Geography

geography south africa accommodation knysna hostels j-baySouth Africa is the 25th largest country (1.219.912km²) in the world with a 2,798 kilometers coastline, touching the Atlantic and the Indian Ocean.  The Drakensberg Mountain forms the highest peak in South Africa at 3,408m.  South Africa’s climatic vary from extreme desert in the far northwestern region to the lush subtropical climate in the east along the Indian Ocean.  The extreme southwest (Cape Winelands – Western Cape) has a Mediterranean climate with wet winters and hot, dry summers.  To the East, on the South coast of South Africa is the tourism meca of South Africa, the lush green Garden with patches of temperate forest.

 

Fauna & Flora

fauna and flora south africa surf camp Jeffreys bay surf schoolSouth Africa is ranked sixth out of the world’s seventeen mega diverse countries with more than 20,000 different plants species.  The Fynbos Biome, one of the six floral kingdoms, is located in a small region of the Western Cape and contains more than 9,000 of those species, making it among the richest regions on earth in terms of floral biodiversity.  Numerous mammals are found in the Northern parts of South Africa like, Lions, Leopards, Rhino, Blue Wildebeest, Kudus, Impalas, Hyenas, Hippopotamus and Giraffes.  There are also numerous private game reserves and National parks where tourists can view the Big 5 around South Africa, with Port Elizabeth as one of the top coastal destinations where one can do quality game drives.

   

Demographics

demographics south africa backpackers sa backpacker knysnaSouth Africa is a very diverse country with many different cultures, languages, and religious beliefs.  The 48 million people in South Africa have eleven official languages (Afrikaans, English Ndebele, Northern Sotho, Sotho, Swazi, Tswana, Tsonga, Venda, Xhosa and Zulu).  South Africa demographics are 79.5% Black African, 9.2% White, 8.9% Coloured and 2.5% Indian or Asian.

   

Culture

culture south africa budget accomodation port elizabeth hostelIt may be argued that there is no “single” culture in South Africa because of its ethnic diversity.  Today, the diversity in foods from many cultures is enjoyed by all and especially marketed to tourists who wish to sample the large variety of South African cuisine.  Food, music and dance feature prominently.  South African cuisine is heavily meat-based and has spawned the distinctively South African social gathering known as a braai, or barbecue.  South Africa has also developed into a major wine producer, with some of the best vineyards lying in valleys around Stellenbosch, Franschoek, Paarl and Barrydale.  The South African black majority still has a substantial number of rural inhabitants who lead largely impoverished lives.  It is among these people, however, that cultural traditions survive most strongly; as blacks have become increasingly urbanized and westernized, aspects of traditional culture have declined.  Urban blacks usually speak English or Afrikaans in addition to their native tongue.  The middle class lifestyle, predominantly of the white minority but with growing numbers of Black, Coloured and Indian people, is similar in many respects to that of people found in Western Europe, North America and Australia.  Members of the middle class often study and work abroad for greater exposure to the markets of the world.

   

Sport

sport south africa backpacking Jeffreys Bay flashpacker JBaySport in South Africa’s is a very big thing with Soccer, Rugby and Cricket at the forefront.  Other sports with significant support are swimming, athletics, golf, boxing, tennis and netball.  Although soccer commands the greatest following among the youth, other sports like basketball, surfing and skateboarding are increasingly popular.

   

Tourism

tourism south africa youth hostels ZA surf lessons Jeffrey's baySouth Africa is a popular tourist destination, with around 860 000 arrivals per month (2008) of which around 210 000 is from outside the African continent.  Among the main attractions are the diverse and picturesque culture, the game reserves and the highly regarded local wines.  In addition to the well known Kruger National Park, South Africa has a large number of other top National Parks to visit like Tsitsikamma National Park in the Garden Route.  South Africa boasts a range of cultural, historical, algological and geological sites that are protected under the Unesco World Heritage site project and well worth a visit.  Popular cultural events and historical sites in South Africa the National Arts Festival and Klein Karoo National Arts Festival, Robben Island and the Voortrekker Monument to mention just a few.  One of the major tourist attractions in the near future will be the 2010 Fifa Soccer World Cup, and will attract thousands of tourists to the golden shores of South Africa