Flag of South Africa

South Africa Geography Profile 2017

Home > Factbook > Countries > South Africa

LocationSouthern Africa, at the southern tip of the continent of Africa
Geographic coordinates29 00 S, 24 00 E
Map referencesAfrica
Areatotal: 1,219,090 sq km
land: 1,214,470 sq km
water: 4,620 sq km
note: includes Prince Edward Islands (Marion Island and Prince Edward Island)
Area - comparativeslightly less than twice the size of Texas
Land boundariestotal: 5,244 km
border countries (6): Botswana 1,969 km, Lesotho 1,106 km, Mozambique 496 km, Namibia 1,005 km, Swaziland 438 km, Zimbabwe 230 km
Coastline2,798 km
Maritime claimsterritorial sea: 12 nm
contiguous zone: 24 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
continental shelf: 200 nm or to edge of the continental margin
Climatemostly semiarid; subtropical along east coast; sunny days, cool nights
Terrainvast interior plateau rimmed by rugged hills and narrow coastal plain
Elevation extremesmean elevation: 1,034 m
elevation extremes: lowest point: Atlantic Ocean 0 m
highest point: Njesuthi 3,408 m
Natural resourcesgold, chromium, antimony, coal, iron ore, manganese, nickel, phosphates, tin, rare earth elements, uranium, gem diamonds, platinum, copper, vanadium, salt, natural gas
Land useagricultural land: 79.4%
arable land 9.9%; permanent crops 0.3%; permanent pasture 69.2%
forest: 7.6%
other: 13% (2011 est.)
Irrigated land16,700 sq km (2012)
Natural hazardsprolonged droughts
volcanism: the volcano forming Marion Island in the Prince Edward Islands, which last erupted in 2004, is South Africa's only active volcano
Environment - current issueslack 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
Environment - international agreementsparty to: Antarctic-Environmental Protocol, Antarctic-Marine Living Resources, Antarctic Seals, Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Marine Life Conservation, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands, Whaling
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
Geography - noteSouth Africa completely surrounds Lesotho and almost completely surrounds Swaziland

Source: CIA World Factbook
This page was last updated on July 9, 2017

Geography Comparison