Gray countries with texture denote areas of future engagement.
Wildlife knows no boundaries. So AWF has defined areas across the continent that are critical to conservation. These Priority Landscapes can cover public and private lands alike and often cross borders.
121,988 hectares (471,443 sq. mi.)
Blue crane, Cape buffalo, elephant, lion, rhinoceros, leopard, kudu, cheetah, ostrich, black mamba, riverine rabbit
Desert, savanna, montane grassland, forest
The Republic of South Africa is in the southernmost region of the continent. Its long coastline stretches along the South Atlantic Ocean and Indian Ocean for more than 1,500 miles. While its coastline is lush, the rest of its geography is vast, flat, sparsely populated, and drier. More than 1,000 miles south of the mainland lie the Prince Edward Islands, a small sub-Antarctic archipelago.
South Africa has the largest economy in Africa. Tourism is one of the country’s greatest sources of revenue. Unlike other African nations, agriculture only accounts for 10% of the population’s employment. The land has so little water, only about 13% can be used for crops.
Megadiverse countries are those with a majority of our planet’s species. South Africa’s incredible biodiversity is ranked sixth out of the world’s 17 megadiverse countries. And, it has more than 20,000 different plants (or about 10% of our planet’s known species) and a wide variety of mammals, including the endangered riverine rabbit.
South Africa has lost some of its natural habitat from overpopulation and development. Invasive alien species also cause major threats to the rich biodiversity and the country’s scarce water.
Deforestation is also a serious issue, with some areas reduced to small patches of forest. To help safeguard some of the country’s hardwood trees, like Real Yellowwood and Black Ironwood, they are under government protection.
South Africa is home to the largest population of rhinos on the continent, a fact poachers are capitalizing on. In 2012, a record 668 rhinos were killed in South Africa. Despite the government’s laudable efforts to combat rhino poaching, the crisis continues.
With your help, African Wildlife Foundation is making a real difference in South Africa with efforts that include the Greater Kruger Leopard Conservation Science Project to better understand leopards, supporting conservancies that harbor critical rhino populations, and more. Donate for a cause that will help the people of South Africa, their lands, and their wildlife.
Hluhluwe iMfolozi Park, in South Africa, is one of the flagship protected areas of the Ezemvelo KwaZulu–Natal Wildlife,...
Become a member
Join African Wildlife Foundation as a member for just $25. Your partnership is vital to our mission to protect Africa’s most precious - and imperiled - creatures.
Spread the word