At a glance

Size

1 219 090 km2.

Key economic sectors

Mining services and transport, energy, manufacturing, tourism, agriculture.

Population

48,7 million (mid-2008).

Official languages

English, isiZulu, isiXhosa, isiNdebele, Afrikaans, siSwati, Sesotho, sa Leboa, Sesotho, Setswana,Tshivenda and Xitsonga.

Government

Constitutional multiparty, three-tier (local, provincial, national) democracy.

Major cities

Johannesburg, Cape Town, Durban, Pretoria, Port Elizabeth, Bloemfontein, East London, Kimberley. There are nine provinces.

Currency

100 cents equals one rand.

Time

GMT +2 hours.

Distances

Cape Town to Johannesburg 1 400 km (880 miles).
Johannesburg to Durban 600 km (380 miles).
Port Elizabeth to Bloemfontein 700 km (440 miles).

Transportation

Excellent roads, rail and air facilities (both domestic and international).

Telecommunications

World-class infrastructure. Internet access is widely available. There are four mobile (cellular) networks.

Value-added tax

Levied at 14%. Tourists may apply for tax refunds on purchases over R250 on departure.

Health

Top-quality care is available throughout the country, although basic in rural areas. Inoculations are only required for those travelling from yellow-fever areas. Malaria precautions are necessary in some areas.