South Africa Facts
On this page you will find 15 South Africa Facts which are basic facts for South Africa, also you will find information about the country's economy at a glance and 10 basic facts you should know about living in South Africa.
15 Basic Facts for South Africa at a Glance
- Official Name: Republic of South Africa (RSA)
- Area: 1.22 million km2 (471 000 sq miles) divided into 9 Provinces
- Borders: Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Lesotho, Swaziland
- Population: 51.8 million (Census 2011)
- Official Languages: 11 (English, Afrikaans, isiZulu, isiXhosa, isiNdebele, Sepedi, Sesotho, Setswana, siSwati, Tshivenda, Xitsonga. Read more.
- Capital Cities: Pretoria (administrative), Cape Town (legislative), Bloemfontein (judicative)
Union Buildings in Pretoria/Tshwane
Here are more South Africa facts:
- Government: Constitutional Democracy
- Ruling Party: ANC (African National Congress)
- Date of Full Democracy: 27 April 1994. Click for Public Holidays here.
- Literacy Rate: 89% of adult population
- Measurements: Metric System
- Currency: ZAR (South African Rand)
- Time Zone: GMT +2 hours
- Internet Country Code: . za
- International Dialing Code: +27
South Africa Economy at a Glance
- GDP Growth Rate: 3.8% (StatsSA, 2013)
- Inflation (CPI): 6% (StatsSA, 2014)
- Mortgage Base Rate: 9% (Central Bank, 2014)
- Unemployment: 25.2% (StatsSA, 2014)
- Youth Unemployment: 52% (World Bank, 2014)
- Key Sectors: Mining, Automotive, Metalworks, Chemicals, Iron and Steel,
- Largest Industries: Finance 22.4%, General Government
Services 16.8%, Wholesale 16%, Manufacturing Industry 12.6%
Read more about working in South African here.
10 Basic South Africa Facts - Daily Living at a Glance
For visitors, business travellers and expats alike, here are our ten basic facts regarding life in South Africa so you can enjoy your time while in this beautiful country.
- Climate: Conditions
vary according to seasons and location. Overall, South Africa has a temperate
climate and the conditions are predominantly warm and sunny in the highveld.
The temperatures are warmer with high humidity levels in the south-eastern
parts and the north-western parts experience a dry desert climate with dramatic
temperature variations. In the south-west a mild Mediterranean climate
prevails. South Africa has on average 8.5 hours of daily sunshine.
- Time zone: The country has only one time zone and does not
adhere to daylight saving, so there are considerable differences in daylight
time between eastern and western parts of the country. Remember that the seasons are opposite to those in the northern hemisphere.
- Standard and Cost of Living: Expats rank living in South
Africa highly and with regards to experience and economics, South Africa ranks
higher than Canada, Australia or Spain. The cost of living is lower than in
most expat destinations and the living expenses in Cape Town are lower than in
Johannesburg. General living expenses for a family of four (without housing and
transport) will amount to around R10 000 per month in 2013.
- Crime and Safety: Whilst personal safety cannot be
guaranteed, it is easy enough to maintain in South Africa. Living in South
Africa’s major cities is like living in any other big city and, as is the case
anywhere, there are some areas and some habits you should avoid. If you take
sensible precautions, there is no need to feel insecure or unsafe. For
non-violent crimes, South Africa is considered safer than Australia, England or
Denmark and ranks below England and the USA regarding burglaries and robberies.
- Education: The South African school year starts mid-January
and ends at the beginning of December. However international schools and the
American schools may adhere to a different school calendar. Most expats opt to
send their children to private schools, fees can amount to R70 000 per year or
higher (excluding boarding fees). Non-South African learners need a valid study
permit to take up schooling or studies in South Africa. More info on education and universities here.
- Healthcare: The distribution of health and health services
in South Africa still varies widely within the provinces. However, You will
find excellent medical personnel and first-class facilities at private
hospitals, medical centers and private clinics in the main business centres. To
receive private medical treatment in South Africa it is virtually essential to
have private medical insurance.
- Malaria: Some areas in the North West, Limpopo,
KwaZulu-Natal and Mpumalanga provinces as well as most parts of the Kruger Park
are malaria risk areas. If you live or travel in high-risk areas, malaria
prophylaxis is highly recommended. Check out the map for high-risk areas here.
- Transport: Getting your own transport is highly recommended
as reliable public transport is not widely available in many areas. Visitors
and holders of a temporary residency permit are allowed to drive with a valid
international driver’s licence or a valid foreign national driver’s permit,
provided it is translated into English and has a photograph of the holder.
- Food and Water: Tap Water is safe to drink in most areas of
South Africa. In the more remote regions, it is advisable to drink bottled
spring water or sparkling wataer, which is widely available. Home water
filtration systems are also available. Food shopping is usually done at various
supermarket chain stores and retail outlets, such as Pick n Pay, Woolworths,
Checkers or Spar.
- Going out: Restaurants offer a wide variety of dishes for
every taste. Many restaurants are child-friendly and family-orientated
restaurants often have a secure children’s play area. A lot of events take
place all over the country all year round. Options for evening entertainment
range from sipping sundowners and admiring the local scenery to visiting shows
and concerts. South Africa has a tremendous number of unique cultural
attractions, such as museums, exhibitions and festivals.
15 amazing facts about South Africa even most locals won't know
Why is South Africa is so popular with expats and tourists?
Do you need more South Africa Facts?
To find a comprehensive overview of this awesome country, make sure to get our handbook which you also can order from us directly.
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Image Credits for the South Africa Facts page: shutterstock.com, SA Tourism, Gauteng Tourism Authority and own images
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