7 Best Cities to Visit in South Africa

Travellers from all over the world are drawn to the various landscapes, rich cultures, and energetic cities of South Africa. South Africa provides a variety of experiences for every kind of traveller, from the breathtaking coastlines of the Indian and Atlantic Oceans to the untamed highlands and expansive savannas. In our comprehensive guide, we will go in-depth on each of South Africa’s seven best cities to visit, each with its own distinct charm and attractions.

Destinations / South Africa
Sep 2023

1. Cape Town

For good reason, Cape Town is frequently praised as one of the most stunning cities in the entire world. It is indeed one of the best cities to visit in South Africa. You may discover pristine beaches, the vibrant Bo-Kaap neighborhood, and the energetic V&A Waterfront. Also with the iconic Table Mountain serving as a backdrop.

For a taste of top-notch wines, don’t skip a trip to the Cape Winelands. Cape Town is a city where nature meets urban elegance, and its attractiveness goes beyond its natural landscapes. You’ll be enthralled by the harmonious fusion of modernism with a strong connection to the environment as soon as you arrive.

Table Mountain is without a doubt Cape Town’s showpiece. You have the option of taking the cable car or hiking to the summit for breath-taking panoramic vistas.

The mountain frequently assumes an unreal, golden color at sunset. Explore the Cape Peninsula while you’re there to see the breathtaking Chapman’s Peak Drive cliffs, the cuddly African penguins at Boulders Beach, and Cape Point’s windswept splendor.

Cape Town

2. Johannesburg

Johannesburg, or Jo’burg, is South Africa’s largest city and economic hub. It offers a blend of history and modernity. Also with attractions like the Apartheid Museum, Gold Reef City, and the bustling Maboneng Precinct.

It’s also a gateway to nearby wildlife reserves like Kruger National Park. Johannesburg, often called the “City of Gold,” has a rich history linked to its role in the gold rush of the late 19th century.

Visit the Apartheid Museum to begin learning about Johannesburg’s history. Moreover to learn about South Africa’s battle for freedom and equality.

Explore the Maboneng Precinct, a revitalised urban district home to art galleries, eateries, and street art, after that by travelling to the city’s centre. It’s the ideal location to take in Johannesburg’s vibrant cultural scene.

Furthermore for a taste of the city’s history, head to Gold Reef City, which is a theme park. It is built around an old gold mine. Here, you can descend into the depths of the earth on a guided tour. Also try your hand at gold panning.

It’s a fascinating journey into the past and a testament to Johannesburg’s roots as a city built on the riches of the earth. It is a must visit cities in South Africa.

3. Durban

Known for its year-round warm weather and golden beaches, Durban is a paradise for sun-seekers. You can enjoy the multicultural cuisine at the Victoria Street Market, explore the UShaka Marine World, and surf the waves at the popular beaches along the Golden Mile.

Durban, often dubbed the “Sunshine City,” lives up to its name with its consistently warm and sunny climate. This coastal gem on the eastern edge of South Africa beckons visitors with its relaxed atmosphere, vibrant culture, and stunning seaside vistas.

Take a walk down the Golden Mile, a section of sand beaches and palm-lined promenades that hugs the Indian Ocean, to start your Durban trip.

Here, you can enjoy the sunshine, go swimming, or, if you’re a surfer, catch some waves. Along the beaches are vibrant seaside markets that sell everything from regional crafts to delectable street cuisine.

To experience Durban’s multicultural spirit, head to the Victoria Street Market, where the aromas of spices and exotic flavors fill the air.

This bustling marketplace is a microcosm of Durban’s diverse population, with stalls offering Indian, African, and South African cuisine. Be sure to try the iconic bunny chow, a South African fast-food favorite made from hollowed-out bread filled with curry.

4. Port Elizabeth

The ambiance of Port Elizabeth is calm and seaside. The Garden Route and Addo Elephant National Park may both be explored from here. It’s a great place to start. Don’t pass up the chance to check out the charming Boardwalk and engage in some water sports at Algoa Bay while you’re in PE.

The “Friendly City,” sometimes referred to as Port Elizabeth, is a beachfront treasure on South Africa’s southeast coast. PE is a must-visit location for those looking for a peaceful yet exciting getaway because of its welcoming ambiance, gorgeous beaches, and proximity to wildlife wonders.

The Boardwalk, a dynamic entertainment complex that provides a variety of dining, shopping, and leisure activities, is one of Port Elizabeth’s most well-known attractions. It’s a wonderful area to wander, see a live show, or just unwind with a drink while looking out at the ocean.

The South End Museum offers insight into the city’s past and the consequences of apartheid on its citizens for individuals who are interested in maritime history.

The fact that Port Elizabeth is a gateway to the renowned Addo Elephant National Park will excite nature lovers. Elephants, along with other animals like lions, buffaloes, and rhinos, are among the numerous species that call this vast wilderness area home. Visit these gorgeous animals in their native habitat by going on an exhilarating safari excursion.

Algoa Bay is the place to be if you enjoy participating in water sports. The bay is popular for kiteboarding, windsurfing, and sailing because of its steady breeze and quiet waters. Alternately, you might just unwind on the sand and enjoy the lovely coastline views. Port Elizabeth is one of the best cities to visit in South Africa.

5. Pretoria

Pretoria, South Africa’s administrative capital, is renowned for its streets lined with trees, including purple jacaranda trees. Visit the National Zoological Gardens, the Voortrekker Monument, and the Union Buildings. The city is a must-visit location because of its historical significance and architecture.

Pretoria, sometimes known as the “Jacaranda City,” serves as South Africa’s administrative capital. In the spring, the streets are alive with vivid purple jacaranda blossoms, transforming the cityscape into a lovely setting. This city offers a blend of culture, history, and natural beauty. It is well known for its historical significance and architectural marvels.

Begin your journey in Pretoria with a visit to the Union Buildings, a prominent landmark that houses the offices of the President of South Africa. The terraced gardens in front of the buildings offer panoramic views of the city and are a popular spot for picnics and relaxation.

Nearby, the Voortrekker Monument stands as a tribute to the pioneers who embarked on the Great Trek in the 1830s. The monument’s design and historical exhibitions provide insight into this significant chapter of South African history.

For a taste of the wild, head to the National Zoological Gardens. This expansive zoo is home to a diverse array of animals from around the world, including big cats, primates, and exotic birds. The beautifully landscaped gardens make for a leisurely stroll while observing these magnificent creatures.

Pretoria is a must visit city among cities in South Africa, also known for its museums, including the Ditsong National Museum of Natural History, which houses an extensive collection of fossils, minerals, and taxidermy specimens. Art enthusiasts can explore the Pretoria Art Museum, which showcases both South African and international contemporary art.

6. Bloemfontein

South Africa’s judicial capital, Bloemfontein, is renowned for its beautiful rose gardens. Discover the Franklin Game Reserve, Naval Hill, and the Fourth Raadsaal. A leisurely stroll through the Free State National Botanical Garden is something you shouldn’t miss.

Bloemfontein, sometimes referred to as the “City of Roses,” serves as the nation’s administrative and judicial hub. It gets its moniker from the many exquisitely maintained rose gardens that adorn the city. Bloemfontein, a city in the Free State province that combines history, nature, and culture, provides a tranquil and picturesque retreat.

A great place to start your exploration of Bloemfontein is at the Fourth Raadsaal, an architectural gem that served as the legislative assembly during the late 19th century. The building’s neo-Gothic design and historical significance make it a must-visit for history buffs. Nearby, the Fourth Raadsaal Park provides a tranquil space to relax and admire the surrounding roses.

To experience nature within the city, head to Naval Hill, a small but significant hill that offers panoramic views of Bloemfontein. The Franklin Game Reserve, situated at the base of Naval Hill, is a unique urban wildlife sanctuary where you can spot various antelope species, zebras, and a wide variety of birdlife.

For a deeper connection with nature, visit the Free State National Botanical Garden, a lush oasis where indigenous flora thrives. The garden features walking trails, picnic areas, and a picturesque dam, providing an ideal setting for a leisurely stroll or a peaceful afternoon spent in the shade of the trees.

7. Kimberley

Kimberley is steeped in diamond mining history. Visit the Big Hole, a massive man-made excavation, and the Kimberley Mine Museum to learn about the diamond rush that once captivated the world. The city’s heritage and unique attractions make it a fascinating stop.

Kimberley, located in the Northern Cape province, is a city that offers a fascinating glimpse into the diamond rush that gripped the world in the late 19th century. Known for its diamond mining heritage, Kimberley is home to the iconic Big Hole, a colossal man-made excavation that stands as a testament to the diamond fever that once consumed this region.

Begin your journey in Kimberley with a visit to the Big Hole and Kimberley Mine Museum. The Big Hole is the largest hand-dug excavation in the world, and it serves as a striking reminder of the intense diamond mining activity that took place here.

The adjacent Kimberley Mine Museum provides insight into the lives of the miners and the history of the diamond industry. You can explore historic buildings, see antique mining equipment, and even try your hand at diamond sifting.

Another notable attraction is the William Humphreys Art Gallery, which houses an impressive collection of South African and international art. The Magersfontein Battlefield, just outside Kimberley, is a historic site where the Anglo-Boer War unfolded, and it offers a chance to delve into South Africa’s complex past.

These are some of the must visit cities in South Africa. These places are unique and offers a complete different kind of experiences for your travel to the south of the continent.