As one of countries starting with S, South Africa is the southernmost country in Africa. It is located on the Atlantic Ocean and the Indian Ocean. It is a large country with about fifty million inhabitants. The majority of the inhabitants are people of African descent. South Africa has the largest group of non-African residents. mainly Europeans and Indians, together they make up about twenty percent of the population.
South Africa has been inhabited by different tribes for thousands of years. It was the Dutch who were shipwrecked and built a fortress here in the second half of the seventeenth century. Thus the Cape of Good Hope came under the administration of the VOC. Later Robben Island also came under the administration of the VOC. At the end of the eighteenth century, this part of South Africa became a British colony. The many Dutch farmers who had come to live here in the meantime stayed and that is why people still speak a kind of Dutch, Afrikaans.
After the British abolished slavery here and the Dutch and German residents were not compensated enough for this, the Boer Wars started. This eventually led to the Union of Africa.
The next stumbling block in the country was Apartheid. After a long struggle and under intense pressure from the rest of the world, racial segregation in South Africa was abolished in 1990 by Frederik Willem de Klerk. The most famous champions of this struggle were Nelson Mandela and Desmond Tutu.
Meanwhile, the country is already facing the next crisis. About twenty-five percent of the population group between the ages of fifteen and forty-five has AIDS or is zero-positive. This could have major consequences for the future of the country.
South Africa is one big attraction, but is best known for its wildlife parks by most tourists. The Kruger Park is without a doubt the best known of these. In this game park there are several lodges where you can spend the night at the park. Other well-known game reserves in South Africa are Hluhluwe/Umfolozi, Pilanesberg, Addo and Kalahari. There are also a few private parks in the country. If you are lucky you will encounter the big five in these game reserves.
The Drakensberg that runs through the northeastern part of the country is a special attraction. Within this mountain range is the Royal Natal National Park where there are overnight accommodations. One of the most special places in the mountains is the naturally formed amphitheater.
Cape Town is one of the most beautiful cities in the country and according to some sources belongs to the most beautiful cities in the world. Just outside the city is Table Mountain and seven kilometers off the coast is the famous Robben Island. A popular excursion from Cape Town is a trip to Cape Point and the Cape of Good Hope, the southernmost parts of mainland Africa.
The largest one-day cycling race in the world is held in Cape Town every year. Every year, 35,000 cyclists come to the city to cover 110 kilometers through the city’s hills.
South Africa has too many highlights to list them all here, but you should definitely not miss the following list. The vineyards at Stellenbosch, the Tsitsikamma Seacoast National Park, the Blyde River Canyon Canyon, the Valley of the Thousand Hills, the Augrabies Waterfalls, the cities of Johannesburg, Durban, Bloemfontein and Soweto. There are several beautiful beaches in South Africa.
South Africa has a total of eight inscriptions on the UNESCO World Heritage List. The first was listed here in 1999. This was the iSimangaliso Wetland Park which is one of the largest nature parks in South Africa. That same year, Robben Island and the areas with hominid fossils in Sterkfontein, Swartkrans, Kromdraai and environs were also added. A year later, the Drakensberg Park was added to the list. These mountains form the border with the enclave of Lesotho.
In 2003, the Cultural Landscape of Mapungubwe was added. Within this cultural landscape is a national park and an archaeological site. later on, the protected areas of the Cape Floristic Region, the Vredefort crater and the cultural and botanical landscape of Richtersveld were placed on the UNESCO World Heritage List.
There is a great diversity of different climate types within South Africa. The warm desert climate occurs here in the northwest, the warm steppe climate in the north and the cold desert climate in the west and parts of central South Africa. In the southern part of the interior, the average precipitation is slightly higher, which means that the cold steppe climate prevails here. Along the coastal strip of South Africa there are mainly maritime climates that vary between the warm and the temperate maritime climate. The China climate occurs just a little further inland.
Then there are some so-called microclimates, such as the tropical savanna climate. The many climate types in the country make South Africa very complex weather-wise. In general you can say that in the higher parts of the country there is a cooler climate than in the lower parts and in the northwest the precipitation is very low and the temperatures are higher. In the coastal strips, a type of climate occurs without many extremes.
Because South Africa is located in the southern hemisphere, the seasons are the opposite of ours. This makes the country extremely suitable as a winter sun destination. The temperatures within the country vary enormously, but in general you can say that the further south you go, the cooler it gets.
South Africa, as its name suggests, is located in the extreme south of the African continent. The uninhabited Prince Edward Islands belong to South Africa. South Africa has land borders with Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Swaziland and the enclave of Lesotho. The country is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean on the west coast and the Indian Ocean on the east coast.
The interior of South Africa mainly consists of high plateaus, which turn into a hilly landscape towards the coast. The areas around the coast are fairly flat. The highest mountain range in South Africa are the Dragon Mountains which lie in the east of the country. The mountain Mafadi is the highest point in the country at 3450 meters.
South Africa officially has three capitals. Pretoria for the administrative power, Cape Town for the legislature and Bloemfontein for the judiciary. The other cities in South Africa with more than half a million inhabitants are Durban, Johannesburg, Soweto, Port Elizabeth, Benoni, Polokwana, Welkom, Bloemfontein and Tembisa.
Several rivers run through the country, the largest and most important are the Limpopo, the Orange River, the Tugela, the Vaal River and the Crocodile River East.
The travel advice for South Africa has been on the status of “be vigilant” for some years now. Especially in the big cities and their environs there is a lot of crime, which in some cases can be very violent. Do not walk visibly on the street with telephones, cameras and other electronic equipment.
In general, tourists are not advised to use public transport in South Africa. Travelers are regularly robbed here.
The road network and thus road safety is a lot lower here than we are used to. If you are traveling here as a tourist, it is not recommended to stop on the side of the road and only stop at gas stations and roadside restaurants. Traveling after sunset is strongly discouraged here.
It is wise to do excursions accompanied by a guide.
For a visit to South Africa you must be in possession of a passport that is valid for at least 1 month upon departure from the country. You do not need any other papers for a stay shorter than three months. Upon arrival in the country, you must sign a statement that you will leave the country after a certain time. During a visit to South Africa, you must be able to demonstrate that you have enough money to bridge your stay period and pay for a return journey. In many cases, a return ticket is sufficient.
If you want to stay in South Africa for more than three months, you can apply for a visa at the Embassy or the Department of Internal Affairs in South Africa. An easier way to stay longer in the country is to visit a neighboring country, after which you can re-enter three months.
|Capital city||Pretoria (administrative power)|
|Phone (country code)||27|
|Language(s) (official)||Afrikaans, English, Zoeloe, Xhosa, Swazi, Ndebele, Zuid-Sotho, Nordic-Sotho, Tswana, Venda and Tsonga|
|Language(s) (colloquial)||Afrikaans, English, Zoeloe, Xhosa, Swazi, Ndebele, Zuid-Sotho, Northern-Sotho, Tswana, Venda, Tsonga, Khoi, San en Nama.|
|Time difference summer||In South Africa time runs parallel with the Netherlands|
|Time difference winter||In South Africa it is 1 hour later than in the Netherlands|
|Daylight Saving Time Control||nee|