South Africa




Capital: Pretoria

Population: 50,586,757 (2011 estimate)

Location: Southern Africa

South Africa is located at the southern tip of Africa.  It is a vast country with widely varying landscapes and has 11 official languages, as well as an equally diverse population. South Africa is renowned for its wines and is one of the world's largest producers of gold. South Africa has the strongest economy in Africa, and is an influential player in African politics. In 2010, South Africa hosted the first Football World Cup to be held on the African continent.
Pretoria is a city located in the northern part of Gauteng Province, South Africa. It is one of the country's three capital cities, serving as the executive (administrative) and de facto national capital; the others are Cape Town, the legislative capital, and Bloemfontein, the judicial capital. 
The climate in South Africa ranges from desert and semi-desert in the north west of the country to sub-tropical on the eastern coastline. The rainy season for most of the country is in the summer, except in the Western Cape where the rains come in the winter. Rainfall in the Eastern Cape is distributed evenly throughout the year. Winter temperatures hover around zero, summers can be very hot, in excess of 35°Celsius (95°F) in some places.
National Parks
South Africa is a paradise for anyone interested in natural history. A wide range of species (some potentially dangerous) may be encountered in parks, farms, private reserves and even on the roads.
Flora and fauna
South Africa is ranked sixth out of the world’s seventeen megadiverse countries, with more than 20,000 different plants, or about 10% of all the known species of plants on Earth, making it particularly rich in plant biodiversity. 
Numerous mammals are found in the bushveld including lions, leopards, white rhinos, blue wildebeest, kudus, impalas, hyenas, hippopotamus and giraffes. A significant extent of the bushveld exists in the north-east including Kruger National Park and the Mala Mala Reserve, as well as in the far north in the Waterberg Biosphere.
South Africa is a popular tourist destination, and a substantial amount of revenue comes from tourism. Principal international trading partners of South Africa—besides other African countries—include Germany, the United States, China, Japan, the United Kingdom and Spain.
The nation’s rich variety of historically significant sites lends itself to tourist interest. Four of eight of South Africa’s Unesco World Heritage sites are cultural sites, and one is a mixed natural/cultural site. The remaining three Unesco World Heritage sites are natural sites, and draw visitors to the country’s world renowned eco-tourism sector.
External links: Department of Tourism