South Africa is the economic powerhouse of Africa. It is blessed with a pleasant warm climate, spectacular scenery and natural diversity ranging from lush forests to semi desert. The Indian Ocean and Atlantic Ocean meet at the Southern tip of the country and South Africa has a wealth of golden beaches and world-class surf. Big game roams on vast reserves within easy reach of modern cities where people live, work, study and play.
South Africa straddles 1,2million square kilometres and is a nation of over 47-million people of diverse origins, cultures, languages and beliefs. Around 79% are black (or African), 9% white, 9% "coloured" - the local label for people of mixed African, Asian and white descent - and 2.5% Indian or Asian. Just over half the population live in the cities. Two-thirds of South Africans are Christian. Other significant religionsare Islam, Hinduism and Judaism. There are 11 official languages in South Africa but English is a common language spoken by most people. Despite its controversial historical legacy of apartheid, South Africa has vigrously followed a path of multiparty democracy since 1994 and has an independent judiciary and free press. The road, telecommunications and transport infrastructure is excellent and the country has a sophisticated financial sector and vibrant mixed economy.
South Africa has nine provinces. Gauteng, the smallest and most densely populated, adjoins Limpopo, North West and Mpumalanga in the north. The Northern Cape, the largest province with the smallest population, is in the west. The Free State is in the middle of the country. And the coastal provinces of KwaZulu-Natal, the Eastern Cape and the Western Cape lie to the south.
South Africa has two capitals. Cape Town, the oldest city, is the legislative capital, where Parliament sits. Pretoria, 1 500 kilometres to the north, is the executive capital, where the government administration is housed. Next door to Pretoria, and close enough that the outer suburbs merge, is the commercial centre of Johannesburg, once the world's greatest gold mining centre, now increasingly dominated by modern financial and service sectors. The second-biggest city is Durban, a fast-growing port on the eastern coast, and the supply route for most goods to the interior.
Each of the provinces has its own unique character and complement of cities, towns and country areas filled with real estate opportunities that are both appealing and affordable by world standards.