South Africa: Worldwide Travel Information World Countries > Africa > South Africa
South AfricaSouth Africa is a country located at the southern tip of Africa. It is divided into nine provinces and has 2,798 kilometres of coastline. To the north of the country lie the neighbouring territories of Namibia, Botswana and Zimbabwe; to the east are Mozambique and Swaziland while Lesotho is an enclave surrounded by South African territory.
South Africa is a multi-ethnic nation and has diverse cultures and languages Eleven official languages are recognised in the constitution. Two of these languages are of European origin: South African English and Afrikaans, a language which originated mainly from Dutch that is spoken by the majority of white and Coloured South Africans.
Though English is commonly used in public and commercial life, it is only the fifth most-spoken home language. All ethnic and language groups have political representation in the country's constitutional democracy comprising a parliamentary republic; unlike most parliamentary republics, the positions of head of state and head of government are merged in a parliament-dependent President.
About 79.5% of the South African population is of black African ancestry, divided among a variety of ethnic groups speaking different Bantu languages nine of which have official status.
South Africa also contains the largest communities of European, Asian, and racially mixed ancestry in Africa.
South Africa is ranked as an upper-middle income economy by the World Bank. It has the largest economy in Africa, and the 28th-largest in the world. About a quarter of the population is unemployed and lives on less than US $1.25 a day.