"Overall, it is a very strong team and one that will certainly provide a big challenge for us on our home ground, which we are really looking forward to," said Smit, who led South Africa to World Cup glory in November 2007.
"There is depth in every position, which is what they will need on a long and tough tour.
"We expect that there will be strong competition for places in all positions, which will make things interesting for us."
Having returned from a season playing club rugby in France specifically to make himself available for the forthcoming series against the Lions, Smit is fully aware of what a Lions tour means to the people of South Africa.
"The Lions is a really important event in the South African rugby calendar because it only comes around once every 12 years," added the Sharks front row forward.
"It's a benchmark and a wonderful opportunity to play a great team and test yourself in a three-match series.
"I made a massive decision to end my time in France and play in South Africa so I could play in this tour. That is how much it means to me and to everyone who has done the same.
If Smit and his team-mates are to ensure 2009 brings happier recollections than 1997 for the South African nation, he is aware that the Springboks will have to face up to a hugely physical challenge.
The Lions have named a number of intensely physical forwards in a squad packed with in-form players and Smit knows that Ian McGeechan's men will not be shying away from confrontation.
"It is not surprising that the squad is dominated by players from the two teams that contested Six Nations title.
"We always expected them to pick strong and aggressive forwards, which indicates that they see the scrum and lineout as key elements of the contest.
"The captain Paul O'Connell is a team man who is well respected internationally and it is obvious they are trying to replicate the vibe and momentum that they had with the same coach in 1997.
"The wonderful thing about the Lions tour that the crème of the crop of the four Home Unions are put together and told to 'go get them'. It will be a stern challenge we will have to front up for."