The southernmost African country of South Africa encompasses an area of 1,221,037 sq. km.
South Africa is mostly covered by a plateau that drops in elevation from the east (about 2,400 m) to west (about 600 m). In the west, it gives way to the Kalahari Desert. The central part of the plateau is called the Highveld and has elevations ranging from 1,200 to 1,800m.
The Drakensberg, marked on the map above, is another major geographical feature of the country. It is the eastern part of the Great Escarpment enclosing the plateau land to the north. The region hosts South Africa's highest peak, the 3,450 m tall Mafadi located on the border between South Africa and Lesotho. The Drakensberg is a UNESCO World Heritage Site famous for its spectacular landscapes.
There is very little coastal plain in South Africa except for some parts of KwaZulu-Natal and Western Cape. Most of the 2,955-km coastline rises steeply from the coast with elevations rising further inland.
Table Mountain is a notable geographical landmark in South Africa. It is a flat-topped mountain that is part of the Table Mountain National Park. It overlooks the city of Cape Town and attracts many visitors.
As marked on the map, the Orange River and Limpopo River systems are two major river systems draining South Africa. Many other rivers also crisscross the country.
Cape of Good Hope and Cape Agulhas of South Africa are two notable capes in the country and can be observed on the map above. The former is the meeting point of the warm Agulhas current and the cold Benguela current creating extreme weather events and choppy seas. The latter hosts the southernmost tip of mainland Africa.
South Africa also has several islands. The most well-known island of the country, the Robben Island, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, has been marked on the map.
South Africa is divided into nine provinces as shown on the political map above. These are Eastern Cape, Free State, Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal, Limpopo, Mpumalanga, Northern Cape, North West, and Western Cape. The provinces are further divided into metropolitan and district municipalities. The latter is further sectioned into local municipalities. All municipalities are divided int still smaller units called wards.
With an area of 372,889 sq. km, Northern Cape is South Africa's largest province while Gauteng is the most populous one.
The country has three capital cities. Pretoria, Cape Town, and Bloemfontein served as the executive, legislative, and judicial capitals of the country respectively. Johannesburg is the country's largest city.
Africa's southernmost country, South Africa, is located in the Southern and Eastern Hemispheres of the world. It is also the Eastern Hemisphere's southernmost mainland country. South Africa shares a border with six countries. It surrounds the enclaved country of Lesotho. Namibia, Zimbabwe, and Botswana border it to the north. Mozambique and Eswatini border it to the east and northeast, respectively. South Africa has coastlines on both the Atlantic Ocean and the Indian Ocean to the south.
Regional Maps: Map of Africa
|Legal Name||Republic of South Africa|
|Capital City||Pretoria (administrative capital); Cape Town (legislative capital); Bloemfontein (judicial capital)|
|25 42 S, 28 13 E|
|Independence||31 May 1910 (Union of South Africa formed from four British colonies: Cape Colony, Natal, Transvaal, and Orange Free State); 22 August 1934 (Status of the Union Act); 31 May 1961 (republic declared); 27 April 1994 (majority rule)|
|Total Area||1,219,090.00 km2|
|Land Area||1,214,470.00 km2|
|Water Area||4,620.00 km2|
|Total Border||5,244.0 km|
|Bordering Countries||Botswana 1969 km, Lesotho 1106 km, Mozambique 496 km, Namibia 1005 km, Eswatini 438 km, Zimbabwe 230 km|
|Climate||Mostly semiarid; subtropical along east coast; sunny days, cool nights|
|Coordinates||29 00 S, 24 00 E|
|Mean Elevation||1,034 m|
|Lowest Elevation||0 m|
|Highest Elevation||3,408 m|
|Ethnic Groups||black African 80.9%, colored 8.8%, white 7.8%, Indian/Asian 2.5% (2018 est.)|
|Languages||isiZulu (official) 24.7%, isiXhosa (official) 15.6%, Afrikaans (official) 12.1%, Sepedi (official) 9.8%, Setswana (official) 8.9%, English (official) 8.4%, Sesotho (official) 8%, Xitsonga (official) 4%, siSwati (official) 2.6%, Tshivenda (official) 2.5%, isiNdebele (official) 1.6%, other (includes Khoi, Nama, and San languages) 1.9% (2017 est.)|
|Religions||Christian 86%, ancestral, tribal, animist, or other traditional African religions 5.4%, Muslim 1.9%, other 1.5%, nothing in particular 5.2% (2015 est.)|
|GDP Per Capita||$6,001.40|
|Exports||Gold, diamonds, platinum, other metals and minerals, machinery and equipment|
This page was last updated on October 12, 2020