South Africa Country Profile and News Stories

March 18, 2005

South Africa, Africa's southernmost nation, is also Africa's largest and most developed economy. Its premier city, Johannesburg, and its satellite cities are home to more than eight million people—generating 9 percent of all economic activity in Africa.

South Africa is a democratic country representing all its diverse people—often called the rainbow nation. The government recognizes 11 official languages.

Area: 470,693 square miles (1,219,090 square kilometers)

Capital: Pretoria (administrative capital), Bloemfontein (judicial capital), Cape Town (legislative capital)

Religion: Christian, indigenous beliefs, Muslim, Hindu

Languages: Afrikaans, English, Ndebele, Pedi, Sotho, Swazi, Tsonga, Tswana, Venda, Xhosa, Zulu

Life Expectancy: 53

Currency: rand

GDP per capita: the equivalent of U.S. $10,000

Economy: mining, automobile assembly, metalworking, machinery, agriculture

Exports: gold, diamonds, platinum, other metals and minerals, machinery and equipment

Adapted from the National Geographic Atlas of the World

South Africa Photo Galleries

Faces of South Africa
South Africa Tourism: Ten Things to See and Do

South Africa News Stories

Land Animals

S. Africa Weighs Killing "Excess" Elephants in Parks
Rare Two-Headed Tortoise Found in South Africa
Chinese Tigers Learn Hunting, Survival Skills in Africa
Has Rare Lion of Africa's Cape Eluded Extinction?
"Killer Bee" Touted as Economic Lifesaver in S. Africa
Cross-Border Park Is Africa's Largest Wildlife Refuge
African Air Base Loses Cheetah "Watchdog"
Africa's New Safari Trend Is for the Birds
Time Running Out for Exotic Tahrs in Cape Town
Gamblers Fuel Trade in "Lucky" Vulture Heads in Africa
Crocodile, Scientist "Communicate" by Mobile Phone
Hunters Pay to Tranquilize Game for Research
On the Trail of Africa's Endangered Wild Dogs
Tiny Bugs Enlisted to Fight Invading Water Hyacinths
Grasshoppers Used to Fight "Worst Water Weed"
Model Jerry Hall's Albatross Wins the Big Bird Race
Killer Cats Hunted Human Ancestors
Wild Dog Urine May Be Used as "Fences" in Africa
Cheetah Conservation Hopes Fall on "Ambassador" Cat
Rare Leopard Behavior Documented on Film
Meerkats Become Fat Cats in Large Cooperatives

Marine Animals

South Africa Sardine Migration Draws Crowds
Poaching, Smuggling Threaten Abalone in S. Africa
Africa's Penguins Still Reeling From "Guano Craze"
Photographing Africa's "Flying Sharks"
Tags Hobble Penguins, Some Researchers Contend
Satellites Spy on Lives of Great White Sharks
Underwater Photographer On Swimming With Sharks
Penguin Tags Are a Drag—Can Rubber Improve Them?
Satellite Tags Keep Track of Great White Sharks
Rotten-Egg Gas Suffocating Fish Off African Coast
Swimming With Sharks Photo Gallery 1
Swimming With Sharks Photo Gallery 2

Plant Life

Saving South Africa's Floral Heritage

Continued on Next Page >>




NEWS FEEDS     After installing a news reader, click on this icon to download National Geographic News's XML/RSS feed.   After installing a news reader, click on this icon to download National Geographic News's XML/RSS feed.

Get our news delivered directly to your desktop—free.
How to Use XML or RSS

National Geographic Daily News To-Go

Listen to your favorite National Geographic news daily, anytime, anywhere from your mobile phone. No wires or syncing. Download Stitcher free today.
Click here to get 12 months of National Geographic Magazine for $15.