South Africa has a surface area of 1,220,813km2 of which a large percentage is made up of National, Provincial and Private Protected areas.
As a country it is ranked 6th out of the worlds 17 megadiverse countries with more than 20,000 different plant species – around 10% of all of the known plant species on the planet. The Cape Floristic region alone has over 9,000 plant species.
Around 80% of SA's priority conservation land is in private and communal hands.
South Africa contains some of the oldest archaeological and human fossil sites in the world with extensive fossil remains recovered from a series of caves in Gauteng Province. The area is a UNESCO World Heritage site and has been termed the Cradle of Humankind. These sites suggest that various hominid species existed in South Africa from about three million years ago.
There are 19 National Parks and in the Limpopo Province alone there are 47 private game reserves.
South Africa has achieved a great deal in growing its protected areas with a combination of Peace Parks, World Heritage sites, Unesco Sites, Natural Heritage sites, Forest Reserves as well as 19 protected marine reserves.