• South Africa has a population of 51 million and eleven official languages: Zulu, Xhosa, Afrikaans, Pedi, English, Ndebele, Sotho, Setswana, siSwati, Venda and Tsonga.
• The country is a multiparty democracy, the head of state being President Jacob Zuma. Parliament sits in Cape Town, the legislative capital, while Pretoria is the executive capital, from where the president and his cabinet run the country. Each of the nine provinces has its own government.
• The highest point in South Africa is Njesuthi, in the Drakensberg, at 3408m. The highest point in Lesotho and Southern Africa is also in the Drakensberg: Thabana Ntlenyana, at 3482m.
• South African President Jacob Zuma’s three-spouse household is modest compared to the fourteen-wife ménage of Swazi King Msawati; King Letsie of Lesotho has been married just once.
• Nelson Mandela’s wife, Graca Machel, who was previously married to the late president of Mozambique, Samora Machel, is the only woman to have been first lady of two different countries.
Everything you need to know before you set off.
Travel offers; book through Rough Guides
Planning your trip to South Africa
Everything you need to plan where to go and what to do.
South Africa features
The latest articles, galleries, quizzes and videos.
7 amazing African journeys
Africa is a continent of wild open savannahs, terracotta sunsets, thousands of vibrant green hills and rugged coastlines. Here, you can be chugging along on …06 Jul 2016 • Harriet Constable insert_drive_file Article
Why the Northern Cape is one of South Africa’s must-see destinations
The Northern Cape, home to diamond mining capital Kimberley and wilderness of the Kalahari Desert, remains South Africa’s least visited province. But it just …06 Jan 2016 • Meera Dattani insert_drive_file Article
Cape Town's irrepressible township revolution
Many visitors to Cape Town leave with a fairly limited view of the Mother City. They see the whitewashed beachfront restaurants and hotels, take the cable car u…24 Dec 2015 • Chris Clark insert_drive_file Article