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South Africa: Geography

Geography South Africa
Location:
Southern Africa, at the southern tip of the continent of Africa
Geographic coordinates:
29 00 S, 24 00 E
Map references:
Africa
Area:
total: 1,219,912 sq km
land: 1,219,912 sq km
note: includes Prince Edward Islands (Marion Island and Prince Edward Island)
water: 0 sq km
Area - comparative:
slightly less than twice the size of Texas
Land boundaries:
total: 4,862 km
border countries: Botswana 1,840 km, Lesotho 909 km, Mozambique 491 km, Namibia 967 km, Swaziland 430 km, Zimbabwe 225 km
Coastline:
2,798 km
Maritime claims:
contiguous zone: 24 NM
territorial sea: 12 NM
continental shelf: 200 NM or to edge of the continental margin
exclusive economic zone: 200 NM
Climate:
mostly semiarid; subtropical along east coast; sunny days, cool nights
Terrain:
vast interior plateau rimmed by rugged hills and narrow coastal plain
Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Atlantic Ocean 0 m
highest point: Njesuthi 3,408 m
Natural resources:
gold, chromium, antimony, coal, iron ore, manganese, nickel, phosphates, tin, uranium, gem diamonds, platinum, copper, vanadium, salt, natural gas
Land use:
arable land: 12.13%
permanent crops: 0.77%
other: 87.1% (1998 est.)
Irrigated land:
13,500 sq km (1998 est.)
Natural hazards:
prolonged droughts
Environment - current issues:
lack of important arterial rivers or lakes requires extensive water conservation and control measures; growth in water usage outpacing supply; pollution of rivers from agricultural runoff and urban discharge; air pollution resulting in acid rain; soil erosion; desertification
Environment - international agreements:
party to: Antarctic-Environmental Protocol, Antarctic-Marine Living Resources, Antarctic Seals, Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Marine Life Conservation, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands, Whaling
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
Geography - note:
South Africa completely surrounds Lesotho and almost completely surrounds Swaziland

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Source: The CIA World Fact Book 2003

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