Introduction to South Africa

Tuesday, March 6th, 2007 at 12:00 am

South AfricaThe Republic of South Africa is a country nestled at the southern tip of the African continent. It is a country blessed with a long coastline that stretches more than 2,500 kms or 1,550 mi and across two oceans, namely the Atlantic and the Indian Oceans.

Having a total land area of 1,219,912 sq. km or 470,979 sq. mi., South Africa is considered as the world’s 25th-largest country. It is bordered or surrounded by the countries of Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, and Swaziland. Lesotho has a unique location which is an independent enclave although it is entirely surrounded by South African territory. The highest peak in South Africa is the Drakensberg which is towers at the height of 3,408 m above sea level.

South Africa is blessed with a variety of climate zones that ranges from the extreme desert of the southern Namibia in the farthest northwest to the lush subtropical climate that prevails in the east along the border with Mozambique and the Indian Ocean.

Although South Africa is categorized as a semi-arid country, there is considerable variation in climate as well as in its geography. Its varied climate has made it a good environemts for growing a wide number of grape varieties that has become a part of the South African economy. Such grape varieties are being produced into fine quality South African wines that the country has been known for.

Grapes are not the lone produce that can be found in this country. South Africa’s economy has a predominantly large agricultural sector and is also known as a a net exporter of a large number of farming produce. Although the commercial farming sector in South Africa is relatively well developed, there are still people in some rural areas still survive on subsistence agriculture. Many families still depend on farming solely to provide food on the table and not merely for selling.

South Africa is a net exporter of agricultural products and foodstuffs, the largest number of exported items being sugar, grapes, citrus, nectarines, wine and deciduous fruit. The largest locally produced crop in South Africa is corn, with an estimated 9 million tons produced every year and 7.4 million tons being consumed domestically.

Livestock is also one of the primary products on South African farms, with the country producing about 85% of all meat consumed. The country is also known as the eleventh largest producer of sunflower seeds. It also has a sizeable dairy industry is composed of around 4,300 milk producers that amply provides employment to 60,000 farm workers and contributing to the livelihoods of around 40,000 others in the country.

With its wide land area reserved specially for grape cultivation, South Africa has made itself stand out to become the eighth largest wine producer in the world today providing its own unique class of fine quality wine.