South Africa - download georeferenced map set
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Soviet military 1:200 000 (221 maps)
Soviet military 1:500 000 (35 maps)
Soviet military 1:1 000 000 (1 maps)
US Joint operational 1:250 000 (11 maps)
US military 1:250 000 (52 maps)
The Republic of South Africa is a state located in the southernmost part of the African continent. It borders with Namibia in the northwest, with Botswana and Zimbabwe in the north, with Mozambique and Swaziland in the east. The Kingdom of Lesotho is an enclave in the eastern part of the Republic. The eastern and southern coasts of the Republic are washed by the Indian Ocean, the western coasts - by the Atlantic. The total area of the country is 1,220,000 sq km.
Relief. The best part of the state lies on the high flat Karoo plateaus and low mountains (up to 2,500 m), only along the coastline stretches a narrow flatlands stripe, divided from the highlands by the Drakensberg Mountains (the Great Escarpment) and the Cape Mountains.
Mountains. The Great Escarpment is a mountainous arc 2,250 km long rising near the coastal lowlands of South Africa. Each of its parts has its own name: the Kamisberg and the Bokkefeldberg in Namakwaland, the Rohhefeldberg and Komsberg near Sutherland, the Nuvefeldberg near Bofort-West, the Kouefeldberg (2,130 m) and Sniuberge (2,501 m) near Hraff-Reinet and the Stromberg to the north of Queenstown. The highest points of the Great Escarpment are in the Drakensberg Mountains near the eastern border of the Lesotho where in some places they reach more than 3,350 m.The highest peak of the Republic is Engesuti (3,346 m) on the border with the Lesotho. Tkhabana-Ntleniana (3,482 m) in the Drakensberg Mountains is in the Lesotho. This part of the Great Escarpment is a system of serrate piers and deep amphitheatres creating one of the most picturesque landscapes of the Republic of South Africa.
Rivers. The rivers of the Republic of South Africa are short and dry up in the drought season. Shortage of moisture in the major part of the country does not favour the formation of large complexes of lakes and rivers. The major rivers of the country are the Orange, the Vaal and the Limpopo.
National Parks and Reserves. The magnificent national reserves of the country are well-known probably to almost everyone in the world. The Drakenberg Mountains (the highest peak - Tkhabana-Ntleniana, 3,482 m) forming the border with the East Lesotho are a tremendous basalt wall about 250 km long. It is a nice place for active holidays and just wonderfully beautiful scenery. National parks occupy the major part of the mountainous regions. The most fascinating of them is the Royal-Natal National Park. The southern border of the park is the so-called “Amphitheatre” formed by a fantastically looking 8 km long rock. The famous five-cascade waterfall “Tugela” (948 m) is nearby. Lake St.Lucia and 274 hectares of adjacent territories are put on the UNESCO World Heritage List. Lake Sibaya of 77 sq km is the largest sweet lake in the South Africa. In its neighbourhood are located numerous national reserves: Loteni, Haimvill, Swamp, Giant Castle, Itala, Valley, Ndumo, Mkuzi, Wilderness, the Royal National Park, etc. The eastern part of the country next to the border with Swaziland is largely ossupied by the attractive national parks Umfolozi (over 50 thousand hectares) and Hluhluve.
One of the most luxurious resorts Amlanga Rocks hosts the Shark Research Institute and the protection forest Hauan. The riverside bird park Umgeni is reckoned one of the best in the world.
The North-West Province hosts the Pilanesberg National Park, the national reserves Medkwe, Botsalano, Faan-Meintjies, Wild Animals Breeding Centre in Lihtenburg, the Reptiles and Animals Park in Hartbispurt.
In Kalahari one can visit the Augrabis National Park with its famous two-step waterfall and the magnificent Kalahari-Gemsbok National Park.
The East Cape has numerous interesting national parks and reserves, such as Tsitsikamma, Nature`s Valley, Donkin, Mkambati, the Zebra Mountain National Park and the Addo Elephants National Park.
The Kruger National Park in the West Transvaal is the visiting card of the country. This unique national reserve equal in area to a small country protects the flora and fauna of the savannas and semi-deserts of the southern part of Africa – more than 50 species of fish, 144 species of reptiles, 507 species of birds and 147 species of mammals. It is surrounded by several equally original reserves – Sabi Sand, Skukuza nursery and Manieleti Game.
Sightseeing. The Republic of the South Africa is one of the most peculiar African countries. The luxuriant blend of ancient African cultures and rationalism of freedom-loving European settlers, rich subsoil and majestic nature where penguins live next to antelopes and crocodiles, the “meeting zone” of two oceans and numerous countries make the country one of the most attractive on the continent.
The northwest of the country, the Gauteng Province and the arid Transvaal plateaus are the historical centre of the Republic. In this region of gold veins of Witwatersrand started the colonization of the lands. Here are situated the main cities of the country – Johannesburg and Pretoria. It is actually one giant megalopolis where all the financial, industrial and trade power of the Republic is concentrated.
Durban is one of the major African ports and the centre of the most popular among the tourists all over the world KwaZulu-Natal Province. It is the richest trade city and a luxury resort famous for its bazaars, golden beaches and the nearby Indian Ocean.
The Durban “Golden Mile” (Marine Pereide) where Vasco da Gama once moored nowadays is the best place for rest, underwater hunting, surfing and other forms of active holidays on the whole continent.
One of the remotest and wildest regions Mpumalanga is the land of the Tsonga people. The region is famous for its dunes which are the highest in the world and its enormous territories with virgin nature.
The extreme south of the country – the famous Cape Peninsula – is a real focus of historical and cultural attractions.
Capetown is the place whare the parliament of the country is situated. It is the capital of the Western Cape Province and one of the most interesting cities in Africa.
Northern Cape is the largest province in the country. This region of the great desert, the unique fauna, marvellous scenery and countless riches of the subsoil attracts numerous guests from around the globe.
Kimberley, the diamond capital of the Republic, has risen around diamond mines. In the centre of the city-museum one can still see the Big Hole – the greatest open mine in the world which initiated the “diamond rush” of the beginning of the century.
Kalahari is one of the most unusual places in the world. It is a desert on the ocean shore, one of the driest places in the world, land of fantastic landscapes and the unique fauna.
Climate. The climate of the Republic of the South Africa is tropical in the north and subtropical in the south. The western coast of the country is washed by the cold Bengal Stream, and the eastern by the warm Mozambique Stream, which alongside with the elevated relief and the coastal mountain ranges favour the formation of the peculiar climate of the country. The average temperature in January is +18°C to +27°C, in July +7°C to +10°C. Depending on the relief of the area even the adjacent regions may have considerable differences in the air temperature. Annual precipitation is of 30-150 mm on the western coast, up to 650 mm in the central plateaus and up to 2,000 mm on the eastern slopes of the Drakenberg Mountains.