Facts about South Africa
The Republic of South Africa takes up an area of 1,221,037 square kilometres - equal to the combined land mass of Germany, Italy and France. The coast line stretches for some 2954 kilometres, with many beautiful beaches and wonderful sea views.
The population of South Africa is approximately 49 million.
South Africa has eleven official languages. English is the most commonly spoken, followed by Afrikaans, Zulu and Xhosa. The others are Pedi, Tswana, Sotho, Tsonga, Swati, Venda and Ndebele. But don't worry, the majority of South Africans speak English as well as a traditional language!
South Africa is made up of nine provinces; Western Cape, Eastern Cape, Northern Cape, Free State, North West, Gauteng, Limpopo, Mpumalanga and KwaZulu Natal, there are three capital cities in South Africa they are Cape Town, which is the parliamentary capital in the Western Cape, Pretoria in Gauteng, which is the administrative capital and Bloemfontein which is the judicial capital. Johannesburg in Gauteng is the largest city. The current Head of State is President Jacob Zuma.
Of the population of South Africa 77% of the population are black, 10% are white, 8% are mixed race, 2.5% are of Indian or Asian descent
Christianity is the most widely recognised religion in South Africa, with 75% of the population following the faith, 21% has no religious affiliation and among the rest of the South Africa's religions are Muslim, Hindu, and Jewish.
20% of the world's gold is mined in South Africa
The only street in the world to house two Nobel Peace Prize winners is in Soweto . Nelson Mandela and Archbishop Desmond Tutu both have houses in Vilakazi Street , Orlando West.
Several million of the population of South Africa have illegal immigrant status - they're mostly from other African countries such as Zimbabwe, Malawi and the DRC.
Four of the five fastest land animals live in Africa - the cheetah (70 miles per hour), wildebeest, lion, and Thomson's gazelle (all about 50 mph).
World Heritage Sites
South Africa is home to 7 World Heritage Sites:
The Cradle of Humankind
Fossil Hominid Sites of Sterkfontein, Swartkrans, Kromdraai and Environs. This area contains thousands of fossils of animal, Stone Age artifacts and other tools.
The Greater St Lucia Wetland Park
Contains five distinct eco systems and boasts a spectacular diversity of plant life, animals and bird species.
Only a short boat trip from the Victoria and Albert waterfront in Cape Town , and is the island where political prisoners were held, the most famous of whom was former president Nelson Mandela. Wonderful trips and guided tours are available daily throughout the year.
Ukhahlamba / Drakensberg Park
The outstanding natural beauty and wealth of evidence of early life earned this area its title.
Declared a World Heritage Site in 2003, this Iron Age site was the centre of the largest kingdom in Southern Africa , where gold and ivory were traded to the east.
Cape Floral Kingdom
Found at the Cape Peninsula and on Table Mountain is one of only 6 floral kingdoms in the world. As this area is under constant threat from development it was declared a World Heritage Site only recently.
A seventh World Heritage site has just been declared in South Africa. The Vredefort Dome 120km south-west of Johannesburg, is a large crater - which has a radius of 190km - in the Free State which was created when a giant meteor struck the area some 2 billion years ago.
Quick South Africa Facts
Capital city: Admin Capital Pretoria. Legislative Capital Cape Town
Area: 1220088 square km
National day: 27 April (Freedom day, anniversary of the first non-racial elections, 1994)
Independence: 31 May 1910, union of four British colonies which evolved to full independence. Became the Republic of South Africa in 1961 and withdrew from the Commonwealth.
Population: Approx 49 million
Leader: Jacob Zuma
Deputy President - Kgalema Motlanthe
NCOP Chairman - M. J. Mahlangu
National Assembly Speaker - Max Sisulu
Chief Justice - Sandile Ngcobo
Language: Afrikaans, English, Ndebele, North Sotho, Sesotho, Swazi, Tsonga, Tswana, Venda, Xhosa, Zulu. (eleven official)
Currency: Rand ZAR (R)
Ethnic groups: 79.3% Black; 9.1% White; 9.0% Coloured; 2.6% Asian