In South Africa, one finds the world's strangest and most dramatic landscapes, a unique wealth of animal and plant life, a treasure of gold, diamonds and other minerals, and a kaleidoscope of fascinating cultures.
Nature's tools of creation, the wind, sun, ice and rain, have worked a special magic. There are extremes of deserts, savannas, snow-covered mountains, grasslands, high forests and tropical mangrove swamps. Within these climatic zones, Earth's most diverse plant population flourishes. South Africa is also the home of big game, and hosts birds as varied as the vast range of habitats and foods that nature has prepared for them.
It is the variety of South Africa's fascinating and diverse peoples that is its greatest asset. South Africa is often called the cradle of civilisation, for this is where archaeologists discovered 2,5 million-year-old fossils of our earliest ancestors, as well as 100 000-year-old remains of modern man.
Although South Africans come from many cultural traditions, they belong to one nation, a dynamic blend of age-old customs and modern ways, building a new South African society to create a better life for all.
Climatic features of South Africa
The subtropical location, on either side of 30°C, accounts for the warm temperate conditions so typical of South Africa, making it a popular destination for foreign tourists.
The country also falls squarely within the subtropical belt of high pressure, making it dry, with an abundance of sunshine.
The wide expanses of ocean on three sides of South Africa have a moderating influence on its climate. More apparent, however, are the effects of the warm Agulhas and cold Benguela currents along the east and west coasts respectively. While Durban (east coast) and Port Nolloth (west coast) lie more or less on the same latitude, there is a difference of at least 6?C in their mean annual temperatures.
Gale-force winds are frequent on the coasts, especially in the south-western and southern coastal areas.
Sunshine in South AFrica
South Africa is famous for its sunshine. Generally speaking, April and May are the most pleasant months. The rainy season over the summer-rainfall region has then ended, while it has not yet really started in the winter-rainfall area. The hot summer weather has abated, and the winds are lighter than during the rest of the year.
In certain areas, however, notably the hot, humid KwaZulu-Natal coast, Mpumalanga and the Northern Province, June and July are the ideal holiday months.