The vast interior area of South Africa mostly sits on a large plateau, which on average sits 1200m above sea level (that’s higher than Table Mountain). The edge of the interior plateau is the Great Escarpment, where the land drops dramatically towards the coast.
When flying over South Africa’s interior, you will see vast areas of uninhabited land – it is a huge country, but the population is around 50 million, less than that of the UK.
The most densely populated area is towards the north-east of the country, where the largest city of Johannesburg now almost merges with the nearby city of Pretoria. Less than 160km (100 miles) from Pretoria is the well known resort of Sun City. Near to Johannesburg and Pretoria is the world famous archaeological site, the Cradle of Humankind. To the east of Johannesburg is Newcastle, which is close to the famous battlefields of KwaZulu-Natal.
In the far north east of the country, close to the Kruger National Park, is the stunning Blyde River Canyon, one of the largest canyons in the world. Another breathtaking natural phenomenon is the Augrabies Falls, which can be found in the north west of the country, not too far from the town of Upington.
One amazing feature that is man-made is Kimberley’s Big Hole. This former mine is claimed to be the biggest hole dug by hand in the world. It is located in Kimberley, in the northern central region of the country. To the east of Kimberley is the city of Bloemfontein, the judicial capital of the country.
The Karoo is the name given to a huge area of semi-desert land in South Africa, which actually makes up around half of the interior area, covering the western and southern sides of the country.
The Karoo area is split into the Great Karoo and Little Karoo. The Little Karoo is in the south of the country, and is very close to the Garden Route. The main town in this area is Oudtshoorn, famous for ostrich farming, and nearby are the Cango Caves.
In the south eastern area of the interior is the idyllic village of Hogsback, high up in the mountains, surrounded by forest, and the perfect place to get away from it all.
If you are looking for accommodation in the interior of South Africa, find out more here.Photo by Winfried Bruenken used under a Creative Commons CC BY-SA license.