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What are the Key Facts of South Africa? | South Africa Facts - Answers


Questions answered : 1471||Last updated on : August 12th, 2020 At 08:09am (ET)
Answers » Geography » What are the Key Facts of South Africa?

What are the Key Facts of South Africa?

Map of South Africa
Map of South Africa which lies in the Continent of Africa

Official Name

Republic of South Africa

Continent

Africa

Capital

Pretoria (administrative); Cape Town (legislative); Bloemfontein (judicial)

Largest City

Johannesburg

Coordinates

-29.000000, 24.000000

Area

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

Land Boundaries

3,258 mi (5,244 km)

Coastline

1,738 mi (2,798 km)

Currency

South African rand (ZAR)

Neighboring Countries

Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, Zimbabwe

Population

58,558,000 (World Bank, 2019)

Official Languages

11 Official languages: English, isiZulu, isiXhosa, Afrikaans, Sepedi, Setswana, Sesotho, Xitsonga, siSwati, Tshivenda, isiNdebele

Major Religion

Christianity

National Day

27 April (Freedom Day)

National Anthem

National Anthem of South Africa”

Form of Government

Parliamentary republic

President

Cyril Ramaphosa

Deputy President

David Mabuza

GDP per capita (PPP)

$ 12,999.1 (World Bank, 2019)

GDP per capita (nominal)

$ 6,001.4 (World Bank, 2019)

HDI

0.705 (2019), Rank: 113

Literacy Rate (%)

87.05 (UNESCO, 2017)

Space Agency

South African Space Agency (SANSA)

Military Expenditure Ranking

48 (SIPRI, 2019)

No. of Olympic Medals

86 (as of 2018)

Driving Side

left

Calling Code

27

Time Zone

UTC+2 (SAST)

Internet TLD

.za

Where is South Africa?

South Africa (whose official name is the Republic of South Africa or RSA) is a Southern African country that is at the southern tip of the African continent. It is the southernmost country in the Eastern Hemisphere.

What is the Geography of South Africa?

South Africa spreads across a total area of 1,219,090 sq. km (470,693 sq. mi). Out of the total area, 1,214,470 sq. km (468909 sq. mi) is land area and 4,620 sq. km (1,783.8 sq. mi) is the water area. The total area includes Prince Edward Islands (both Prince Edward Island and Marion Island).

The Republic of South Africa’s total land boundary is 3,258.5 mi (5,244 km) long. It shares its borders with Botswana (1,223.5 mi or 1,969 km) to the north, Lesotho (687.2 mi or 1,106 km), Namibia (624.5 mi or 1,005 km) to the north, Mozambique (308.2 mi or 496 km) to the east, Eswatini (272.2 mi or 438 km) to the northeast, and Zimbabwe (142.9 mi or 230 km) to the north. South Africa surrounds Lesotho, which is an enclaved country.

Southern Africa’s coastline stretches along the South Atlantic and Indian Oceans. Its coastline is 1,738.6 mi (2,798 km) long.

The mean elevation of South Africa is 3,392.4 ft (1,034 m). While the highest point is Njesuthi at 11,181.1 ft (3,408 m), the lowest point is the Atlantic Ocean at 0 ft (0 m). The terrain of South Africa is characterized by a vast interior plateau, which is rimmed by rugged hills as well as narrow coastal plain.

The interior of RSA consists of a vast, flat, plateau that has altitude anything from 3,300 ft (1,000 m) to 6,900 ft (2,100 m). The highest elevation in these plateaus is in the eastern part. The landform slopes downward as you move towards the west and north. It also slopes downwards but less noticeably towards the south and southwest. The Great Escarpment surrounds this plateau. The highest stretch of the Great Escarpment is in its eastern part and is known as the Drakensberg.

The plateau’s south and southwestern parts are around 3,608.9-5,905.5 ft (1,100-1,800 m) above sea level. The adjoining plain of the plateau is around 2,296.6-2,624.7 ft (700-800 m) above sea level. Both south and southwestern parts, along with the adjacent plain of the plateau, are together called the Great Karoo, which consists of scrubland (sparsely populated).

Bushmanland is in the Great Karoo’s north. It is even drier and arider. As you move towards the northwest of the country, Bushmanland eventually becomes the Kalahari desert.

Highveld is the highest part of the plateau and is in the mid-eastern section of South Africa. It is relatively well-watered, and most of the commercial farmlands of the country are in this region.

The plateau slopes down to the Bushveld as you move to the north of Highveld. It ultimately gives way to the Lowveld or the Limpopo lowlands. As you move clockwise from the northeast below the Great Escarpment, the coastal belt is situated. It consists of Limpopo Lowveld, which below the Mpumalanga Drakensberg merges with the Mpumalanga Lowveld.

Several ranges of Cape Fold Mountains run parallel to the coastal belt, which is below the Great Escarpment’s south and southwestern stretches. These mountains separate the Great Escarpment from the ocean.

The highest mountains in South Africa are Thabana Ntlenyana, Makheka, Thaba Putsoa, Mafadi, etc. Some of the major rivers in the country are the Orange River, Limpopo River, Vaal River, Molopo, and others. The most famous lakes are Lake Chrissie, Lake St. Lucia, Lake Sibaya, and many more.

What is the Climate of South Africa?

The climate of South Africa ranges from the Mediterranean climate (in the southwestern corner) to temperate (in the interior plateau) to subtropical (in the northeast). Desert climate can be found in a small area in the northwest part of South Africa.

Most of the country gets a warm-weather having sunny days and cooler nights. The month of summer starts in October-March and continues till March-April. The summer season remains uncomfortably hot and humid on the Indian Ocean coast. Temperature can reach up to 86 °F (30°C). In the Kalahari Desert area, it remains unbearably hot.

During October-November, the temperature hovers around 59 °F (15 °C) in the morning and goes up to about 82 °F (28 °C) in the afternoon. It often starts raining in the afternoon, when it remains warmer.

Most of the rainfall (torrential downpour) takes place in South Africa during December, January, and February months. The rain takes place mostly in the afternoon. The temperature in the afternoon hovers around 29 °C (84 °F).

Rainfall starts to decrease in March and April. It starts getting cooler with lovely, clear weather, especially in April. The nighttime remains colder, and the temperature remains pleasant (hovering around 59 °F or (15 °C). The temperature stays around 82 °F (28 °C) during the daytime. Humidity starts dropping in April.

Winter season starts in May and continues till September. In May, summer ends, and the temperature remains relatively cool (50°F or 10 °C in the morning and 79 °F or 26 °C in the afternoon).

It remains cold during June, July, and August with the average temperature hovering around 42 °F (6 °C) in the morning and 73-77 °F (23-25 °C) in the afternoon. In September, the temperature remains pleasant (around 53 °F or 12 °C) in the morning. However, in the afternoon, the temperature rises to about 82 °F (28 °C).

Annual average rainfall remains low (below 7.87 inches or 200 mm) in the northeast part of South Africa. However, it goes up to around 19.69-35.43 inches (500-900 mm) per year in the eastern Highveld. Sometimes in this region, the rainfall also surpasses 78.74 inches (2,000 mm).

In the central part of the country, the annual rainfall remains around 15.75 inches (400 mm). While the western part of the 400-millimeter “rainfall line” is best for livestock grazing or crop cultivation on irrigated land, the eastern part is most suitable for growing crops.

What is the Economy of South Africa?

South Africa is a middle-income, emerging economy. It is one of the top-20 economies in the world and has the largest stock exchange in Africa. The nominal GDP of the economy was US$351.432 billion in 2019, with a GDP growth rate of 0.153% in the same year.

The South African economy has a well-developed financial, legal, transport, energy, and communications sectors.

The country boasts of a positive trade balance, which was $19.6 billion in 2018. While the export value was $115 billion, the import value was $95.5 billion. The major export items are Gold, Diamonds, Platinum, Cars, and Coal Briquettes. The major import items are Crude Petroleum, Refined Petroleum, Cars, Vehicle Parts, and Broadcasting Equipment.

The unemployment rate in this South African country was 28.8% in 2019. A study by the national data agency, Statistics South Africa, in 2017 showed that 55.5% of the population (more than 30.4 million South Africans) is poor, living on less than 992 rands (around $75) per person per month.

What is the Transportation System of South Africa?

South Africa has 407 airports, out of which 130 have paved runways, and 277 have unpaved runways. The most important airports are O.R. Tambo International Airport (Johannesburg), Cape Town International Airport (Cape Town), King Shaka International Airport (Durban), etc.

There is 750,000 km (466,028.4 mi) long roadways, out of which 158,124 km (98,253.7 mi) is paved and 591,876 km (367,774.7 mi) is unpaved. The major seaports of South Africa are Port Elizabeth, Cape Town, Saldanha Bay, Durban, and Richards Bay. The country has 103 merchant marine vessels.

20,986 km (13,040.1 mi) long railway connection is present, out of which 80 km (49.7 mi) is standard gauge, 19,756 km (12,275.8 mi) is narrow gauge, and the rest 1,150 km (714.6 mi) is other railway connections.

What International Organizations is South Africa part of?

WTO, IMF, UN, UNESCO, ILO, ACP, AfDB, AU, BIS, BRICS, C, CD, FAO, FATF, G-20, G-24, G-5, G-77, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICCt, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, IMO, IMSO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO, ITSO, ITU, MIGA, MONUSCO, NAM, NSG, OPCW, PCA, SACU, SADC, UNAMID, UNCTAD, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNITAR, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WHO, WIPO, WMO, ZC, ICC (national committees), OECD (enhanced engagement), ITUC (NGOs), Paris Club (associate), WFTU (NGOs)

Related Links:

Related Maps:
Map of World Depicting Location of South Africa
Location Map of South Africa
Political Map of South Africa
South Africa Political Map
Africa Map
Africa Map

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