SOUTH AFRICA, a country for traveling
After many years of being isolated, the world is discovering Africa beyond politics and gold: the natural beauty of its landscapes, the mixture of cultures, fine wines and foods that please the traveler. The possibility of observing the fauna and abundant flora, The conditions of very comfortable accommodation make this country an ideal destination. If you are interested in ecotourism with 3000 km of coastline with white sandy beaches, mountains, grasslands, forests with lots of activities for the more adventurous, here you find what you are looking for.
In South Africa there are also sophisticated cities with the twenty-first century technology, living with remote villages, where time has stopped. Cultural diversity is unique, European ancestry is mixed with the traditions and legends of Africa along the eastern mysticism.
There are evidences that this part of the world was the cradle of humanity, fossils found in the caves of Sterkfontein and Kromdraai, show that the prehistoric ancestors of Homo Sapiens lived here for over 3 million years ago. By the year 1000 BC, South Africa was populated by some hunters and collectors, the Khoisan Stone Age.
Bantu farmers and ranchers down Central African definitely settled in the region since 1200. These more advanced populations displaced the Khoisan, resident hunter-gatherer older.
- In 1488 the Portuguese navigator Bartolomeu Dias crosses the Cape for the first time and opens a new sea route between Europe and the East. In 1652 the Dutchman Jan Van Riebeck establishes a permanent post provisioning the Cape of Good Hope for the Dutch East India Company.
- In 1910 the Union of South Africa was established.
- In 1948 the National Party wins general elections implementing policies that would be known as apartheid, harsh racist laws that segregated the country.
- In 1990 the National Party government lifts the ban on the African National Congress and other left-wing political institutions and frees Nelson Mandela after 27 years in prison. The apartheid legislation is gradually withdrawn.
- In 1994 was celebrated the first multiracial elections. The ANC won an absolute majority and at present is in power.
South Africa is located at the southern tip of the African continent. The country is divided into nine provinces, covering an area of 1,219.099 square kilometers, twice the size of France.
The coast stretches over 2.945 kilometers, west the cold Atlantic Ocean and the east temperate Indian Ocean. The coasts with golden sandy beaches and white sands in the eastern part, are surrounded by forests and deserts in west.
In South Africa, there are 11 official languages, but the two main ones are from European origin: English is the official language used as a medium for the vast majority of South Africans and Afrikaners, the Dutch derivatives, is used by the Boers and by mestizos, and other languages.
There are at least 20 ethnic groups. This cultural diversity has enriched the music, arts, crafts and cuisine, resulting in a very creative and pluralistic society. The predominant religion is Catholic, but traditional African religions, Islam and Hinduism are also practiced.
In the early twenty-first century, the population was about 45 million: of which 75% Black and 14% of whites. The rest, mostly mestizos and Asian part.
South Africa is the true economic force in Africa, reaching 28% of PIB of the continent. Also dominates in terms of infrastructure and financial sectors, finding its banking system among the most developed in the world 10. Industrial sectors and financial modern are supported by power signals, transport networks and an advanced system of highly sophisticated telecommunications.
In the past the South African economy was based on mining and agriculture. Today the industry and financial services are the most important sectors, each contributing more than double the mining GNP. However, the mineral wealth of the country is vital for the economy and both the mining and minerals still account for 30% of foreign exchange earnings.
The animals are about 30 national parks and private reserves nameless. Therefore, the country protects the last major population in the world of black and white rhino. It is also the best place to see the Big Five. Elephant, rhino, buffalo, lion and leopard.
The reserves are located in diverse habitats ranging from dunes to subtropical forests. The Kruger National Park is home to more species of wildlife than any other park on the continent.
The rich flora of South Africa is 10% of the total number of species existing in the world. With 22,000 species has more than the United States. A mix of tropical and temperate climates produced five major habitat types: fynbos, forest, Karoo, grassland and savannah.
The country has more than 900 bird species, of which more than half are in the Kruger National Park. Nylsvlei offers one of the most extraordinary places in the world for bird watching.
8% of the species of birds are found in South Africa.