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South Africa

A map of South Africa coloured to show highland and lowland regions and vegetationMuch of South Africa sits on a high, flat plateau. The eastern part of this plateau is a grassland region known as the Highveld. In the west, the plateau descends into semi-desert, called the Karoo. A mountain chain in the south—the Great Escarpment—curves round towards the eastern coast, where it joins the jagged Drakensberg range. Southwestern South Africa is a region known as the Cape, from the Cape of Good Hope, the headland on the coast where the Atlantic meets the Indian Ocean. Here the warm climate is similar to that of the Mediterranean lands of southern Europe. Much of the rest of South Africa experiences a warm, temperate climate, with temperatures kept moderate by its high altitude and ocean currents.


A map of South Africa
Supporters of the South African football team, called Bafana Bafana, in Johannesburg before the start of a World Cup match in...Read More >>Supporters of the South African football team, called Bafana Bafana, in Johannesburg before the start of a World Cup match in 2010.

People

The Republic of South Africa (RSA) is a land of many different ethnic groups, cultures and languages. South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu once called it the “Rainbow Nation”. Around 80% of the population are black Africans, many of whom are Bantu peoples. South Africa is also home to people whose ancestors came from Holland, France, Germany, Britain, India and Indonesia.

Just under 50% of all the world’s reserves of gold are found in South Africa.

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