|Geography and Climate
South Africa is at the southern tip of the continent of Africa. Area - comparative: slightly less than twice the size of Texas. Total land boundary is 4,750 km, border countries: Botswana 1,840 km, Lesotho 909 km, Mozambique 491 km, Namibia 855 km, Swaziland 430 km, Zimbabwe 225 km.
Climate is mostly semiarid; subtropical along east coast; sunny days, cool nights. Terrain consists of vast interior plateau rimmed by rugged hills and narrow coastal plain. Elevation extreme has the lowest point in Atlantic Ocean 0 m and highest point in Njesuthi 3,408 m. Natural resources are gold, chromium, antimony, coal, iron ore, manganese, nickel, phosphates, tin, uranium, gem diamonds, platinum, copper, vanadium, salt, natural gas. Land use: arable land: 10%, permanent crops: 1%, permanent pastures: 67%, forests and woodland: 7%, other: 15% (1993 est.). Irrigated land: 12,700 sq km (1993 est.). Natural hazards are prolonged droughts.
Environment—current issues: lack of important arterial rivers or lakes requires extensive water conservation and control measures; growth in water usage threatens to outpace supply; pollution of rivers from agricultural runoff and urban discharge; air pollution resulting in acid rain; soil erosion; desertification.
Geography—note: South Africa completely surrounds Lesotho and almost completely surrounds Swaziland.
Ref. Anonymous, 1999