South Africa

Driving Directions South Africa

SOUTH AFRICA is a republic that lies at the southern tip of the African continent. It has a massive coastline to the west on the Atlantic Ocean and the east on the Indian Ocean, while Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, and Swaziland lie to the north of the country.

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It is a diverse country with a wide variety of landscapes, abundant animal and plant life, and a vibrant economy that has developed after some difficult years because of apartheid and the sequential application of trade sanctions by most of the outside world.

Google maps™ South Africa


Most of the country lies below the Tropic of Capricorn and divided into three main topographical regions – a vast central plateau, mountains, and a coastal belt. The high central plateau consists of grassland (the highveld) at heights of 1,200-1,800 meters or 3,937-5,905 feet, and it ringed to the east, south, and west by mountains, which rise above the plains. The highveld ends to the north in a ridge called the Witwatersrand and beyond this is bushveld.

The highest peaks can found in the Drakensberg Mountains in the east, which rise to just over 3,000 meters or 10,000 feet. The highest point is Champagne Castle at 3,375 meters or 11,072 feet. The coastal fringes merge into the plateau via steps or steep slopes and some smaller mesas, such as the Great and Little Karoo.

Towering above Cape Town on the southern coast, is the famous Table Mountain, an isolated flat-topped peak reaching just under 1,100 meters or 3,609 feet. The principal rivers are the Limpopo, the Vaal, and the Orange, which is the longest.

A vibrant mix of animal life and habitat means that South Africa can boast several national parks, the largest of which is the Kruger Park in the northeast of the country.

The climate in South Africa is generally mild and temperate, with plenty of sunshine and relatively low rainfall. This varies with latitude, distance from the sea, and altitude.

Some 58 percent of the total land area is used as natural pasture although soil erosion is a problem. The main crops grown are maize, sorghum, wheat, groundnuts and sugar cane. A drought-resistant variety of cotton is also now grown. South Africa’s extraordinary mineral wealth, which includes gold, coal, copper, iron ore, manganese, diamonds and chrome ore, overshadows ali its other natural resources. Since the dismantling of apartheid m 1994, the country has once again become an active and recognised member of the international community.

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