Geography of south africa for kids

South Africa is the southernmost country on the African continent. It has a long history of conflict and human rights issues, but it has always been one of the most economically prosperous nations in southern Africa due to its coastal location and the presence of gold, diamonds, and natural resources.

By the 14th century CE, the region was settled by the Bantu people who migrated from central Africa. However, permanent settlement didn't occur until when the Dutch East India Company established a small station for provisions on the Cape. In the following years, French, Dutch, and German settlers began to arrive in the region.

By the late s, European settlements were spread throughout the Cape and by the end of the 18th century, the British controlled the entire Cape of Good Hope region. In the early s, in an effort to escape British rule, many native farmers called Boers migrated north, and in andthe Boers created the independent Republics of the Transvaal and Orange Free State.

geography of south africa for kids

After the discovery of diamonds and gold in the late s, more European immigrants arrived in South Africa and this eventually led to the Anglo-Boer Warswhich the British won, causing the republics to become part of the British Empire.

In Maythough, the two republics and Britain formed the Union of South Africa, a self-governing territory of the British Empire, and inthe South African Native National Congress eventually called the African National Congress or ANC was founded with the goal of providing blacks in the region with more freedom.

Despite the ANC in an election inthe National Party won and began passing laws enforcing a policy of racial separation called apartheid.

In the early s, the ANC was banned and Nelson Mandela and other anti-apartheid leaders were convicted of treason and imprisoned. InSouth Africa became a republic after it withdrew from the British Commonwealth because of international protests against apartheid and in a constitution was put into effect.

In FebruaryPresident F. Four years later on May 10,Mandela was elected as South Africa 's first black president and during his time in office he was committed to reforming race-relations in the country and strengthening its economy and place in the world. This has remained the goal of subsequent governmental leaders. Today, South Africa is a republic with two legislative bodies.

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Its executive branch is its Chief of State and Head of Government—both of which are filled by the president, who is elected for five-year terms by the National Assembly. The legislative branch is a bicameral Parliament composed of the National Council of the Provinces and the National Assembly.

South Africa has a growing market economy with a plethora of natural resources. Gold, platinum, and precious stones such as diamonds account for nearly half of South Africa's exports. Auto assembly, textiles, iron, steel, chemicals, and commercial ship repair also play a role in the country's economy.

In addition, agriculture and agricultural exports are significant to South Africa. South Africa is divided into three major geographic regions. The first is the African Plateau in the country's interior. It forms a portion of the Kalahari Basin and is semiarid and sparsely populated. It slopes gradually in the north and west but rises to 6, feet 2, meters in the east. The second region is the Great Escarpment. Its terrain varies but its highest peaks are in the Drakensberg Mountains along the border with Lesotho.

geography of south africa for kids

The third region consists of the narrow, fertile valleys along the coastal plains. The climate of South Africa is mostly semiarid, but its eastern coastal regions are subtropical with mainly sunny days and cool nights.

South Africa's west coast is arid because the cold ocean current Benguela removes moisture from the region, which formed the Namib Desert that extends into Namibia. In addition to its varied topography, South Africa is famous for its biodiversity.However, white people controlled the government until South Africa has a long coastline on the Atlantic and Indian oceans.

South Africa also surrounds the tiny kingdom of Lesotho. Most of South Africa is a plateau, or raised flat area. Mountains separate the high plateau from lower plains along the coast. The highest mountain range is the Drakensbergin the east. The Kalahari and Namib deserts cover parts of the west. The main rivers in South Africa are the Orange and the Limpopo. Most of South Africa has a dry climate with warm summers and cool winters. Drought is a common problem. Grasslands with scattered trees cover much of South Africa.

Many types of flowering plants grow in the southwest. The dry parts of the west have shrubs and bushes that can survive with little rain. South Africa has limited numbers of lions, elephants, rhinoceroses, hippopotamuses, and antelope. They belong to a number of groups, including the Zulu and the Xhosa. Each of the African groups has its own language.

Geography and History of South Africa

South Africa has three main minority groups: people of European descent, people of mixed ancestry, and people of Asian descent. The people of European descent speak either Afrikaans a language related to Dutch or English. The English speakers have mainly British ancestors. The people of mixed descent have African, Asian, and European roots.

The ancestors of the people of Asian descent came mainly from India.Vredefort Dome near Johannesburg is the site of the largest and oldest meteorite impact on Earth.

In the late 20th century South Africa began a tremendous transformation. South Africa had an institutionalized policy of racial segregation and economic and political discrimination against its black, mixed-race, and Asian citizens.

Population est. After a long struggle, pressure from the antiapartheid movement within the country and international censure, economic sanctions, and boycotts convinced the government to begin easing some of the apartheid laws in the mids. A new administration repealed the remainder of the discriminatory laws in the early s. South Africa has three capitals. Pretoria is the executive capital, Bloemfontein the judicial capital, and Cape Town the legislative capital. South Africa is bordered by Namibia to the northwest, Botswana and Zimbabwe to the north, and Mozambique and Eswatini formerly Swaziland to the northeast and east.

Lesothoan independent country, is entirely surrounded by South African territory. The rock underlying most of the country—called the Karoo System—is at least million years old.

The only fold mountains are in the southern tip, near Cape Town. Most of the country is a saucerlike plateau. The plateau slopes downward from elevations of more than 8, feet 2, meters in east to about 2, feet meters in the the west. The central part of the plateau, called the Highveld, reaches between 4, and 6, feet 1, and 1, meters in elevation.

A mountainous ridge called the Great Escarpment separates the plateau from a narrow coastal strip. Running from the northeast to the southwest, it features scenery of great beauty. The Drakensberg, a range within the Great Escarpment, rises to heights of more than 11, feet 3, meters along the border between KwaZulu-Natal province and Lesotho.

Smaller mountain ranges south of the escarpment are separated by dry basins called the Great Karoo and the Little Karoo. The sandy Kalahari Desert occupies the northernmost part of Northern Cape province. South Africa has few perennial rivers and no significant natural lakes.

South Africa for Kids

Parts of even the largest rivers—the Orange, the Vaal, the Limpopo, and the Tugela—dry up when rainfall is scarce. Water supplies for both town and country must be carefully planned.

Hundreds of dams have been built on all major rivers. They are part of the Orange River Project, a series of dams, canals, and tunnels that stores and distributes water for irrigation and provides hydroelectric power.

South Africa Country Geography/South Africa

Almost all of South Africa lies within the temperate climate zone, and extremes of heat and cold are rare. The climate is strongly influenced by the oceans that surround the country on three sides. Along the Atlantic coast the cold, northward-flowing Benguela Current cools the air and thus causes fog. Most of the country is dry, though the east receives more rainfall than the west. Grasses cover much of South Africa. The central Highveld is dominated by tall red grass named for its color in winter with scattered trees.

The dry savanna of the north favors red grass and other drought-resistant grasses, with acacia and baobab trees. As rainfall decreases to the west, there are thorny trees, then thin grasses and scrub bushes, and ultimately the sparsely covered Kalahari Desert and the bare Namib Desert. In the southwest, Western Cape province has a distinct vegetation of grasses, shrubs, and trees able to withstand the long, dry summers. East of the Great Escarpment, subtropical forests have been displaced by grassland, farmland, and exotic trees, such as wattle and eucalyptus.

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Natural forest survives only in mountainous valleys along the Great Escarpment and in a few other places, in particular the Knysna area of the southern coast.South Africa occupies the southern tip of Africaits coastline stretching more than 2, kilometres 1, miles from the desert border with Namibia on the Atlantic western coast southwards around the tip of Africa and then northeast to the border with Mozambique on the Indian Ocean.

The low-lying coastal zone is narrow for much of that distance, soon giving way to a mountainous escarpment Great Escarpment that separates the coast from the high inland plateau.

In some places, notably the province of KwaZulu-Natal in the east, a greater distance separates the coast from the escarpment. Although most of the country is classified as semi-aridit has considerable variation in climate as well as topography. The South African central plateau contains only two major rivers: the Limpopo a stretch of which is shared with Zimbabweand the Orange with its tributary, the Vaal which runs with a variable flow across the central landscape from east to west, emptying into the Atlantic Ocean at the Namibian border.

The eastern and southern coastal regions are drained by numerous shorter rivers. In such a dry country, dams and irrigation are extremely important: the largest dam is the Gariep on the Orange River. Like much of the African continent south of the Sahara, South Africa's landscape is dominated by a high Central Plateau surrounded by coastal lowlands. This edge of the plateau, as the land drops sharply to the coastal plain, forms a very high, steep escarpment known as the Drakensberg Mountains.

The southern and western extents of the escarpment are not so high as Drakensberg, but also are known by a wide variety of local names, all termed "mountains" or "berge" in Afrikaansin spite of being parts of an escarpment whose top is the central plateau, such as Groenberg Mountain.

From the coastal plain the escarpment does, however, look like a range of mountains, hence the names. The portion of the Great Escarpment that could be designated a "mountain" is where it forms the international border between KwaZulu-Natal and Lesotho. The Lesotho Highlands form a localized high spot on the Central Plateau. Only a small patch of this lava remains and covers much of Lesotho. It has been deeply eroded by the tributaries of the Orange River which drain these highlands towards the south-west i.

This gives this high region its very rugged, mountainous appearance. The rivers which drain the plateau therefore run west, ultimately, via the Orange River, into the Atlantic Ocean. North of the Witwatersrandwhere the land starts to slope down towards the north, the drainage is into the Limpopo River and from there into the Indian Ocean.

Numerous relatively small rivers drain the area, being more numerous in the KwaZulu-Natal and Eastern Midlands regions, where they arise on the well watered slopes of the high escarpment, than elsewhere. In the west there are very few such rivers because of the aridity of the region.

In the south and south-west the coastal plain contains a series of mountain ranges that run parallel to the coastline. The right angle of the "L" occurs in the south-western corner of the country, just inland from the Cape Peninsula and Cape Town. In the west they are separated from the coast by a pronounced coastal plain. The floors of the long valleys between the parallel mountains ranges consist of fertile soils composed of weathered mudstones belonging to the Bokkeveld Group of the Cape Supergroup[3] as opposed to the nutrient-poor, sandy soils on the quartzitic sandstone mountains, on either side of the valleys.

However, the rainfall is, in general, low, bordering on the semiarid or frankly semiarid in, for instance, the Little Karoo. Agriculture, which includes viniculture and fruit-growing, therefore depends on irrigation from rivers with sources in the mountains, which are frequently covered in snow during winter.

The Little Karoo is famous for its ostrich farming, initially, in the late s, for their feathers, but today includes ostrich leather and ostrich meat, which is very lean and particularly tasty.

Geologically and geographically the Cape Fold Mountains and the Great Escarpment are quite different and independent entities.

South Africa's coastline is remarkably smooth, with very few natural harbours. In contrast, a subsiding coastline, like Norway's, tends to become deeply indented where the sea has flooded old river gorges and glacial valleys.South Africa is mostly covered by a plateau that drops in elevation from the east about 2, m to west about m. In the west, it gives way to the Kalahari Desert.

The central part of the plateau is called the Highveld and has elevations ranging from 1, to 1,m. The Drakensberg, marked on the map above, is another major geographical feature of the country. It is the eastern part of the Great Escarpment enclosing the plateau land to the north.

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The region hosts South Africa's highest peak, the 3, m tall Mafadi located on the border between South Africa and Lesotho. Most of the 2,km coastline rises steeply from the coast with elevations rising further inland. Table Mountain is a notable geographical landmark in South Africa. It is a flat-topped mountain that is part of the Table Mountain National Park. It overlooks the city of Cape Town and attracts many visitors.

Many other rivers also crisscross the country. Cape of Good Hope and Cape Agulhas of South Africa are two notable capes in the country and can be observed on the map above. The former is the meeting point of the warm Agulhas current and the cold Benguela current creating extreme weather events and choppy seas.

The latter hosts the southernmost tip of mainland Africa. South Africa also has several islands. South Africa is divided into nine provinces as shown on the political map above. The provinces are further divided into metropolitan and district municipalities. The latter is further sectioned into local municipalities.

geography of south africa for kids

All municipalities are divided int still smaller units called wards. With an area ofsq. The country has three capital cities. Pretoria, Cape Town, and Bloemfontein served as the executive, legislative, and judicial capitals of the country respectively. Johannesburg is the country's largest city. Africa's southernmost country, South Africa, is located in the Southern and Eastern Hemispheres of the world.

It is also the Eastern Hemisphere's southernmost mainland country. South Africa shares a border with six countries. It surrounds the enclaved country of Lesotho. Namibia, Zimbabwe, and Botswana border it to the north. Mozambique and Eswatini border it to the east and northeast, respectively. Regional Maps : Map of Africa. The blank outline map represents mainland South Africa. The country also has several oceanic islands thats cannot be observed on this map.These lands are covered with rolling grasslands, called highveldand tree-dotted plains, called bushveld.

To the east, south and west of the plateau lands is a mountainous region called the Great Escarpment. It might sound strange, but did you know South Africa has another country within its borders? Nestled in the Drakensberg is the mountainous kingdom of Lesotho.

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From aardvarks to zebras, South Africa is bursting with wonderful wildlife! The seas around South Africa are also full of incredible creatures — in fact, around 2, marine species visit South African waters at some point during the year. Every June, millions of sardines travel up the east coast, creating a phenomenal feeding frenzy for thousands of hungry sharks, dolphins and birds!

South Africa works hard to preserve its wildlife. There are dozens of protected land and marine areas, including the famous Kruger National Park in the north, as well as nearly 9, privately-owned game reserves throughout the country.

In northern South Africa near Johannesburg lies a cave formation called the Sterkfontein. Within these caves, archaeologists have uncovered some of the earliest human fossils ever found — some are more than two million years old! About 24, years ago, tribes of hunter-gatherers known as the San, or Bushmen, began moving into South Africa. In the s, European ships heading to the Far East began stopping on the South African coast for supplies.

Inthe Netherlands established the southern city of Cape Townand Dutch farmers, called Boersbegan settling in the areas around the city.

Inwars in Europe left the British in control of the Cape Town colony. Inthe British united four colonies in the region and created South Africa. They established laws that separated whites from black South Africans, a practice of segregation called apartheidwhich led to decades of conflict.

Inafter 27 years behind bars, Mandela was freed by President F. That same year, apartheid was officially abolished. Many different peoples make up South Africa, each with their own language and history. The country has 11 official languages, and many more unofficial languages.

South Africans are passionate about music, often using song and dance to express social and political ideas. All other pictures: Getty Images UK. While you wait for it to be checked and approved why not to add a pre-selected message and a cool badge.

Wow this is amazing facts! My dad is South african and he speaks afrikaans. You really need to edit that.

Geography of South Africa

I never knew such amazing wildlife lived in South Africa. Thanks for letting me know NGKs. Necessary cookies are absolutely essential for the website to function properly. This category only includes cookies that ensures basic functionalities and security features of the website. These cookies do not store any personal information. Any cookies that may not be particularly necessary for the website to function and is used specifically to collect user personal data via analytics, ads, other embedded contents are termed as non-necessary cookies.

It is mandatory to procure user consent prior to running these cookies on your website. Ask a parent or guardian to check it out first and remember to stay safe online. See all. South Africa facts! Discover the wonders of this incredible country!They move in small herds during winter, but often crowd together in bigger herds in summer. They eat both grass and leaves and can go without drinking water, because they get enough moisture from the succulent leaves.

Where drinking water is available they will use it. Springbuck stand 75 cm high and weigh about 40 kg. Our studies of Africa include units on the following countries:EgyptKenyaMoroccoNigeriaSouth AfricaTanzaniaBelow I have included links to the printables for each country as well as links for our favorite books and resources, along with blog posts that provide some great websites to help you in your study of that country.

We took three weeks to study the country of Egypt and focused quite a bit on mummies and pyramids. Egypt is such a HUGE country to study with amazing history that could last for an entire year, and we only tapped into a little bit of what we could have. The School System A child may begin schooling with grade 0 also called reception, or grade-R from the age of four. Grades 11 and 12, Further Education and Training FETare non-compulsory; qualification at this level with a matriculation certificate is required to enter tertiary education.

South African Kids. The term was intended to encapsulate the unity of multi-culturalism and the coming-together of people of many different nations, in a country once identified with a strict division of white and black. Africa is the world's second-largest and second most-populous continent after Asia. South Africa is located at the southern tip of Africa and is the 25th-largest country in the world.

It is possible for same sex as well as heterosexual couples to get married under the Civil Union Act, It is not possible for a couple to marry under both Acts. There is no fee and no residency requirement to get married in South Africa.

A marriage may only be solemnised by authorised marriage officers; these include magistrates, special justices of the peace, ministers of religion designated by the Minister of Home Affairs, and Commissioners.

Marriage Requirements.


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