World Travelling Guide
World Travelling Guide

Accommodation in Southern Africa and South Africa including accommodation in Western Cape, Eastern Cape, Northern Cape, Gauteng, Limpopo Province, North West Province, Free State, Kwazulu-Natal, Mpumalanga

List of Countries
Map of Africa

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South Africa Travelling Guide
South Africa Travelling Guide
Camps Bay

General background: After the British seized the Cape of Good Hope area in 1806, many of the Dutch settlers (the Boers) trekked north to found their own republics. The discovery of diamonds (1867) and gold (1886) spurred wealth and immigration and intensified the subjugation of the native inhabitants. The Boers resisted British encroachments, but were defeated in the Boer War (1899-1902). The resulting Union of South Africa operated under a policy of apartheid - the separate development of the races. The 1990s brought an end to apartheid politically and ushered in black majority rule.

Area comparative: Slightly less than twice the size of Texas.

Climate: Mostly semiarid; subtropical along east coast; sunny days, cool nights.

Terrain: Vast interior plateau rimmed by rugged hills and narrow coastal plain.

Population: 43,647,658 (July 2002 est.)

Ethnic groups: Black 75.2%, White 13.6%, Colored 8.6%, Indian 2.6%

Religions: Christian 68% (includes most whites and Coloreds, about 60% of blacks and about 40% of Indians), Muslim 2%, Hindu 1.5% (60% of Indians), indigenous beliefs and animist 28.5%.

Language: 11 official languages, including Afrikaans, English, Ndebele, Pedi, Sotho, Swazi, Tsonga, Tswana, Venda, Xhosa, Zulu.

Government type: Republic

Capital: Pretoria; note - Cape Town is the legislative centre and Bloemfontein the judicial centre.

Legal system: Based on Roman-Dutch law and English common law; accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction, with reservations.

Economic overview: South Africa is a middle-income, developing country with an abundant supply of resources, well-developed financial, legal, communications, energy, and transport sectors, a stock exchange that ranks among the 10 largest in the world, and a modern infrastructure supporting an efficient distribution of goods to major urban centres throughout the region. However, growth has not been strong enough to cut into high unemployment, and daunting economic problems remain from the apartheid era, especially the problems of poverty and lack of economic empowerment among the disadvantaged groups. Other problems are crime, corruption, and HIV/AIDS. At the start of 2000, President MBEKI vowed to promote economic growth and foreign investment, and to reduce poverty by relaxing restrictive labour laws, stepping up the pace of privatisation, and cutting unneeded governmental spending. The economy slowed in 2001, largely the result of the slowing of the international economy.

Communication/Telephone system: The system is well developed and modern.

Places of interest: From Kruger National Park with some of the best game viewing in Africa to Cape Town, surely one of the most beautiful cities in the World with Table Mountain in the heart of the city. Fantastic surfing beaches stretching out over thousands of kilometers of coastline. Some breathtaking mountainous areas.

Travel tips: Various smaller, domestic airlines, coach companies and car rental companies make traveling the long distances domestically - and in the Southern African region - very easy and hassle free.