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South Africa Information


South Africa is located at the southern tip of Africa. It is bordered by Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Swaziland and Lesotho (which is completely surrounded by South Africa). It is a vast country with widely varying landscapes and has 11 official languages, as well as an equally diverse population. South Africa is renowned for its wines and is the world's largest producer of gold. South Africa has a strong economy and is an influential player in African politics. In 2010, South Africa will host the first Football World Cup to be held on the African continent.


    * Bloemfontein -- Location of the Supreme Court of Appeal, the highest court in non-constitutional matters. The Constitutional Court in Johannesburg became the highest court in constitutional matters in 1994.
    * Cape Town -- The legislative capital and seat of Parliament. A world-class city named for its proximity to the Cape of Good Hope. Also within a stone's throw of South Africa's winelands.
    * Pretoria -- The administrative capital of the country
    * Durban -- Largest city in KwaZulu-Natal and popular coastal holiday destination for South Africans.
    * Johannesburg -- The economic heart on Africa and the most common entry point into Southern Africa.
    * Nelspruit -- Capital of Mpumalanga and gateway to Mozambique.
    * Polokwane -- Capital of Limpopo (formally known as Pietersburg) and a good jump off point for visits to the northern parts of the Kruger National Park and Zimbabwe.
    * Port Elizabeth -- Coastal city in the Eastern Cape with Addo Elephant National Park located close by.
    * Upington -- Located in the arid Northern Cape province, this city is a good base when exploring the Kalahari desert and the many national parks located in the Northern Cape.

Other destinations

South Africa is a paradise for anyone interested in natural history. A wide range of species (some potentially dangerous) may be encountered in parks, farms, private reserves and even on the roads.

    * The Kruger National Park is exceptionally well managed and a favourite tourist destination.
    * Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park in the heart of the Kalahari desert with wide open spaces and hordes of games including the majestic 'Gemsbok'. This is the first park in Africa to cross political borders.
    * There are also a large number of smaller parks, like the Hluhluwe-Umfolozi Park, Addo Elephant National Park, Pilanesberg National Park or the iSimangaliso Wetland Park.

See African Flora and Fauna and South African National Parks for additional information.

There are many geographical features and landmarks in South Africa worth a visit.

    * The Augrabies Falls carved out by the Orange River in the Northern Cape
    * The Blyde River Canyon in Mpumalanga is the third largest Canyon in the world.
    * The Tugela Falls, the second highest waterfall in the world, located in the Drakensberg
    * The Drakensberg Escarpment and surrounding areas in Mpumalanga
    * The most southern tip of Africa at Cape Agulhas
    * The Garden Route - One of the top destinations, running along the Southern Coast from Mossel Bay to Port Elizabeth.
    * The Drakensberg mountain range, if you like hiking
    * The Whale Coast along the Overberg Coast from Hermanus past Gansbaai to De Hoop Nature Reserve

There are hiking trails available in almost all the parks and around geographical places of interest. Hiking in South Africa contains information on those.

With 2798km of coastline one can also except to find excellent beaches and coastal activities.

    * Durban, not only the beaches, but also the Indian market.
    * Port Elizabeth for swimming and scuba diving and other water related activities.
    * Jeffreys Bay, the surfing mecca of South Africa

Other places not to miss include

    * Cape Town - the mother city is a must. Be sure to visit its famous landmarks Table Mountain and the Cape of Good Hope
    * The famous Cape Winelands around Stellenbosch, Paarl and Franschhoek.
    * The semi-desert Karoo and the famous ostrich farms near Oudtshoorn, as well as the Big Hole in the diamond city of Kimberley.
    * Johannesburg, the economic powerhouse of Africa

A number of UNESCO World Heritage Sites are also located in South Africa

    * The Cradle of Humankind, near Johannesburg is a must see for anyone interested in where it all started.A large collection of caves rich in hominid and advanced ape fossils.
    * Robben Island just off the coast from Cape Town where Nelson Mandela was imprisoned for many years.
    * The Cape Floral Region in the Western Cape
    * iSimangaliso Wetland Park
    * Mapungubwe Kingdom, in the North-West
    * Ukhahlamba Drakensberg Park, for its landscape, biodiversity and rock art.
    * Vredefort Dome, remnants of the largest and oldest meteorite impact crater.