Trade Union Forum


General overview

The Republic of South Africa (RSA) is a country located in the south of the African continent. It is bounded by the Atlantic Ocean to the west and by the Indian Ocean to the east.

The republic is divided into 7 geographical areas. These include the Central Plateau, the Great Escarpment (a 2,250 km long mountain arc), Namaqualand (an arid area in the west of the country), the Southern, South-Eastern and Cape coastal areas, and the Transvaal Low Veld. The terrain of the country is characterized by the presence of a large number of hills, depressions and plains, as well as low mountain ranges. The eastern coast is dominated by savanna and fringe forests along the rivers; subtropical forests and scrublands dominate the southern coast. The inner regions are occupied by the Kalahari Desert savanna, semi-scrubland, and Karroo Desert.

The country has rich mineral resources and is considered the most economically developed country in Africa. The Republic of South Africa has rich reserves of manganese, platinum metals, gold, chromites, tungsten, vanadium and zirconium. Coal mining is well developed – South Africa ranks 3rd in the world in terms of the use of coal for electricity production. The country has extensive reserves of diamonds, asbestos, nickel, lead, uranium and other minerals.

The area of the country is 1,223,404 square kilometers.

The length of the coastline is 2,798 km.

National borders

The total length of South Africa's land borders is 4,862 km.

The country has borders with 7 countries:

  • Botswana (1,840 km);
  • Namibia (967 km);
  • Lesotho (909 km), the country is an enclave completely surrounded by the territory of South Africa;
  • Mozambique (491 km);
  • Swaziland (438 km);
  • Zimbabwe (225 km).


In the southwestern part of the country, the climate is Mediterranean; in the central part it is temperate; in the north-east – subtropical. There are warm, sunny days and cold nights. The main precipitation falls in the summer (from November to March), and in winter in the south-west (from June to August). The average monthly temperatures in some areas exceed +32°C in summer and reach +38°C in the north of the country. Negative temperatures are found in the mountains at high altitudes in winter; the average temperature in winter is about +15°C.