What is the terrain and geography like in South Africa?
Both Pretoria and Johannesburg are situated on a high plateau in Gauteng Province. The surrounding countryside is characterized by relatively treeless, rolling hills. The Magaliesberg Mountain Range, more accurately described as a series of low rising hills, lies 30 miles to the north or northeast. The large Hartbeespoort Dam is located in this area. The more impressive Drakensberg Mountains are located 200 miles to the south, where peaks soar to 11,000 feet in neighboring Lesotho. The pine-studded Lebombo Mountains form the eastern boundary of the Johannesburg Consular District in Mpumalanga Province.
Scenery in the Free State is flat, with a few buttes in the eastern part of the province. Bloemfontein is the provincial capital and the judicial capital of South Africa.
Durban, located on the eastern seaboard of the Indian Ocean, is the principal city in KwaZulu-Natal province and the largest seaport in Africa. Its shoreline extends northeast to southwest along the Indian Ocean. Topographically, the coastal belt of KwaZulu-Natal rises sharply from the ocean to a fertile central plateau and then extends to the escarpment of the Drakensberg Mountains.
The Western Cape has the widest range of scenic attractions, including the Mediterranean-like luxuriance of the Cape Peninsula, rolling uplands to the east, excellent surfing beaches, the majestic peaks of the Katberg, the placid lakes of the Wilderness on the south coast of the picturesque Garden Route, and the vast, arid distances of the Karoo to the north and east.
Although the country lies close to the Tropic of Capricorn, the high altitude of the inland areas results in a temperate climate in most of the country. In the Southern Hemisphere, seasons are opposite those of the Northern Hemispher-summer extends from October to March; winter from June to September. The rainy season in the Pretoria-Johannesburg area is during summer, and the temperature seldom rises above 90 degrees F, with cool nights. Winter is dry and cool with daily temperatures varying from as low as 30 degrees F during the night to as high as 75 degrees F during the day.
Along the coastal area where Durban and Cape Town are located, heavier rainfall occurs during winter and spring, causing high humidity. Both cities experience strong winds - Durban from August through October and Cape Town throughout the year. The seasons are not pronounced but blend almost imperceptibly.
For the most part, trees and shrubs remain green, with flowers blooming throughout the year. The highveld, which includes the Pretoria-Johannesburg area, remains dry and brown throughout much of the year.