The southernmost country in the African continent, South Africa has a unique geographical and territorial configuration that is not found anywhere else. The tiny kingdom of Lesotho is an enclave within the South African territory. Moreover, South Africa is the only African nation to have a foothold in two oceans: the Indian Ocean to the east and the Atlantic Ocean to the west. South Africa is bordered by Botswana to the north, Zimbabwe and Mozambique to the northeast, and Namibia to the west and northwest. And as mentioned above, Lesotho is buried deep within South Africa, although it exists as an independent state. In terms of land area, South Africa is the 25th largest in the world. The political configuration of the state is also interesting. Normally a state chooses only one city for its capital, but nominally, South Africa has three. Pretoria is the seat of the legislative department. Bloemfontein is the seat of the judicial department. Cape Town is the seat of the legislative. Compounding things is the fact that the largest and commercial center of South Africa is none of the three but Johannesburg.
The topography of South Africa is varied, as well as its climate. The eastern part receives plenty of rainfall, making at an ideal site for agriculture, but the central part is sparsely populated grasslands. The southwest region is very windy and is widely regarded as the windiest place on earth with strong winds blowing all year round, making it very dangerous for sailors. This danger to shipping was one of the factors that expedited plans for the completion of the Suez Canal in Egypt to cut travel time from Europe to Asia and back and make it less risky. On the other hand, the southern part of South Africa receives just the right amount of rainfall throughout the year, which makes the landscape filled with green vistas.
South Africa is one of the top tourist destinations in the continent. As such, getting there is easy. Normally, flights from Europe frequently make a stopover in any of Africa
’s capitals before proceeding to South Africa. On the other hand, because of the risky and choppy seas on the south of the country, cruise ships are not frequently seen here. However, the inherent danger posed by the sea has not stopped the more adventurous from challenging nature through surfing, boat races, and similar water sports.
Most of South Africa’s tourists are drawn on the beauty of its vast and varied landscape. Some of the most popular destinations are:
- Fynbos Biome. This is the earth’s richest region in terms of floral diversity. Hence, the area is a favorite site for botanists to conduct their study, not to mention the colorful and diverse flora around.
- The Kruger National Park and Mala Mala Reserve are hosts to the wildlife of South Africa. Leopards, wildebeest, hyenas, hippopotamus, lions, and giraffes abound in these reserve areas.
- Skiing in Drakensberg Mountains. Situated in the southeastern part of the country, it offers skiing opportunities in winter.
- Sailing and surfing in Cape Town. Smack right in the middle of the windiest region of the world, Cape Town is an ideal place for surfing and sailing activities and a chance to test nature’s roughness.