Location of South Africa
The Republic of South Africa lies between 22 and 35 degrees south latitude and 17 and 33 degrees east longitude and covers an area of 1,219,912 square kilometers. The country is more than three times the size of Germany.
In the north, South Africa borders on Namibia, Botswana and Zimbabwe and in the northeast on Mozambique. It is bounded by the Indian Ocean to the east and south and the Atlantic Ocean to the west. Lesotho forms an enclave in South Africa and Eswatini (Swaziland) borders South Africa and Mozambique.
As a major country in African continent according to internetsailors, South Africa is divided into nine provinces: Limpopo, North-West (North West), Gauteng, Mpumalanga, Free State (Free State), KwaZulu-Natal, Eastern Cape, Western Cape and Northern Cape (Northern Cape).
The seat of government is the city of Pretoria (since 2006 part of the newly established metropolis Tshwane), the parliament is in Cape Town, the Supreme Court of Appeal is in Bloemfontein. The Constitutional Court has its seat in Johannesburg. The economic hub of the country and all of southern Africa is Johannesburg. Greater Johannesburg is also the most populous urban area in South Africa.
Not just natural beauties
Images of beautiful landscapes and natural wealth shape the image of South Africa in Europe. That is why you will find photos of the country worth advertising especially on the websites of the numerous tourism providers. In addition to the usual safari pictures, further pages offer photos of the individual regions and most important cities. The most photographed city is certainly Cape Town and the most visited province is the Western Cape, especially its coastal areas.
Videos, especially from official South African tourism providers, also give visual impressions of the sights and ecological and cultural-historical features in the country. Inspirational non-fiction books also invite you to travel to South Africa.
Vegetation around Cape Town
Antelopes in De Hoop Park
Ostrich and zebras in De Hoop Park
Antelopes in the Kgalagadi Transfrontier National Park
In South Africa, numerous laws and regulations to protect the natural resources of life are in force.
The Ministry of the Environment, which formulates the national strategies for environmental policy, provides an overview of the environmental sector and key environmental problems. These include, for example, the National Framework for Sustainable Development as well as strategy and action plans on biodiversity at the national level and in individual provinces. The South Africa National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI) offers access to detailed information on botany in individual parts of the country, to research projects, training material, educational offers for all age groups such as current reports. The informative films provide insights into the appealing educational activities of the CARETAKER program. Technical and didactically prepared accompanying material is aimed at different target groups. The African Environment Day on March 3rd offers an annual opportunity to reflect on challenges.
South Africa is known for its flora and fauna. The unique ecosystem on the Cape is one of the three world regions with the greatest biodiversity. This is maintained by a dense network of state protected areas, which consists of national parks and nature reserves – also monitored by provinces and municipalities. Richtersveld in the Northern Cape is a UNESCO World Heritage Site because of its special botany and cultural uniqueness. The Namaqualand, south of it and on the west coast of South Africa, also impresses with its special flora.
Best known for its wildlife is the Kruger National Park, known in English as the Kruger National Park. It is part of the Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park. With 35,000 square kilometers, this forms the largest reserve in the world. The system of national parks and state protected areas is supplemented by a large number of private nature reserves. In some places, nature conservation organizations are involved. Some develop specific, locally ecologically adapted projects for different target groups.
The Environmental Monitoring Group has developed various programs for the protection of the environment and resources, for the preservation of biodiversity and sustainable rural development – also taking climate change and fair trade into account. Also Groundworks is committed to the preservation of natural resources and shows environmental damage, including by highly toxic industrial waste on.
Settlements in the former Homeland Venda
Elephants in Addo Park
Forced relocations of at least 3.5 million people and the creation of so-called “homelands” (separate, much too small areas for the black majority) during apartheid (1948-1994) led to irreversible environmental damage and ecological structural problems there.
The large nature parks, such as the Kruger (Kruger) National Park, were originally largely pastureland and agricultural land; the people living there were expelled for the nature park idea. There are different interpretations of the history of the parks. This also applies to the first species protection and environmental organizations. Poaching is a problem in some places; the rhinos, for example, are threatened. Rangers live dangerously because of unscrupulous poachers. There are now legal disputes through the horn trade of private or commercial rhino breeders.
After 1994, a number of areas that were used by the military during apartheid or cultivated by white farmers who were well subsidized by the state were converted into nature parks or connected to existing nature parks. These include the expansion of the Addo Elephant Park in the Eastern Cape near Port Elizabeth and the De Hoop Coastal Park in the Western Cape.