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South Africa is situated at the southern tip of Africa forming part of the Southern Africa region and is bordered by Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique and Swaziland. Lesotho is situated within South Africa’s borders.
There are nine provinces: Gauteng, Western Cape, KwaZulu-Natal, Eastern Cape, Northern Cape, Limpopo, Mpumalanga, Free State and North-West. Pretoria is the executive capital and Cape Town the legislative capital. Other major cities include Johannesburg, Durban, Port Elizabeth, Bloemfontein and East London.

The country’s climate varies from region to region. The Western Cape experiences a Mediterranean climate and the interior has a semi-desert climate with cold, dry winters and summer rainfall. Kwazulu-Natal has a subtropical climate with humid conditions. Snow is uncommon and is limited to the highest lying regions of the country.

The Dutch settled South Africa in 1652 as a stopping point for ships on their way to the East Indies. Fruit and vegetables were grown here to battle the problem of scurvy aboard passing ships. The Dutch first settled the area that was to become Cape Town and with time expanded across the entire tip of southern Africa.

After the Napoleonic wars in 1815, South Africa changed hands and became a British colony. Many of the Dutch went north to get away from the English. Here they encountered tribes that, over time, had moved south from central Africa. There ensued a period of war between the Dutch Boers and the Zulus, a powerful tribe led by Shaka. The Boers eventually won and created an Afrikaner state in the north. In 1899 there were the Boer wars as a result of the English trying to annex this Afrikaner state. In 1910 South Africa became a union, a coalition between the English and Afrikaner states. In 1960 South Africa gained independence from British rule and became a republic. This period was to be very difficult time for many people since Apartheid was fully enforced.

During the 90’s, with the release of Nelson Mandela (who eventually became president) and the abolition of the Apartheid laws, South Africa went through an amazing transformation. South Africa has journeyed through great obstacles to become a nation whose dream of unity and common purpose is now capable ofrealisation for its entire people.

Today South Africa is a middle-income, developing country with an abundant supply of resources, well-developed financial, legal, communications, energy, and transport sectors, a stock exchange that ranks among the 10 largest in the world, and a modern infrastructure supporting an efficient distribution of goods to major urban centers throughout the region.

South Africa is a nation of 51.77-million people of diverse origins, cultures, languages and beliefs. The majority of South Africans are Christian, the largest church being the indigenous Zion Christian Church, followed by the Dutch Reformed and Catholic churches. Many churches combine Christian and traditional African beliefs, and many non-Christians espouse these traditional beliefs. Other significant religions – though with much smaller followings – are Islam, Hinduism and Judaism.

There are 11 officially recognised languages, most of them indigenous to South Africa. Just less than 40% of the population speaks either isiZulu or isiXhosa. English is the language of the cities, of commerce and banking, of government, of road signs and official documents. Road signs and official forms are in English. The President makes his speeches in English. Another major language is Afrikaans, a derivative of Dutch, which northern Europeans will find surprisingly easy to follow.

South Africa is a large, diverse and incredibly beautiful country. Make sure not to miss these following attractions on your trip to South Africa; Cape Town & Cape Peninsula, Boulders Beach, V&A Waterfront, Table Mountain, The Wine land, The Garden Routes, Johannesburg, Kruger National Mark, Durban Beach Front, Robben Island, Soweto, Blyde River Canyon Nature Reserve, The Big Hole, Gold Reef City, Nelson Mandela Square, SAB World of Beer, uShaka Marine World, Valley of a Thousand Hills, and The Drakensberg.

The South African Rand is the currency of South Africa. The currency code for Rand is ZAR. The currency of South Africa consists of banknotes and coin and is denoted in Rand (R) and Cents (c). It takes its name from the "Witwatersrand", the ridge upon which Johannesburg is built, and where most of South Africa's gold deposits were found. The South African Rand is divided into 100 cents, symbol "c".

In November 2012, the South African Reserve Bank introduced a new set of banknotes, which personifies South Africa's pride as a nation, and also pays tribute to a much-loved global icon, Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela (Madiba). The South African currency features banknotes in denominations of R200.00, R100.00, R50.00, R20.00, and R10.00. The Big Five are featured prominently on the banknotes. South African coins come in denominations of 5c, 10c, 20c, 50c, R1, R2, and R5.

The most popular South African Rand currency exchanges in South Africa are US Dollar (USD), European Euro (EUR), UK Pound Sterling (GBP), Australian Dollar (AUD), Indian Rupee (INR), Canadian Dollar (CAD), United Arab Emirati Dirham (AED), New Zealand Dollar (NZD), and Chinese Yuan Renminbi (CNY).
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