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  Map of South Africa; home of this years World Cup



South Africa covers over 1.2 million square kilometres and is the 25th largest country in the World


South Africa has three capitals: Cape Town (legislative), Pretoria (administrative), and Bloemfontein (judicial).  However, Johannesburg is the largest city in South Africa.


South Africa’s nickname is the “rainbow nation” because of the rich and diverse mix of people from many different backgrounds.


The country has 11 official languages. Nine are native African, one is English and the last is Afrikaans, a language developed by the region's early Dutch settlers.


About half of the world’s gold is produced in South Africa.  Scientists estimate that gold deposits there are 3 billion years old.


South Africa has loads of national parks and reserves that are the home of some amazing wildlife.  The Kruger National Park is one of the world's greatest wildlife sanctuaries.  It is the home of more than 500 different types of birds and 200 different mammals, including lions, leopards, elephants, giraffes, monkeys, zebras, water buffaloes, rhinos, cheetahs, hyenas, hippopotamus, gazelles, elands and African wild dogs.


The country’s national animal is the springbok, which gives its name to the South African rugby team, known as “The Boks”.


South Africa is below the Equator and so its summers begin in September and last until April.  The nicest weather is usually in April and May.


From 1948 until 1994 the South African government enforced an official policy of apartheid.  This not only made it a law for the races to stay separate, but it also allowed the white minority, although outnumbered 4 to 1 to control the country.


Nelson Mandela was one of the most important leaders in the 20th century.  He played a fundamental role in the recuperation of the nation’s democracy. Under his leadership, South Africa adopted one of the best constitutions in the world. 


Nelson Mandela once said “No one is born hating another person because of the colour of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.”


    Logo of the South African rugby team "The Boks"
    Zebra in the Kruger National Park in South Africa
    Giraffes are one of the many animals in South Africa
  Leopard in the Kruger National Park  



Worksheets and Activities:

Please click to download our worksheets on Africa and South Africa (Microsoft Word docs.):

Africa Worksheet

Word Search African countries

South Africa Fact Finder

Map of South Africa

  Elephants in South Africa  

Useful Websites:


National Geographic Kids  South Africa Facts & Photos

Time For Kids Sightseeing Guide, virtual journey through South Africa

PSB AFRICA Visit secondary school in South Africa, make a mask, thumb piano tunes and Swahili folktale

FactMonster South Africa History, Geography, Government and Culture

Mama Lisa's World Children's songs and nursery rhymes from South Africa

Enchanted Learning South Africa maps and quiz


Book Journey to Jo'burg by Beverley Naidoo


Children's Books South Africa:

Journey to Jo'burg A South African Story by Beverley Naidoo

Publisher: HarperCollins Children's Books; New edition (3 Mar 2008)

ISBN-10: 0007263503

This powerful text, set in South Africa, tells the story of a young girl and her sister on a journey to find their mother, who had been forced to live apart from them. The contrast between the lives of black and white people at this time, illustrates the issue and the lasting damage caused by apartheid.

TES Connect A variety of reading and writing tasks related to the text.


Book Safari in South Africa Adventures of Riley by Amanda Lumry and Laura Hurwitz



Safari in South Africa Adventures of Riley by Amanda Lumry (Author), Laura Hurwitz (Author), Sarah McIntyre (Illustrator)

Publisher: Scholastic Press (May 2009)

Reading Level 4-8

ISBN-10: 0545068266



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