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South Africa is a nation of diversity, with over 50-million people and a wide variety of cultures, languages and religious beliefs. Find out about our population groups, their distribution across the country's nine provinces, and more.
South Africa occupies the southern tip of Africa, its long coastline stretching more than 2 500km from the desert border with Namibia on the Atlantic coast, southwards around the tip of Africa, then north to the border with subtropical Mozambique on the Indian Ocean.
South Africa has nine provinces, each with its own legislature, premier and executive council - and distinctive landscape, population, economy and climate.
South Africa's Eastern Cape is a region of great natural beauty, from the rugged cliffs, rough seas and dense forest of the Wild Coast to the desolate Great Karoo, the fertile Langkloof, renowned for its rich apple harvests, and the mountainous southern Drakensberg region.
The Free State lies in the heart of South Africa, with the Kingdom of Lesotho nestling in the hollow of its bean-like shape. Lying between the Vaal River in the north and the Orange River in the south, the region is one of flat, rolling grassland and crop fields, rising to lovely sandstone mountains in the northeast.
With only 1.4% of South Africa's land area, the tiny province of Gauteng punches way above its weight, contributing around 34% to the national economy and some 7% to the GDP of the entire African continent.
The garden province of South Africa, KwaZulu-Natal is a subtropical region of lush and well-watered valleys, washed by the warm Indian Ocean. A popular tourist destination, the province stretches from Port Edward in the south to the borders of Swaziland and Mozambique to the north.
Limpopo is South Africa's northernmost province, lying within the great curve of the Limpopo River. It is a region of contrasts, from true bushveld country to majestic mountains, primeval indigenous forests, the giant Kruger National Park game reserve - and South Africa's lost city of gold.
Mpumalanga - "the place where the sun rises" - is a province with spectacular scenic beauty and an abundance of wildlife, lying in the northeast of South Africa.
The vast and arid Northern Cape is by far the largest province, slightly bigger than Germany and taking up nearly a third of South Africa's land area. Yet it has the country's smallest population, around 1-million people, and an extremely roomy population density of three people per square kilometre.
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