About South Africa

South Africa at a glance

Size : 1 219 090 km2

Key economic sectors : Mining services and transport, energy, manufacturing, tourism, and agriculture Pocket Guide to South Africa - South Africa at a glance

Population : Total: 54,96 million, Male: 26,89 million (49%), Female: 28,07 million (51%)

Official languages : English, isiZulu, isiXhosa, isiNdebele, Afrikaans, siSwati, Sesotho sa Leboa, Sesotho, Setswana, Tshivenda, Xitsonga

Government : Constitutional multiparty, three-tier (local, provincial, national) democracy. Read more about South Africa's government.

Capitals : Pretoria (administrative), Cape Town (legislative), Bloemfontein (judicial)

The Constitutional Court is located in Johannesburg.

Provinces : Western Cape, Eastern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal, Northern Cape, Free State, North West, Gauteng, Mpumalanga, Limpopo

Currency : Rand (ZAR). 100 cents equals one rand

Time : GMT +2 hours

Distances : Cape Town to Johannesburg 1 400 km (880 miles), Johannesburg to Durban 600 km (380 miles), Port Elizabeth to Bloemfontein 700 km (440 miles)

Transportation : Excellent roads, rail and air facilities (both domestic and international). Public transport in major cities include the Gautrain between Johannesburg and Pretoria and the Bus Rapid Transport System in Cape Town, Johannesburg and Pretoria.

Telecommunications : World-class infrastructure. Internet access is widely available. There are five mobile (cellular) networks.

Value-added tax : Levied at 14%. Tourists may apply for tax refunds on purchases over R250 on departure.

Health : Top-quality healthcare is available throughout the country, although basic in rural areas. Inoculations are only required for those travelling from yellow-fever areas. Malaria precautions are necessary in some areas.


Johannesburg, South Africa, Africa

Located in north-central South Africa, Johannesburg is the country's largest and fastest-growing city, with sprawling suburbs fanning out from the central city to cover an area of 1,100 square kilometers (424.7 square miles). The nickname "eGoli" ("city of gold") evokes Johannesburg's origin as a mining town in the late nineteenth century. Today, it is still the capital of South African mining and commerce and home to the headquarters of the country's mining companies and major financial institutions, as well as headquarters to a variety of multinational corporations and transportation hub of southern Africa.

Johannesburg is also a city built on a history of racial division that achieved its most dramatic form in the twentieth century policy of strict separation known as apartheid. This legacy is apparent in the racial divide between its various districts and suburbs, ranging from the teeming streets of Soweto to the posh mansions of the northern suburbs. The political changes of the 1990s can be seen most readily in the central city, which has become a bustling multicultural area where thousands of street traders earn their living in the shadow of the city's giant skyscrapers, and a blend of African and European languages evokes the city's unique cultural and social history.