South Africa Facts

South Africa, state of southern Africa; 1.2 million km², 57.8 million residents (2019).South Africa borders in the north to Namibia, Botswana and Zimbabwe and in the east to Mozambique and Swaziland, encloses Lesotho and has the south-east, south and southwest coast to the ocean. The country has three official capitals: Bloemfontein, Cape Town and Pretoria.

South Africa Country Flag

Country facts

  • Republic of South Africa / Republic of South Africa
  • Country abbreviation: ZA
  • Area: 1.2 million km²
  • Population (2019): 57.8 million residents
  • Capital cities: Bloemfontein, Cape Town, Pretoria
  • Main languages: Zulu, Xhosa, Afrikaans, English
  • State: Republic
  • Head of State and Head of Government: Cyril Ramaphosa (President)
  • Per capita GDP (2018): US $ 6,340
  • GNI per capita (2018): US $ 5,720
  • Currency unit: 1 rand = 100 cents
  • Currency code: ZAR
  • Country number (telephony): 27
  • Internet Domain Name: za
  • Time difference compared to Sweden: +1
  • National Day: April 27 (the first general democratic elections, 1994)
  • Independence Day: May 31, 1961


  • Land use: forest (5%), agricultural land (12%), other (85%)
  • Highest mountain: Injasuti (3,408 m above sea level)
  • Longest river: Orange River (1,860 km)


  • Population density (2019): 48 residents per km²
  • Natural population growth (2019): 1.1%; birth rate 20 ‰, death rate 9 ‰
  • Age structure (2019): 0-14 years (29%), 15-64 (65%), 65- (6%)
  • Life expectancy (2019): men 62 years, women 68 years
  • Infant mortality (2019): 22 per 1,000 live births
  • Population forecast 2050: 82 million residents
  • HDI (2017): 0.699 (place 113 of 189)
  • Urbanization rate (2019): 66%
  • Most populous cities (2011): Johannesburg (4.4 million residents), Cape Town (3.7 million residents), Durban (3.4 million)


  • Industry’s contribution to GDP (2017): agriculture (3%), industry (30%), service (67%)
  • Exports (2017): US $ 94,930 million
  • Main export products: gold, diamonds, platinum
  • Main exporting countries: China, USA, Germany
  • Imports (2017): US $ 89 360 million
  • Main import products: machinery, means of transport, chemicals
  • Main importing countries: China, Germany, USA
  • Railway network (2014): 21,000 km

South Africa has a long and relatively smooth coast. From the coast, the country rises in terraces to a bowl-shaped highland around the Kalahari basin, whose southern parts are within South Africa. At its highest is the eastern edge of the mountains, Drakensberg. A gentle sloping plateau is spreading between the Randberger and the coast to the east. South Africa is almost entirely in the hot-tempered climate zone; the southwest corner has a Mediterranean climate with rain in the winter.

The country’s legislative power is held by Parliament’s two chambers: the 400 members of the National Assembly elected every five years in proportional elections and the Senate’s 90 members, ten from each province, elected by the provincial parliaments. The president is head of state and government and is elected by Parliament.

South Africa’s economy is characterized by extreme differences between the white population-controlled, mainly urban-based modern sector and the traditional African sector. The modern sector was built around the country’s mineral deposits from the late 1800s. With extensive and varied natural resources, good communications, a well-developed infrastructure and a sophisticated banking and financial system, the South African business community has features in common with industrialized countries.

South Africa Map

South Africa Map