Geography and climate
The uKhahlamba Drakensberg Park has outstanding natural beauty, Africa's highest mountain range south of Kilimanjaro, a fascinating and ancient geology, some of the rarest animals in the world - and the largest series of rock art in Africa.
South Africa's Eastern Cape is a region of great natural beauty, from the rugged
cliffs, rough seas and dense forest of the Wild Coast to the desolate Great Karoo,
the fertile Langkloof, renowned for its rich apple harvests, and the mountainous
southern Drakensberg region.
The Free State lies in the heart of South Africa, with the Kingdom of Lesotho
nestling in the hollow of its bean-like shape. Lying between the Vaal River in the
north and the Orange River in the south, the region is one of flat, rolling
grassland and crop fields, rising to lovely sandstone mountains in the northeast.
With only 1.4% of South Africa's land area, the tiny province of Gauteng punches
way above its weight, contributing around 34% to the national economy and some 7% to the GDP of the entire African continent.
A decades-long study of the rocks in South Africa's Karoo has revealed that a single cataclysmic
event on land and sea led to the Permian extinction, when life on Earth nearly came to an end. It
happened about 200 million years before the dinosaurs died out, and was more severe.
The garden province of South Africa, KwaZulu-Natal is a subtropical region of lush
and well-watered valleys, washed by the warm Indian Ocean. A popular tourist
destination, the province stretches from Port Edward in the south to the borders
of Swaziland and Mozambique to the north.
Limpopo is South Africa's northernmost province, lying within the great curve of
the Limpopo River. It is a region of contrasts, from true bushveld country to
majestic mountains, primeval indigenous forests, the giant Kruger National Park
game reserve – and South Africa's lost city of gold.