South Africa Overview

South Africa is the southern tip of the African continent. The country borders two seas, the Atlantic and the Indian Ocean, and five countries: Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique and Swaziland. In addition, the small independent kingdom of Lesotho is surrounded by South African territory on all sides.

Capital: Bloemfontein , Cape Town , Pretoria
Biggest city: Johannesburg
State: republic
Language: afrikaans, engelska, ndebele, pedi, sotho, swazi, tsonga, tswana, venda, xhosa, zulu
Religion: Christianity
Surface: 1,219,912 km
Population: 51.7 million (2011)
Population density: 40 residents per km²
Life expectancy: 49 years
Illiteracy: 14%
Currency: rand (ZAR)
1 rand = 0.59 kr
GDP per capita: $ 10,500 (2010)
Time difference: +1 hour
Electricity: 220/230/250 V AC, 50Hz
National Day: April 27
Country area code: 27
2-Letter country abbreviation: ZA (See more abbreviations on Abbreviationfinder)
Business: service sector 62%, industry 24%, agriculture 14%
Climate: mainly steppe climate (semi-arid); subtropical on the southeast coast

South Africa flag

South Africa has a rich flora and fauna and large areas have therefore been given the status of protected national parks. There are 23,200 types of plants, of which about 8,500 are only found in the small area of ​​Cape Floral Kingdom near Cape Town. Ten Nobel laureates come from South Africa, represented in chemistry, peace, literature and medicine.


The following objects in South Africa are listed on the UNESCO World Heritage List.
The year in which the item was added to the list is indicated in parentheses.

  • Areas with hominid fossils in South Africa (1999)
  • iSimangaliso Wetland Park (1999)
  • Robben Island (1999)
  • uKhahlambra-Drakensberg National Park (2000)
  • Mapungubwe’s cultural landscape (2003)
  • Cape flora region, eight protected nature areas in the Cape Province (2004)
  • Impact Crater Vredefort Dome (2005)
  • Richtersveld, mountainous cultural landscape in northwestern South Africa (2007)


Electricity and electrical outlets in South Africa

Voltage: 220 V / 230 V

Frequency: 50 Hz

Type of plug: M

Need an adapter: Yes, Swedes need an adapter.


Weather in Cape Town

Climate Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Christmas Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Average temperature °C 22 22 21 18 16 13 12 15 18 20 21 22
Day °C 26 26 25 23 21 19 19 21 23 25 25 26
Night °C 18 18 16 13 10 6 6 8 12 14 16 17
Rain (mm) 80 70 60 30 10 0 0 0 10 40 70 80

South Africa 2


According to Countryaah, Bloemfontein is the legal capital of South Africa and thus the seat of the country’s highest court. The city is the country’s sixth largest city, and has 463,100 residents (2005).

It was founded by the British in 1846, formally in 1850, and was the capital of the Orange Free State. In 1890, a railway was built connecting Bloemfontein with Cape Town. The city was occupied by the British in 1900 during the Boer War. In 1910, the city became part of the South African Union.

JRR Tolkien was born in Bloemfontein.


Durban is a port city in South Africa, and has East Africa’s busiest port. It is located on the southeast coast of the Indian Ocean, and the metropolitan area has 3.4 million residents (2007). It is the country’s third most populous metropolitan area after Johannesburg and Cape Town.

Durban is a popular tourist resort, with many fine sandy beaches and perfect waves for the surfer. The Durban area also has a rich cultural life. The climate in Durban is warm all year round. In the winter months of June-August, the temperature is around 20 degrees during the day and 10 degrees at night. During the rest of the year, it is usually a little over 30 degrees during the day and rarely colder than 20 degrees at night. Durban is one of the most criminal resorts in South Africa. However, it is quite safe if you stay within the tourist routes.


Johannesburg is South Africa’s largest city with 3.9 million residents (2007). The city is sometimes mistaken for being the capital of South Africa, which is not true. The country’s three capitals are instead Bloemfontein, Cape Town and Pretoria. Johannesburg Airport is Africa’s largest and busiest.

Cape Town

Cape Town is South Africa’s second largest metropolitan area after Johannesburg, with 3.5 million residents (2007). The city is located on the Atlantic coast in the southwestern part of the country.

Cape Town is the administrative capital of the Western Cape and is close to the Cape of Good Hope. The city is the legislative capital of the country, which means that Parliament has its seat there, while the government and president reside in Pretoria and the legal institutions are located in Bloemfontein.

Cape Town is one of the most popular tourist areas in South Africa, thanks to its good climate, natural environment and well-developed infrastructure. Taffelberget can be climbed either by hiking or taking a cable car. Cape Point is classified as the more dramatic tip of the Cape Peninsula than the nearby Cape of Good Hope.

Many tourists also visit Cape Town’s beaches, which are popular even with the locals. Thanks to the city’s unique geography, it is possible to visit several different beaches every day, with different environments and atmospheres. Beaches along the Atlantic tend to be quite cold as the water is mainly meltwater from glaciers in Antarctica. The water at False Bay beaches is often up to 10 degrees warmer. Both coasts are equally popular, although the beaches of prosperous Clifton and other places on the Atlantic coast are more developed with restaurants and cafes. Cape Town’s most famous beach, Boulders Beach, is famous for its colony of spectacled penguins. Surfing is also popular and the city holds the Red Bull Big Wave Africa surfing competition every year.

The city also has other cultural attractions. Victoria & Alfred Waterfront, built among the old quays in Cape Town’s harbor, is today one of the city’s most popular shopping areas with several hundred shops and the Two Oceans Aquarium. From Nelson Mandela Port, ferries cross to Robben Island. It is possible to take the ferry from Victoria & Alfred to Hout Bay, Simon’s Town and colonies of South African fur seals on the Seal and Duiker Islands.

Cape Town is also known for its architectural heritage with the highest density of Cape Dutch architectural style in the world. The style, which combines the architectural traditions of France, the Netherlands and Germany, is most visible in Constantia, but also among the old administration buildings in the central parts of the city and along Long Street. The annual Coon Carnival, also known by its name in Afrikaans, Kaapse Klopse, is a major festival celebrated on 2 January. The Artscape Theater Center is the main area for performing arts in Cape Town.

Port Elizabeth

Port Elizabeth is a city in South Africa on the coast of the Indian Ocean. The metropolitan area has 1.2 million residents (2005). The city was founded in 1820 and is known for its long sandy beaches.


Pretoria was founded in 1855 and has been the administrative capital of South Africa since 1910. It is located about 50 kilometers north of Johannesburg, and has 2.3 million residents (2007).

Pretoria officially changed its name to Tshwane in 2005, but the decision has not yet gained legal force as it must first be considered by the government and parliament. The city has several museums, parks and historical monuments, including the Voortrekker Monument. The industry in the city is dominated by iron and steel handling, diamond mining and the food industry.

You may also like...