South Africa’s Geography

As it’s name suggests, South Africa is the southernmost country in the African continent. There are 3 capital cities: Cape Town is the legislative capital, Bloemfontein is the judicial capital, and Pretoria is the administrative capital. Cape Town and Durban are the country’s major shipping ports, followed by Port Elisabeth, East London, and Richard’s Bay. Kimberley was the site of South Africa’s first major diamond mining operation, while Johannesburg, South Africa’s largest city, became the hub of gold mining in the country.

South Africa’s population is almost 50 million – roughly the same population as 2 of the USA’s more heavily populated states, California and Pennsylvania, combined, and slightly more than the population of Spain or Ukraine in Europe.  South Africa is about 1/8th the size of the USA (or around the same size as California, Arizona, Nevada, and Utah combined), and roughly the size of Portugal, Spain, France, Belgium, and Switzerland combined.


South Africa is divided into 9 provinces. The largest of these, the Northern Cape, is mostly desert and home to only 2.5% of the population. Gauteng on the other hand, South Africa’s smallest province, is home to about 20% of the population (click here for a map showing the population density throughout South Africa).


Gauteng province includes South Africa’s biggest metropolitan area, Johannesburg, as well as the 4th and 5th largest metropolitan areas in the country, Germiston (Ekurhuleni Metro) and Pretoria (Tshwane Metro). These 3 metro areas have essentially agglomerated into one huge “conurbation” (a sprawling urban area made up of several cities). Pretoria is where we will be based.  


~ by masimdumisene on December 14, 2009.