Total area: 1,221,037 km² (471,443 sq. miles)
Population: 50,586,757 (2011 estimate)
Officially the Republic of South Africa, it is a country found at the southern tip of the African continent. It is divided into nine provinces, with 2,798 kilometres (1,739 mi) of coastline on both the Atlantic and Indian oceans. Where Lesotho is an enclave surrounded by South African territory, to the north of South Africa lie the neighbouring territories of Botswana, Namibia, and Zimbabwe; to its east are Mozambique and Swaziland.
South Africa is a parliamentary republic, with the differentiation that the President is both head of state and head of government, where the confidence of Parliament solely depends on the President’s way of conduct. The executive, legislature and judiciary powers are all subject to the supremacy of the Constitution, where the superior courts have the power to strike down executive actions and acts of Parliament if they deemed unconstitutional.
South Africa has a generally temperate climate, due in part to being surrounded by the Atlantic and Indian Oceans on three sides, by its location in the climatically milder southern hemisphere and due to the average elevation rising steadily towards the north (towards the equator) and further inland. Likewise, due to the varied topography and oceanic influence, the climatic zones of the country seem to vary; from the extreme desert of the southern Namib in the farthest northwest to the lush subtropical climate in the east along the Mozambique border and the Indian ocean. From the east, the land quickly rises over a mountainous escarpment towards the interior plateau known as the Highveld. Even though South Africa is classified as semi-arid, there is considerable variation in climate as well as topography. Winters in South Africa occur between June and August.
South Africa has a mixed economy with a high rate of poverty and low GDP per capita. Unemployment is high and South Africa is ranked in the top 10 countries in the world for income inequality. Following 1994, and employing a mixture of fiscal policies, other measures and incentives, the South African government decreased inflation, stabilised its finances, and some foreign capital was attracted. It proved inadequate as growth came to be elusive. From 2004 onwards, economic growth picked up significantly; both employment and capital formation increased.
South Africa is a popular tourist destination, and a substantial amount of revenue comes from its services in tourism. Principal international trading partners of South Africa - besides other African countries - include GERMANY, the UNITED STATES, JAPAN, the UNITED KINGDOM, SPAIN and CHINA.
The South African agricultural industry contributes around 10% of formal employment, relatively low compared to other parts of Africa, as well as providing work for casual labourers and contributing around 2.6% of GDP for the nation. Due to the aridity of the land, only 13.5% can be used for crop production, and only 3% is considered high potential land, land that is ultimately destined for producing various crops. The dairy industry is a small (just over 2.5%), however remains an important sector of the economy. South Africa is one of world's largest producers of: grapefruit, chicory roots, cereals, green maize and maize, pears, castor oil seed, sisal and fibre crops.
It is also fair to mention that unlike most of the world's poor countries, South Africa does not have a thriving informal economy; according to OECD estimates, only 15% of South African jobs are in the shadow economy, compared with around half in Brazil and India and nearly three-quarters in Indonesia. South Africa is one of world's largest producers of: grapefruit, chicory roots, cereals, green maize and maize, pears, castor oil seed, sisal and fibre crops.
Sources: Southafrica.net, GoAfrica, Wikipedia
Tourism in South Africa
Gauteng and the Western Cape remained the country's most visited provinces in 2011 and with over eight million tourists visited South Africa in 2011 - a 3.3% increase over the 2010 World Cup year that would, (where football-specific arrivals would not be included), have amounted to a 7.4% increase over 2010, well ahead of the global average of 4.4% annual growth.
Neighbouring countries such as Botswana, Lesotho, Mozambique, Swaziland and Zimbabwe remained South Africa's major source of tourist arrivals, while the UK, US, Germany, the NETHERLANDS and FRANCE were South Africa's top five overseas tourist markets.
The growth in the country's tourism arrivals was driven by a 14.6% growth from the emerging markets of Asia - with a 24% increase in arrivals from China and a 26% increase in arrivals from India. South Africa is said to continue to invest in marketing the country to both India and China, adding that South African Airways' launch in January 2012 of direct flights between Johannesburg and Beijing would add to the growth.
While North American numbers grew by 2.3%, European arrivals declined by 3.5% in 2011, in line with worsening economic conditions there - yet despite this, arrivals from Germany increased by nine percent, with 236,000 arrivals, with the majority of them being young travellers.
The UK remained South Africa's number one overseas market with 420,500 arrivals, despite a decrease of seven percent. Arrivals from two of South Africa's other key European markets - the Netherlands and France - also declined last year, while arrivals from Italy were up. Brazil is also an upcoming market with arrivals at 54,000 in 2011 alone.
Continent arrivals from the other African countries increased by 6.8%, with a 38% increase from Nigeria.
Tourists from AFRICA are major leisure tourists, attracted by the country's beauty, nightlife and lifestyle and shopping attractions. It is also believed that the 2013 African Nations Cup soccer tournament would be a big opportunity for the country to drive arrivals from the African continent.
Source: South Africa Info (April 2012)
Car Hire in South Africa with MisterHire.Com
You never get bored in South Africa. With its stunning sceneries, game viewing trips, safaris, theme parks, casinos, township tours, its busy nightlife and shopping activities will keep you busy for the most part of each day. Renting a self drive hire car aids you in driving about comfortably and at your own pace, picking the car up and delivering it back in a most suitable location to you such as Johannesburg's Grand Central (and many other) Airport, or Hotel.
Our dedicated purchasing team compares prices across all the main suppliers such as Sixt, Europcar, Budget, Avis, Hertz as well as an abundance of other carefully selected and reliable local suppliers to find you the best car rental rates possible for South Africa, 24/7 all year round. Visit any of our pages and receive an Inclusive and concise Online quote today and see how much can be saved on your next fully Inclusive car rental service in South Africa, simply by using our services.
The general speed limit on South Africa's national highways, urban freeways and other major routes is 120km/h (75mph). On secondary (rural) roads, the limit is 100km/h (60mph) and in built-up areas it is usually 60km/h (35mph), unless otherwise indicated. Please check the road signs at all times
Please also bear in mind the following:
- Driving in South Africa is conducted on the left-hand side of the road and our rental cars are therefore right-hand drive vehicles.
- All distances, speed limits (and speedometers) are marked in kilometres.
- Wearing of seat belts for all vehicle passengers is compulsory.
- The use of hand-held phones while driving is against the law. You may use a vehicle phone attachment or hands-free kit if you want to speak on your mobile phone while driving.
Source: SouthAfrica.info, Wikipedia