South Africa, the southernmost¬†country¬†on the African continent, renowned for its varied¬†topography, great natural beauty, and cultural¬†diversity, all of which have made the country a favoured destination for travelers since the legal ending of¬†apartheid¬†(Afrikaans: ‚Äúapartness,‚ÄĚ or racial separation) in 1994.

Cape-Town

 

The country has been classified by the World Bank as a newly industrialised country, with the second-largest economy in Africa, and the 32nd-largest in the world. South Africa also has the most UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Africa. The country is a middle power in international affairs; it maintains significant regional influence and is a member of both the Commonwealth of Nations and G20.
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, zaf

Time:
Local Time = UTC +2h
Actual Time: Fri-July-9  05:01

Country Calling Code: +27

Garden Route in the Western Cape Region. This route gets its name from Garden Route National Park and this 125-mile area between Cape Town and the distinctively English town of Port Elizabeth is one of the world’s most picturesque road trips.

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

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

Geography:
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, mostly semiarid; subtropical along east coast; similar to southern California.

People:
Nationality: South African(s).
Population: (2016) 55.9 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,

Jacaranda tree-lined streets in Pretoria

 

 

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.

Cape Town
Cape Town has to be one of the most beautiful cities in the world. It is full of history and diversity and the surrounding area is simply breathtaking.

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

Exports Рcommodities: gold, diamonds, platinum, other metals and minerals, machinery and equipment

Exports Рpartners: China 11.3%, USA 7.3%, Germany 6%, Namibia 5.2%, Botswana 5.2%, Japan 4.7%, UK 4.3%, India 4.2% (2015)

Imports Рcommodities: machinery and equipment, chemicals, petroleum products, scientific instruments, foodstuffs.

Imports Рpartners: China 17.6%, Germany 11.2%, USA 6.7%, Nigeria 5%, India 4.7%, Saudi Arabia 4.1% (2015)

Currency: South African Rand (ZAR)

Hole in the Wall, Wild Coast, Eastern Cape
Hole in the Wall, Wild Coast, Eastern Cape

Background:
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.

Otter Trail, Tsitsikamma National Park

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.

 

Tsitsikamma is a reserve stretching along 80 kilometers of pristine coastline. It is best known for its giant indigenous trees, such as Milkwood or Yellowood, and its many hiking trails, including the Otter Trail. There’s plenty of amazing things to experience in the Tsitsikamma Park such as a suspension bridge over Storms River or a Canopy tour that takes place 30 metres above the forest floor.
Source: globalgrasshopper.com
South Africa has three cities that serve as capitals: Pretoria (executive), Cape Town (legislative), and Bloemfontein (judicial). Johannesburg, the largest urban area in the country and a centre of commerce, lies at the heart of the populous Gauteng province. Durban, a port on the Indian Ocean, is a major industrial centre. East London and Port Elizabeth, both of which lie along the country’s southern coast, are important commercial, industrial, and cultural centres.
Today South Africa enjoys a relatively stable mixed economy that draws on its fertile agricultural lands, abundant mineral resources, tourist attractions, and highly evolved intellectual capital.
Drakensberg Mountain Range Drakensberg’s literal translation in Afrikaans is “Dragon Mountains
Since South Africa is a¬†multiethnic society¬†encompassing a wide¬†variety of cultures,¬†languages, and¬†religions, Its pluralistic makeup is reflected in the¬†constitution‘s recognition of 11 official languages, the fourth-highest number in the world.¬†According to the 2011 census, the two most spoken first languages are¬†Zulu¬†(22.7%) and¬†Xhosa¬†(16.0%).¬†The two next ones are of European origin:¬†Afrikaans¬†(13.5%) developed from¬†Dutch¬†and serves as the first language of most¬†Coloured¬†and¬†White¬†South Africans;¬†English¬†(9.6%) reflects the legacy of¬†British colonialism, and is commonly used in public and commercial life.
Bourke’s Luck Potholes, Blyde River Canyon
The country is one of the few in Africa never to have had a coup d’√©tat, and¬†regular elections¬†have been held for almost a century. However, the vast majority of black South Africans were not¬†enfranchised¬†until 1994.

During the 20th century, the black majority sought to claim more rights from the dominant white minority, which played a large role in the country’s recent¬†history¬†and politics. The¬†National Party¬†imposed¬†apartheid¬†in 1948, institutionalising previous racial segregation. After a long and sometimes violent¬†struggle¬†by the¬†African National Congress¬†(ANC) and other anti-apartheid activists both inside and outside the country, the repeal of discriminatory laws began in the mid-1980s. Since 1994, all ethnic and linguistic groups have held political representation in the country’s¬†liberal democracy, which comprises a¬†parliamentary republic¬†and¬†nine provinces.

 

Located in Mpumalanga the Blyde River Canyon ‚Äď one of the largest canyons on earth ‚Äď is where you‚Äôll find a scenic river winding past red sandstone cliffs as it crosses the Lowveld.
According to Wikipedia, South Africa contains some of the oldest archaeological and¬†human-fossil¬†sites in the world.Archaeologists have recovered extensive¬†fossil¬†remains from a series of caves in¬†Gauteng Province. The area, a¬†UNESCO World Heritage site, has been branded “the¬†Cradle of Humankind“. The sites include¬†Sterkfontein, one of the richest sites for¬†hominin¬†fossils in the world. Other sites include¬†Swartkrans,¬†Gondolin Cave,¬†Kromdraai,¬†Coopers Cave¬†and¬†Malapa.¬†Raymond Dart¬†identified the first hominin fossil discovered in Africa, the¬†Taung Child¬†(found near¬†Taung) in 1924. Further hominin remains have come from the sites of¬†Makapansgat¬†in¬†Limpopo¬†Province,¬†Cornelia¬†and¬†Florisbad¬†in the¬†Free State Province,¬†Border Cave¬†in¬†KwaZulu-Natal Province,¬†Klasies River Mouth¬†in Eastern Cape Province and¬†Pinnacle Point,¬†Elandsfontein¬†and Die Kelders Cave in¬†Western Cape Province.
Boulders Beach ‚Äď known for the cute penguins

These finds suggest that various hominid species existed in South Africa from about three million years ago, starting with Australopithecus africanus.There followed species including Australopithecus sediba, Homo ergaster, Homo erectus, Homo rhodesiensis, Homo helmei, Homo naledi and modern humans (Homo sapiens). Modern humans have inhabited Southern Africa for at least 170,000 years.

Various researchers have located pebble tools within the Vaal River valley.

Namaqua National Park ‚Äď famous for its indigenous flora species

 

 

 

1st Image:.Stellenbosch ‚Äď a wine and food capital with vineyards

 

Sources: Wikipedia, Britannica, Nation Online, CnTraverler, globalgrasshopper.com and travelanddestination.com

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