch. The South African judicial system is independent and comprises of courts at various levels, including the Constitutional Court, the High Court and the regional courts.

 

Capital city: Pretoria (executive), Cape Town (legislature)

Pretoria is located in the interior of the Republic of South Africa, in Gauteng province, about 50 kilometers (30 miles) north of Johannesburg, which is the country’s largest city.

Pretoria was founded in 1855 during the period of British settlement and was named after Andries Pretorius, a major settlement figure in the area. The city played an important role during the Boer Wars and later became the capital of the independent Republic of South Africa.

Cape Town is the second largest city in South Africa, the capital of the Western Cape province and at the same time the legislative capital, the seat of the South African parliament and other government institutions. Thanks to its natural scenery (Table Mountain and Cape Point among others), it is referred to as one of the most beautiful cities in the world and an ideal tourist destination.

 

Area: 1 221 037 km2 (471 445 square miles)

 

Population: 62 000 000 (2022)

South Africa is extremely diverse in terms of ethnic and racial composition of the population. The largest ethnic groups include the black, Afrikaner, and Anglo-Saxon populations, but there are many other smaller groups and communities, including Asians and Caucasians.

The country has 11 official languages. The most widespread of these are Zulu, Afrikaans, and English. The main religions are Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, and traditional African religions.

The state faces various social challenges, including income inequality, unemployment, high crime rates, and serious health problems of the population.

 

UNESCO World Heritage Sites: 10

 

  1. Hominid sites in South Africa (1999) – Archaeological sites associated with human evolution.
  2. iSimangaliso National Park (1999) – A protected area with diverse fauna and flora, including the sea coast.
  3. Robben Island (1999) – A historical island where political prisoners, including Nelson Mandela, were imprisoned.
  4. Maloti Drakensberg (2000) – A picturesque mountain range with dramatic rock formations and rock paintings.
  5. Mapungubwe Cultural Landscape (2003) – A historical site and former kingdom of Mapungubwe.
  6. Protected areas of the Cape flower kingdom (2004) – Protected areas with rich endemic flora.
  7. Vredefort Crater (2005) – Large impact crater after a meteorite impact.
  8. Richtersveld – cultural landscape with unique botany (2007) – A combination of cultural heritage and unique flora in a desert environment.
  9. Khomani Cultural Landscape (2017) – An area inhabited by traditional Khomani San.
  10. Barberton Makhonjwa Range (2018) – A geological site with important fossil finds and geological formations.

 

National parks: 19

 

  1. Addo Elephant National Park
  2. Agulhas National Park
  3. Augrabies Falls National Park
  4. Bontebok National Park
  5. Camdeboo National Park
  6. Garden Route National Park
  7. Golden Gate Highlands National Park
  8. Karoo National Park
  9. Kgalagadi National Park
  10. Kruger National Park
  11. Mapungubwe National Park
  12. Marakele National Park
  13. Mokala National Park
  14. Mountain Zebra National Park
  15. Namaqua National Park
  16. Table Mountain National Park
  17. Tankwa Karoo National Park
  18. West Coast National Park
  19. Ai-|Ais/Richtersveld National Park