"Different people unite" - this is how the slogan of this unusual state sounds. This phrase perfectly explains the history and essence of the country called South Africa. Where is it? How is it arranged? What interesting sights are on its territory?
The South African Republic is an amazing conglomeration of cultures, traditions and nationalities with a complex history of its formation. The country is located on the southern tip of the African continent, fully justifying its modern name. On the area - 1,2 million km2 -it can be attributed to the largest states of Africa.
The capital of the Republic of South Africa (main) is the city of Pretoria with a population of 740 million people. Although with the capitals in this state everything is not so simple. However, about this - later ...
South Africa (the South African Republic - the full official name) borders on five states: Mozambique, Swaziland, Zimbabwe, Namibia and Botswana. In addition, within its territory is located also an enclave - the state of Lesotho. In the south, the country has an extensive access to the World Ocean.
South Africa is one of the most prosperous and developed countries in Africa. This is the only state of the "black continent" that is part of G20, the international club of the world's leading economies. The Embassy of the Republic of South Africa is in Moscow (address: Granatny pereulok, 1). By the way, getting a South African visa is not so easy. The package of documents that must be provided to the embassy is practically the same as the British one.
Beautiful virgin nature and inimitable landscapes in picturesque - this is what attracts tourists to the South African Republic. A photo of one of the corners of the country, presented below, will not make anyone doubt this.
The country is distinguished by a great variety of terrain. In the east and south, mountain landscapes predominate (the Cape, the Dragon Mountains). Here is the highest point of South Africa - Mount Jesuti (3410 meters). In the interior of the country, the plateau-like surface (wolda) predominates, which gradually turns into the vast Namib desert. In general, the diversity of landscapes and natural conditions - this is exactly the kind that the Republic of South Africa boasts.
The climate of the country is also very diverse. So, in the southwest of South Africa it has the features of the Mediterranean, in the extreme east - subtropical, and in the interior regions - extremely arid. Air temperatures can vary within very wide limits: from -10 ...- 15 ° C in the Eastern Cape in winter to + 40 ... 45 ° C in the Kalahari area.
South Africa occupies one of the first places in the world in terms of the number of protected areas. The nature in this country is really treated very carefully. Nevertheless, actual environmental problems in the South African Republic still exist. In particular, the food problem, the problem of land degradation and pollution of coastal sea waters is extremely acute here.
The history of the Republic of South Africa, like that of any other African state, is closely linked to European colonization. It began in the middle of the XVII century, the Dutch. Then the battalion was intercepted by the British, having conquered the country at the beginning of the XIX century. Local residents of Dutch origin (Boers) at the same time were forced into the interior of the territory. There they founded their own states: the Transvaal and the Orange Republic. Later, the British and the Boers actively fought each other on the lands of the future South Africa.
In May 1910, the South African Union was formed, which was still dependent on Britain. His independence he received only in 1961 year.
In the middle of the twentieth century, the country enters a difficult and unpleasant period of its history, which was called "apartheid." To power in 1948 came the right-wing National Party, which immediately began to implement a strict policy of restricting rights for the black population. "South Africa - for whites!" - this was the slogan of this political force.
Gradually blacks in South Africa were deprived of elementary democratic rights and freedoms. They were forbidden to marry whites, participate in elections, and even the freedom of their movement was substantially restricted. The ruling party did not react in any way to threats and sanctions from the UN and continued its policy. Of course, all this provoked the country's mass riots and protests, the ideological leader of which was Nelson Mandela. It was only in 1989 that newly elected President Frederic de Klerk began to break the apartheid system. However, its consequences are felt even today. In particular, millions of blacks in South Africa still suffer from poverty and do not have a good education.
In South Africa, there are about 50 million people. According to this indicator, the country occupies an honorable 26 place on the planet. The virus of immunodeficiency infected 5,7 million of this number, which is an extremely acute problem for the state. Blacks in South Africa are about 79%, and whites - no more than 9%. At the same time, the number of the latter is gradually decreasing due to outflows to the more prosperous countries of the world (USA, Netherlands, Australia).
The income of South Africans is approaching the average values for the world. However, the state suffers from a colossal gap between the rich (about 10% of the population) and the poor (more than 50%). Unemployment and high crime are two more acute problems of the modern republic.
The form of government of the Republic of South Africa is represented by a classical parliamentary republic. The country's parliament consists of two chambers and has 490 deputies.
Until 1994, South Africa was a federation, but today the state is unitary. The republic consists of nine provinces, which are very different in size of their territories.
The law enforcement system of the Republic of South Africa is supervised by a special Ministry of Police, which is currently headed by Natie Mtetwa. The task of the national police also includes the implementation of anti-terrorist operations. This is done by special groups, which, at one time, were formed from detachments fighting with black guerrillas (opponents of the policy of apartheid). Members of these groups undergo very strict selection and are trained according to Israeli methods.
The South African Armed Forces were officially created in 1994 and include maritime, land and air forces. There is no appeal in the republic, the national defense forces are completed exclusively at the expense of contractors. The country annually allocates to the army about 1,7% of its revenues from GDP. In this indicator, South Africa occupies 87 place in the world.
In 1961, a state was formed - the Republic of South Africa. The currency of the new country was born then. Its name is South African rand (code - ZAR). Before that, in the era of dependence on Britain, the South African pound used to travel across the country.
The currency of South Africa is represented by banknotes and coins. One rand is broken up into 100 cents. Curiously, before 1973, South Africa used a half-cent coin. Today there are only five paper banknotes in circulation (worth 10, 20, 50, 100, 200 rand) with a very interesting design. On the obverse you can see a portrait of the national hero of the country - Nelson Mandela, and on the reverse depict typical animals of South African nature (leopard, lion, rhinoceros, elephant and buffalo).
Like any other state, South Africa has its own national symbols. The republic has its own anthem ("God Bless Africa"), the coat of arms and the flag, as well as the motto ("Different people unite").
The modern coat of arms of the Republic of South Africa was approved in 2000. It is a golden shield with a red border, which shows two people greeting each other. Behind the shield there are wheat ears, and above it there is a spear, a mace, a multicolor pectoral and a bird secretary with spread wings. From below the coat of arms is framed by elephant tusks and a green ribbon, on which the motto of the state is whitewashed with white letters.
Absolutely everything in the coat of arms of South Africa has its meaning and meaning. So, the bird-secretary symbolizes rapid growth and development, a spear with a mace - protection from enemies, elephant tusks - wisdom and strength. The people depicted in the greeting pose are a symbol of unity that is so necessary for the republic, and wheat ears serve as an emblem of fertility and prosperity.
The flag of the Republic of South Africa is also symbolic. It was approved in April 1994 year. It is interesting that at least 7 thousand different variants took part in the contest! The adopted and legalized flag is multicolored and symbolizes at the same time the multiracial nature of the country and its modern democratic character.
On the flag of South Africa, you can see six different colors: red (the color of the English-speaking population), blue (Boers), black (black), yellow (Indians), white (all other "white" inhabitants) and green (other "colored" races) .
In state institutions, educational institutions of South Africa, it is customary to raise the flag of their country before the start of the working day and drop it after its termination. If the banners of other states or organizations are set next, the flag of the Republic of South Africa must necessarily be the largest one.
South Africa is a promising country for full-fledged recreation. Every year the number of foreigners
h tourists here only increases. Of the cities they are most attracted by Johannesburg and Pretoria, which have long merged into a single metropolis. It is the most famous cultural center of the country - the "Market-Fiche" complex. Here there are theaters, galleries, various art exhibitions and themed restaurants. And in the evenings all tourists flock to the Garden of Oppenheimer - an unusually cozy and romantic place.
There is in South Africa and its Las Vegas - this is the city of Sun City with an abundance of bars, casinos and nightlife. Interesting and very colorful city of Durban. Here travelers travel to sunbathe on beautiful beaches and to walk around exotic local bazaars. In other words, the tourism potential is very high, which is owned by a beautiful and multifaceted South African Republic.
Sights of anthropogenic (cultural) origin of South Africa can not be compared with its main attraction - nature. In this unique country, the deserts coexist with subtropical natural complexes, and the local flora and fauna are simply unique. In addition, South Africans themselves are very careful about their natural wealth. The first national park here was founded back in the century before last!
Of course, European colonization did not bring anything good to this land. The active development of mining and farming greatly disturbed local animals, violating their habitual way of life. But today the fauna of South Africa can be seen in dozens of reserves and national parks, where for wild animals all conditions for a normal existence are created.
20 National Parks exists today in the Republic of South Africa. In addition, the country has many protected areas (some of them are integrated into a single system with parks of neighboring countries of Botswana and Zimbabwe).
Kruger, Pilanesberg, Eddo and Tsitsikama are the most famous national parks in South Africa. It is impossible to imagine a visiting tourist who would not have visited one of these sites. From the landscape point of view, the most interesting is Pilanesberg Park, because it is located at the junction of two natural zones - the savannah and the Kalahari Desert. In the center of the protected area is a beautiful lake. In the park itself, no less than five thousand species of animals live.
The Eddo National Park was created specifically to keep the eleven remaining elephants in the Western Cape. But now there are more than 300 individuals there. Tsitsikama is the first marine park in the whole of Africa. It is located on the coast of the Indian Ocean and stretches for 80 kilometers.
In addition to state, there are also private reserves in South Africa. They are called here by games. Founders of private reserves often build small and cozy hotels on their territory for their guests.
The most popular among tourists national park in South Africa is Kruger. The area of the park is simply enormous: on its territory could fit the whole of Israel or Luxembourg. Tourists come here mainly to see the so-called Big Five of African animals: a lion, a leopard, an elephant, a rhino and a buffalo (these animals adorn the bills of the South African currency).
The world's largest national park was established in 1898 (founder - former President Paulo Kruger). As we see, the protection of the natural environment in South Africa was already practiced at that time. In the modern park Kruger there is all necessary infrastructure for tourists. There are hotels, shops, restaurants, swimming pools and places for picnics.
You can rent a car in Kruger Park. However, traveling around the area in the dark is strictly prohibited. In addition, one should also remember the rules of personal safety, because some of the animals can even attack the car. It is also forbidden to feed the inhabitants of the park.
Due to the unusual relief, in South Africa there are many beautiful and large waterfalls. The most famous of them are Tugela, Houic and Augebis.
Tugela is the second highest waterfall on the planet. It consists of five natural levels (ledges). The total height of the fall of water is 947 meters. At the same time, the width of the waterfall is only 16 meters.
Forty kilometers from the Tugela Falls is located
the town of Bergville. Here you can stop and prepare to visit the amazing miracle of South African nature. The transition to the waterfall is long and difficult. Prepared tourists will be able to overcome it for 5-6 hours. On the way to the waterfall you can see strange representatives of the local fauna, swim in the clear waters of Tugela and enjoy the stunning scenery. It is worthwhile to be prepared for the fact that in some places one has to climb narrow ladders and overcome rather serious obstacles in the form of boulders or trunks of fallen trees.
The real miracle of the African continent are the Drakensberg Mountains. The creator pretty much tried, working on this natural masterpiece. It is worth noting that in appearance they are somewhat reminiscent of the Crimean mountains familiar to all of us. However, they are much larger and larger in area.
The name of the mountain range is more than suitable. Bushmen since ancient times believed that in these mountains there are real fire-breathing dragons. By the way, the pillars of smoke above them can be seen quite often. But this is by no means a pair of nostrils from huge mythical animals, but simply the consequences of fires of mountain dried grasses under the scorching sun.
The Drakensberg mountains stretched for almost a thousand kilometers. The ridge is very rich in various minerals. Here, gold, tin, platinum, and coal are mined. On the slopes of the mountains endemic species of plants grow, which you will not find in any other corner of the planet. But the main attraction of this area is amazing and fabulous panoramas, which you can admire here endlessly. Perhaps, that is why part of the Drakensberg Mountains is taken under the protection of UNESCO.
Here you can see a wide variety of landscapes: arrays of rain forests, and impenetrable thickets of dry thorny bushes, and mountain grass meadows of alpine type. It's just amazing how all this nature could fit on such a small piece of land! No less impressive is the fact that this mountain range in winter is completely covered by snow.
In the Drakensberg mountains, many tourists are attracted by the Ukashlamba Drakensberg National Park, located two hours' drive from the city of Durban. Here all conditions for travelers are created: hotels, camping sites and wooden terraces, from which it is very comfortable to admire the South African nature, listen to the singing of local birds. Here you can try delicious dishes of national cuisine or taste delicious wines. They will find classes for themselves and active tourists. The park is ready to offer its guests to play golf, walk on horseback with a guide, or to catch trout in one of the mountain lakes.
South Africa is a true country of contrasts. Here, poverty adjoins an unprecedented luxury, and wild untouched nature - with modern megacities. Finally, we offer you a few more interesting and unusual facts about this amazing country:
South Africa is a young country in southern Africa, with a difficult history and good prospects for development. This is one of the most prosperous countries on the continent. For tourists, it is also very interesting and attractive. There are already three capitals, 11 official languages and a lot of reserved territories and objects. South Africa is also famous for its wonderful nature, clean water and very tasty wine.