South Africa, officially the Republic of South Africa, is the southernmost country in Africa. With over 60 million people, the country is the world’s 23rd most populous nation and covers an area of 1,221,037 square kilometers (471,445 square miles).
South Africa has three capital cities, with the executive, judicial and legislative branches of government based in Pretoria, Bloemfontein and Cape Town respectively. The largest city is Johannesburg.
South Africa is bounded to the south by 2,798 kilometers (1,739 mi) of coastline that stretch along the South Atlantic and Indian Oceans; to the north by the neighboring countries of Namibia, Botswana, and Zimbabwe; and to the east and northeast by Mozambique and Eswatini and it surrounds the enclaved country of Lesotho. It is the most populous country located entirely south of the equator. South Africa is a biodiversity hotspot, with a diversity of unique biomes and plant and animal life.
South Africa is a multiethnic society encompassing a wide variety of cultures, languages, and religions. It is often referred to as the “rainbow nation” to describe the country’s multicultural diversity, especially in the wake of apartheid.