Travel Alert Status
Level 2: Exercise Increased Caution
UTC+2 (7 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)
South Africa has a moderate climate with sunny days and cool nights. The most southerly point has a mean yearly temperature of 61.8 degrees Fahrenheit, while Johannesburg, situated at 5,700 above sea level, has an annual mean of 60.8 degrees Fahrenheit. Pretoria, at 4,452 feet above sea level, is warmer with a mean annual temperature of 63.5 degrees Fahrenheit. The temperatures can be deceiving because of the very bright and dangerous high sun during most of the year, especially in the highveld areas.
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.
The languages spoken in South Africa are as diverse as its ethnic groups. Africans is the native tongue of about two-thirds of all whites and most of coloreds (8.6%), and English is the original language of most the whites (13.6%) and the Indians (2.6%). The black’s (75.2%) native tongues include a variety of Bantu languages, which are roughly divided into four language families: Nguni, Sotho, Tsonga or Shangana and Venda.
11 official languages, including Afrikaans, English, Ndebele, Pedi, Sotho, Swazi, Tsonga, Tswana, Venda, Xhosa, Zulu
black 75.2%, white 13.6%, Colored 8.6%, Indian 2.6%
Freedom Day, 27 April (1994)
29 00 S, 24 00 E
Southern Africa, at the southern tip of the continent of Africa