To the World from South Africa

The Republic of South Africa is the country at the southern tip of Africa. It borders the Atlantic and Indian oceans and Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Swaziland, and Lesotho, an independent enclave surrounded by South African territory. South Africa is a member of the Commonwealth of Nations, and is widely regarded as the most socially and economically developed country on the continent.

1,219,090 sq km (470,693 sq miles).

45,454,211 (official estimate 2002).

Population Density
36.8 per sq km.

Pretoria (administrative). Population: 1,985,983 (2001). Cape Town (legislative). Population: 2,893,247 (2001). Bloemfontein (judicial). Population: 119,698 (2001).

The Republic of South Africa lies at the southern end of the African continent. It is bounded by the Indian Ocean to the east and the Atlantic Ocean to the west, and is bordered to the north by Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique and Swaziland and totally encloses Lesotho. South Africa has three major geographical regions, namely plateau, mountains and the coastal belt. The high plateau has sharp escarpments which rise above the plains, or veld. Despite two major river systems, the Limpopo and the Orange, most of the plateau lacks surface water. Along the coastline are sandy beaches and rocky coves, and the vegetation is shrublike. The mountainous regions which run along the coastline from the Cape of Good Hope to the Limpopo Valley in the northeast of the country are split into the Drakensberg, Nuweveldberg and Stormberg ranges.
Following the 1994 elections, South Africa was organised into nine regions. These comprise the Western Cape with its provincial and national capital of Cape Town, the Eastern Cape with its provincial capital of Bisho, the Northern Cape with its provincial capital of Kimberley, KwaZulu-Natal with its provincial capital of Pietermaritzburg, the Free State with its provincial capital of Bloemfontein, the North West Province with its provincial capital of Mmabatho, Limpopo (formerly called the Northern Province) with its provincial capital of Polokwane (formerly called Pietersburg), Mpumalanga with its provincial capital of Nelspruit, and Gauteng with its provincial capital of Johannesburg.

The official languages are Afrikaans, English, isiNdebele, isiXhosa, isiZulu, Sepedi, Sesotho, Setswana, Siswati, Tshivenda and Xitsonga.