South Africa is one of the biggest countries in Africa. It is located in the very south of the continent, bordered on the west by the Atlantic Ocean and to the south and east by the Indian Ocean. In the north, the country shares its border with Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique and Swaziland. Another small country, Lesotho is an area within the territory of South Africa.

Only 10% of the land can be cultivated because the rest is too dry or too mountainous.

The country has two capitals: Cape Town is the political capital and Pretoria is the administrative capital.

In 1980, the country was divided into four provinces and ten homelands. The provinces were administered and ruled by Whites. The homelands were small territories created by the White government and were reserved for the Black population.

The climate varies greatly from one area of the country to another: It is mild on the coast and in the mountains in the south, warmer and wetter in the east and very dry in the north. During winter (May to July), there is often snow in the mountains that border the Indian Ocean. However, it is possible to sunbathe on the beaches near these same mountains that are located on the same stretch of the Indian Ocean!

Author:  Marianne Giguère

French (If available)