South Africa occupies the southern tip of Africa, its long coastline stretching more than 2 500km from the desert border with Namibia on the Atlantic coast, southwards around the tip of Africa, then north to the border with subtropical Mozambique on the Indian Ocean.
South Africa's total land area is slightly more than 1.2-million square kilometres, and the country measures some 1 600km from north to south and approximately the same from east to west.
The legislative capital is Cape Town, the administrative capital is Pretoria, and the biggest city - often referred to as the "commercial capital" - is Johannesburg.
Modern air, road and rail transport system links all major centres.
There are nine provinces - to find out more about them, follow the links.
The nine provinces of South Africa: