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Destination South Africa, this page is about many aspects of the "Rainbow Nation". Here you will find comprehensive information about South Africa in its diversity: geography, economy, science, people, culture, environment, government and history.
You will have access to newspapers from South Africa and you will find extensive travel and tourism information for South Africa and its Provinces.

Rainbow Nation
Rainbow over Natal Watsonia
© South African Tourism

Republic of South Africa

Country Profile

Flag of South Africa
Flag of South Africa

Often called 'the rainbow nation', South Africa is one of the most ethnically diverse countries in Africa. It was inhabited by pastoral Khoekhoe (Khoi), the hunter-gatherer San, the Xhosa, and the Zulu nations and various other indigenous tribes, when Dutch settlers arrived in middle of the 17th century, much to the disadvantage of the Khoekhoe along the southern and western coastal strips.
What followed was an aggressive colonial expansion for centuries mainly of settlers of Dutch, German and French Huguenot origin. In 1795 the British took over the Cape from the Dutch, seven years later the colony was returned to the Dutch government, only to come under British rule again in 1806, this circumstance and the rise to power of the Zulu king Shaka, forcing many of the Dutch settlers (the Boers) to trek north and east to found their own republics.
The discovery of diamonds (1867) and gold (1886) spurred wealth and immigration and intensified the subjugation of the native inhabitants until the end of the 20th century.
The 1990s brought an end to apartheid with South Africa's transition to democracy and with Nelson Mandela's inauguration as SA's first democratically elected President 1994.

border countries: Botswana, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, Swaziland, Zimbabwe

related countries: United Kingdom, Netherlands

where in Africa is South Africa

Official Name:
Republic of South Africa
short form: South Africa
former: Union of South Africa.

South Africa's name in native (official) languages:
Afrika Borwa (Pedi, seSotho, Tswana)
Afrika Dzonga (Tsonga)
Afurika Tshipembe (Venda)
Mzantsi Afrika (isiXhosa)
Ningizimu Afrika (siSwati, isiZulu)
Suid-Afrika (Afrikaans)

ISO Country Code: za

Local Time = UTC +2h
Actual Time: Tue-May-31  07:54

Country Calling Code: +27

Capital City: Pretoria (administrative)
Bloemfontein (Mangaung) (judicial center)
Mangaung Local Municipality; (the city's name in seSotho is Mangaung).
Cape Town (legislative center)

Other Cities: Johannesburg, Durban (Thekwini), Nelspruit, Polokwane, Port Elizabeth

Type: Republic
Independence: 31 May 1910 (from UK); South Africa became a republic in 1961.
Constitution: 1996
Constitution of the Republic of South Africa

Location: Southern Africa, at the southern tip of the African continent.
Area: 1.2 million km² (470,462 sq. mi). Terrain: Plateau, savanna, desert, mountains, coastal plains. Climate: moderate; similar to southern California.

Climate: Mostly semiarid; subtropical along east coast; sunny days, cool nights

Nationality: South African(s).
Population: (2011) 50.5 million; black 78%; white 10%; colored 9%; Asian (Indian) 2.5%; other.
Languages: (11 official languages) Sesotho sa Leboa 9.2%, Sesotho, Setswana, siSwati (Swazi), Tshivenda, Xitsonga, Afrikaans 14,4%, English 8.6%, isiNdebele, isiXhosa 17.9%, isiZulu 22.9%.
Religions: Predominantly Christian; traditional African believes, Hindu, Muslim, Jewish.

Natural resources: South Africa is rich of natural resources: Gold, chromium, antimony, coal, iron ore, manganese, nickel, phosphates, tin, uranium, gem diamonds, platinum, copper, vanadium, salt, natural gas.

Agriculture products: Corn, wheat, sugarcane, fruits, vegetables; beef, poultry, mutton, wool, dairy products.

Industries: Mining (world's largest producer of platinum, gold, chromium), automobile assembly, metalworking, machinery, textile, iron and steel, chemicals, fertilizer, foodstuffs.

Currency: South African Rand (ZAR)

South Africa in numbers
Key statistic figures South Africa.

Note: External links will open in a new browser window.

Official Sites of South Africa

South Africa 10 years of Freedom South Africa Government
Information and Guide to the Government of South Africa.

The Parliament of South Africa
Official site of South Africa's Parliament.
Official Gateway to South Africa.

South Africa Government Online
Official South African government gateway.

Department of Foreign Affairs
Responsible for all aspects of South Africa's foreign policy.

Diplomatic Missions
Embassy of the Republic of South Africa
Berlin, Germany
Permanent Mission of South Africa to the United Nations
South Africa's Representation to the United Nations.
South African Embassy, Washington DC
The embassy site provides also information about South Africa.
Web sites of SA Missions
Web sites of South Africa's embassies, consulates and high commissions abroad.
Foreign Representation in South Africa
Foreign Diplomatic Missions in South Africa.

Stats SA
Statistics South Africa.

South African Weather Service

More governmental institutions
National Departments of South Africa
List of links to South Africa's National departments and governmental institutions.


profile Map of South Africa
Detailed Map of South Africa.
Map of South Africa Provinces

South Africa's Provinces Map.

Google Earth Google Earth South Africa
Searchable satellite view of South Africa.

Capitals South Africa:
Google Earth Google Earth Pretoria
Searchable satellite view of Pretoria.
Google Earth Google Earth Bloemfontein
Searchable satellite view of Bloemfontein.
Google Earth Google Earth Cape Town
Searchable satellite view of Cape Town.

Political Map of Africa
The 54 countries of Africa.
Map of Africa
A Relief Map of Africa.


South Africa News

BuaNews Online
Government-related news, features & information.
Business Day
Business news.
Cape Argus
Cape Town's daily
Cape Times
Daily, published since 1876, Cape Town.
City Press
The peoples paper, daily news.
Daily Mail & Guardian
National and international news.
Independent Online
South African and world news.
South African and international news.
Pretoria News
Independent daily newspaper, first published in 1898, Pretoria.
Sunday Times
South African weekly newspaper.
The Star
Published in Johannesburg.
Online news from South Africa's national broadcaster.
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Arts & Culture
More Arts, Culture, Music and Entertainment news.
Online magazine on contemporary Art in South Africa.
 Face of Africa
African Beauties.
Museums Online South Africa
A guide to South Africa's museums.
Pretoria Art Museum
Museum for contemporary art
South African Arts, Culture and Heritage
A guide to music, fine arts, theatre, literature architecture and more.

Business & Economy

Cape Chamber of Commerce & Industry
Chamber of Commerce and Industry
Durban Chamber of Commerce and Industry
Johannesburg Chamber of Commerce and Industry
Johannesburg Stock Exchange JSE
South African Reserve Bank
The South African Trade Centre
Export and trade gateway to Southern Africa.

South African Airways (SAA)
The national carrier.

Blue Train
South African luxury train
Rovos Rail
Another luxurious train
South African Railways
South African Railways Info page.

Destination South Africa - Travel and Tour Guides

Discover South Africa
The South Africa Tourism Board official guide to tourism South Africa.

Cape Country Info
Southern African Travel Portal.
The Garden Route
Western Cape
Comprehensive information about the Overberg region on the Southernmost tip of Africa.
Southern Africa Places
A tourism guide to Africa's South.
Event and entertainment guide.
The digital guide to South Africa.

City Guides
Bloemfontein (Mangaung) (judicial center)
Mangaung Local Municipality; (the city's name in seSotho is Mangaung).
Cape Town
Official website of the Cioty of Cape Town.
Durban (Thekwini)
eThekwini Municipality, the official web site of Durban.
The official City of Jo'burg website.

South Africa's Provinces
A guide to South Africa's Provinces.

Travel and Tour Consumer Information
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University of Fort Hare
The oldest historically black university in Southern and Eastern Africa, founded in 1916.
University of Natal
University of Pretoria
University of South Africa
University of the Witwatersrand

More South African Universities will be found in the
Guide to South Africa's Provinces

Environment & Nature

Kruger National Park
A comprehensive guide to one of the most famous game and nature reserve of Africa.

South African National Parks
Official website of the South African National Parks (SANParks).

WildNet Africa
A wildlife and travel portal.
African Elephants
Elephants © Rovos Rail


People who shaped South Africa's History:
Jan van Riebeeck, Paul Kruger, Daniel François Malan, Oliver Tambo, Hendrik Verwoerd, Steve Biko, P. W. Botha, F. W. de Klerk, Joe Slovo, Chris Hani, Winnie Mandela, Eugene Terreblanche, Mangosuthu Buthelezi, Nelson Mandela, Desmond Tutu.

Read more in History of South Africa from the European Arrival until the Republic of South Africa


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Other Countries of Southern Africa:
Botswana | Lesotho | Namibia | Swaziland

Maps of other Countries of Southern Africa:
Botswana Map | Namibia Map | Swaziland Map

Searchable Maps of other Countries of Southern Africa:
Botswana Interactive Map | Lesotho Interactive Map | Namibia Interactive Map | Swaziland Interactive Map

Other major Cities in Southern Africa:
Gaborone | Lobamba | Maseru | Mbabane | Windhoek