Geography of Southern Africa

By Jeonghee 01

Region of Southern Africa

The region of southern Africa is located between roughly 10° S to 35° S (latitude) and 10° E to 40° E (longitude). The region is very diverse topographically (physical features), in climate and vegetation. The region is comprised of lush coastal plains, high snow-covered mountains, savannah high plateaus, and arid deserts.

Southern Africa-Botswana

Botswana is a landlocked country located in Southern Africa, north of South Africa. Botswana occupies an area of 600,370km2, of which 585,000 km2 are land. Botswana has land boundaries of combined length 4,013km, of which the constituent boundaries are shared with Namibia, for 1,360km South Africa 1,840 km Zimbabwe, 813 km and Zambia, less than 1 km. Much of the population of Botswana is concentrated in the eastern part of the country.

Southern Africa-Lesotho

Lesotho is a mountainous, landlocked country located in Southern Africa. It is an enclave, surrounded by South Africa. The total length of the country's borders is 909km. Lesotho covers an area of around 30,355km2, of which a negligible percentage is covered with water.

The most notable geographic fact about Lesotho, apart from its status as an enclave, is that it is the only independent state in the world that lies entirely above 1,000m in elevation. Its lowest point is at 1,400m, the highest lowest point of any country. Because of its elevation, the country's climate is cooler than in most other regions at the same latitude. Its climate zone can be classified as continental.

Southern Africa-Namibia Mongolia

At 825,418 km2,Namibia is the world's thirty-fourth largest country. After Mongolia, Namibia is the least densely populated country in the world.

Southern Africa-South Africa

South Africa occupies the southern tip of Africa, its coastline stretching more than 2,500 km from the desert border with Namibia on the Atlantic coast southwards around the tip of Africa and then north to the border with Mozambique on the Indian Ocean. The low-lying coastal zone is narrow for much of that distance, soon giving way to a mountainous escarpment that separates the coast from the high inland plateau. In some places, notably the province of KwaZulu-Natal in the east, a greater distance separates the coast from the escarpment. Although most of the country is classified as semi-arid, it has considerable variation in climate as well as topography.

Southern Africa-Swaziland

Swaziland is a small country, no more than 200km north to south and 130 km east to west. The western half is mountainous, descending to a lowveld region to the east. The eastern border with Mozambique and South Africa is dominated by the escarpment of the Lebombo Mountains. The climate is temperate in the west, but may reach 40 °C in summer in the lowveld. Rainfall occurs mainly in the summer and may reach 2 metres in the west.