country info heading

Total: 1,219,090 sq km
Country comparison to the world: 32
Land: 1,214,470 sq km
Water: 4,620 sq km

Land boundaries

Total: 4,862 km
Border countries:

  • Botswana 1,840 km
  • Lesotho 909 km
  • Mozambique 491 km
  • Namibia 967 km
  • Swaziland 430 km
  • Zimbabwe 225 km  



2,798 km


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


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

Elevation extremes

Lowest point: Atlantic Ocean 0 m
Highest point: Njesuthi 3,408 m

Flora and Fauna

  • South Africa is home to more than 20.000 different plants.
  • More than a hundred big and small nature reserves are home to more than 300 mammal species, 500 bird species and 100 reptile species.


Natural resources

Gold, Chromium, Antimony, Coal, Iron ore, Manganese, Nickel, Phosphates, Tin, Uranium, Gem Diamonds, Platinum, Copper, Vanadium, Salt, Natural Gas.

Natural hazards

Prolonged droughts.

Environment - current issues

Lack of important arterial rivers or lakes requires extensive water conservation and control measures; growth in water usage outpacing supply; pollution of rivers from agricultural runoff and urban discharge; air pollution resulting in acid rain; soil erosion; desertification.

Geography - note

South Africa completely surrounds Lesotho and almost completely surrounds Swaziland