SOUTHERN AFRICA

South Africa Map

A map of South America displaying major cities, towns, rivers, lakes, and roads. Satellite imagery and a terrain map display the Drakensberg Mountains to the Kalahari Desert.
REFERENCE

South Africa Political Map

South Africa is located at the southern tip of the continent of Africa, along both the Indian Ocean and South Atlantic Ocean. It borders Namibia, Botswana, Mozambique, and Zimbabwe to the north. But South Africa also completely surrounds Lesotho, and nearly surrounds Eswatini (Swaziland) as well. South Africa is the most populous country located entirely south of the equator with over 60 million people. Additionally, South Africa is the only country in the world to have 3 capitals – Cape Town, Pretoria, and Bloemfontein. While Bloemfontein is the judicial capital, Pretoria is the executive capital. Finally, Cape Town is the legislative capital and largest city in South Africa. Other major cities are Durban, Johannesburg, and Soweto.

IMAGERY

South Africa Satellite Map

South Africa occupies an area of 1,221,037 square kilometers (471,445 sq mi), which makes it the ninth-largest in Africa. In comparison, it’s smaller than Mali but larger than Ethiopia.  It has one of the longest coastlines at more than 2,500 km (1,553 mi), spanning both oceans. The country lies between 22°S and 35°S latitude. But because of its position near the ocean and mountains, it’s still relatively dry with less rainfall and semi-desert in the north. Specifically, the Kalahari Desert extends in the northern region of South Africa. Additionally, there is the Great Karoo region south-central region with semi-desert conditions.

PHYSICAL

South Africa Physical Map

The terrain of South Africa consists of plains, rugged hills, and plateaus. But the central area of South Africa is mostly a flat plateau. The Great Escarpment is a topographic feature that surrounds southern Africa. This geographic region has steep hills with the Drakensberg on the eastern portion of the escarpment. This mountain chain runs from the northeast through Lesotho and contains the Mafadi peak. At 3,446.1 m (11,306 ft), it’s the highest point in South Africa and is within the Drakensberg Mountains.  South Africa has one of the largest systems of rivers in Africa. For instance, the Orange River is South Africa’s longest river. But the Limpopo and Vaal River are also notable rivers in South Africa. Lake Chrissie is the largest lake in South Africa.

ADMINISTRATION

South Africa Provincial Map

There are 9 provinces in South Africa, which are divided administratively and geographically. Provinces are the first-level administrative unit but they can be divided further into districts. The 9 provinces of South Africa are Eastern Cape, Free State, Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal, Limpopo, Mpumalanga, Northern Cape, and North West. Gauteng is the smallest in size but it’s one of the most populous with the provincial capital of Johannesburg.