South Africa has a turbulent and notorious past. The new era represents a much happier and more positive vision for the future.
South Africa is still plagued by high crime levels. Good travel networks, beautiful scenery and a well developed tourism segment has enabled South African tourism to go from strength to strength.
A powerful economy has seen SA as the powerhouse of Africa.
FACTS AND FIGURES
Area: 1,221,037 sq.km (10th in Africa)
Capital: Cape Town (Parliament), Bloemfontein (Legislative), Pretoria (Administrative)
Largest City’s: Johannesburg, Cape Town, Durban, Pretoria, Bloemfontein, Port Elizabeth
Population: 45 – 50 million
Official language: 11, including English, Afrikaans, Zulu and Xhosa
Head of state: President Thabo Mbeki
Life expectancy: 44 years
Cape Province – Table Mountain, Cape Point, Robben Island, Wine Farms, Garden Route
Free state – Karoo
Kwazulu Natal – St. Lucia, Sudwana, Drakensberg
Transvaal – Kruger NP, God’s Window, Blyde River Canyon
Tourism, Gold, Diamonds, Precious Metals, Agriculture.
European – Afrikaans and English. Bantu – Zulu, Xhosa,
Tswana, Sotho, Asian – Indian, Malay. Cape Coloured
Christian. Hindu. Moslem. Combination between Christianity and
local ethnic beliefs forming the ZCC.
GEOGRAPHY AND CLIMATE
SA’s most important topographical feature is the escarpment, which runs around the country in a rough crescent between 50km and 250km inland and divides the country into 3 broad regions: the coastal belt, the
highveld, and the escarpment itself. Temperate climate throughout, but it can get really hot in Summer in parts of Northern Cape and Northern Province, as does the humid coastal belt North of Durban.
Summer between October and March, and winter between May and August. The Western Cape has
winter rainfall, while the rest has summer rains. Higher
rainfall in the East (average 1000mm) while on West coast and Kalahari it drops below 250mm.
First European settlement at Table Bay in 1652, established by VOC
(Dutch East India Company).
Cape formally colonized in 1815.
Richest gold reefs known to man discovered in Transvaal in 1886.
1899 Anglo-Boer War started over gold reef – longest, bloodiest and most expensive war fought by Britain
between 1815 and 1915.
Union of South Africa in 1910.
NP came in power in 1948 and so did apartheid.
1990 Bans on ANC, PAC, etc lifted by FW de Klerk. 1990 Nelson released.
27 April 1994 first all-party election. ANC in power since 1994.
CRIME AND SAFETY
One of the highest crime rates in the world. Johannesburg
rated the most dangerous.
Rand unstable. Economy unstable. Foreign bankcards widely accepted at
ATM’s readily available. Banking – 08:00 to 15:30 weekdays, and 08:30 to
11:00 on Saturday.
POST AND TELEPHONE
Send parcels by registered mail. Slow postal service.
Good phone system