South Africa, officially the Republic of South Africa (RSA), is a country located in Southern Africa. It has 2,798 kilometers (1,739 mi) of coastline that stretches along the South Atlantic and Indian oceans. To the north lie the neighboring countries of Namibia, Botswana and Zimbabwe; to the east are Mozambique and Swaziland; and within it lies Lesotho, an enclave surrounded by South African territory. South Africa is the 25th-largest country in the world by land area, and with close to 53 million people, is the world's 25th-most populous nation.
South Africa has a generally temperate climate, due in part to being surrounded by the Atlantic and Indian Oceans on three sides, by its location in the climatically milder southern hemisphere and due to the average elevation rising steadily towards the north (towards the equator) and further inland.
South Africa is a multilingual country and there are 11 official languages, namely: English, Afrikaans, isiNdebele, isiXhosa, isiZulu, Sepedi, Sesotho, Setswana, Siswati, Tshivenda and Xitsonga. Although only about 10% of the population has English as its mother tongue, English is the language most widely understood, and is the second language of the majority of South Africans.
About 80% of South Africa's population is Christian. Other major religious groups include Hindus, Muslims, Jews and Buddhists. A minority does not belong to any of the major religions. The Constitution guarantees freedom of worship.
There are nine provinces in South Africa, namely: Eastern Cape, Free State, Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal, Limpopo, Mpumalanga, Northern Cape, North West and Western Cape.
Smoking is banned in public places, but there are usually designated areas where people can smoke. Under-18s may not enter a designated smoking area or buy cigarettes.
The cuisine of South Africa is sometimes called "rainbow cuisine", as it has had a variety of multicultural sources and stages.
This jerky-type air-dried meat (usually beef) is savored nearly everywhere by nearly everyone. It was a life-sustaining mainstay of the Boers during their historic, northward Great Trek into Africa’s interior in the 1830s.
The animals are usually farm raised. The rest are legally hunted, or less likely, poached. Local favorites include ostrich, crocodile, and antelope (the eland and springbok are gourmet treasures). If you categorize the popular caterpillar-like Mashonzha worm as game meat, then add this widely praised treat to the list. It can be grilled, stewed, whatever.
Marinated, cubed meat (usually lamb) is skewered and barbecued shish-kebab style
It's like the British shepherd's pie, but the minced meat is curried - and the topping is frothy custard instead of mashed potatoes. It has a Cape Malay heritage.
Literally, farmer’s sausage. It's made with seasoned beef or pork.
Name means maize (corn). Frequently served on-the-cob, or made into a beer. Mealie is also a widely used ingredient in bread or porridge – the basic diet of the poor South African.
A heavily spiced stew incorporating meat (typically lamb) and vegetables. Tomato Bredie is the best-known version of this specialty, introduced by the Cape Malays.
This is not a true lobster (it lacks claws), but it's quite tasty, especially when grilled.
A traditional meat-and-vegetable stew of the Boers. It's slowly cooked in a three-legged cast-iron pot over coals.
Translates "milk tart". It's a milk-egg-and-sugar dessert custard prepared in a round pastry shell.
Rail Travel :
South African rail travel provides an exciting way to take in the scenic beauty of the country without having to drive yourself around.
Options include economy class and luxury coaches as well as the ultimate opulent rail safari on the Blue Train or Rovos Rail. Steam enthusiasts can also enjoy rail journeys of old on restored steam trains. South Africa train travel covers some of the most beautiful parts of the country, taking visitors from cities like Johannesburg and Bloemfontein to prime destinations like Cape Town, Durban and Port Elizabeth.
The cheapest way to travel around the country is by bus, making it a popular mode of transport for locals and visitors on a budget. Be sure to book with a reputable service, though, as not all bus companies have an equally good reputation. There are a number of bus operators, offering both economy and luxury rides. If you want to travel in southern Africa, some of these companies also offer cross-border journeys into neighboring states like Namibia, Botswana, Mozambique and Zimbabwe.
If you are visiting a national park, you may wish to hire an SUV for comfort and to give you height advantage when game viewing. That said, most national parks have excellent roads and a sedan is just as adequate.
Table Mountain is South Africa’s best-known landmark, but what many don’t know is that it is also a hiker’s paradise with numerous trails, amazing views and plenty of interesting facts to learn. Oh, and its part of a national park. And all this in the heart of the Mother City.
At times a leper colony, mental hospital and defense training base, the Robben Island World Heritage Site is more famed as the prison to which anti-apartheid activists, among them former president Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela, were banished. A ‘university of the struggle’, its graduates went on to lead South Africa into democracy.
The V&A Waterfront in Cape Town is home to a wide range of exciting retail outlets, from well-known international brands to exclusive local boutiques. Visit this shopping and leisure Mecca and discover why it attracts more visitors than any other destination in South Africa.
The Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden truly deserves being the best-known of South Africa's nine national botanical gardens, thanks to its stunning scenery, diverse flora and themed gardens. These botanical gardens, part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site, are a must-see for anyone visiting Cape Town.
What do Albert Luthuli, former president of the African National Congress, Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu, last president of the ‘old South Africa’ FW de Klerk and the legendary Nelson Mandela have in common? They all won the Nobel Peace Prize and their effigies stand together at Cape Town’s V&A Waterfront.
The South African Jewish Museum in Hatfield Street, Cape Town, tells the story of this country's large Jewish community. It includes a Holocaust centre, shop, library, synagogue and restaurant.
At the Old Biscuit Mill in Albert Road, Woodstock, you can dine in some of Cape Town's best restaurants, view beautiful artworks, buy designer items and, on weekends, browse one of the trendiest markets in the city.
The Cape Town International Jazz Festival offers superb entertainment and has become known as 'Africa's Grandest Gathering'. The event has attracted some of the world's biggest musical names, among them Lauryn Hill, Dan Brubeck, Earth, Wind & Fire and local greats like Hugh Masekela and Jimmy Dludlu.