All you want to know about South Africa 's major cities Unique Info, Photos, Videos, Maps, Stats
Below you will find unique tourism and travel
insider information including photographs, videos, maps, geographical and demographic facts and
stats that will help you to learn more about South Africa 's major cities
Not just unique, but als extraordinary information. Because we are talking
about South Africa cities that have seen an incredible growth and development from one-horse shanty
towns into multi-million population metropoles in little more than a century.
An explosion of growth!...Awesome, just think of it.
They have grown into true rainbow melting pots of culture, heritage, music,
food and entertainment, offering the you such an exciting variety of attractions that there will be
little time left for sleep.
And do not forget their fantastic shopping centers. Large shopping centers are
to be found across the country's cities and towns, where everything from giant chain stores to
small specialty boutiques sell all you could possibly want.
Some of the malls are so huge they'll give you a good hike from one end to the
To find out more about our South Africa cities,...click on any
of the names below.
The Mother city. "See Cape Town before you die..." That was the vote from
viewers of the popular BBC travel programme “Holiday”. Choosing the 50 best overall tourist
destinations, they gave our "Mother City", as it is affectionately called by us South Africans, the
number 5 spot, after Sydney, New York, Venice and Paris.
It is more than five centuries ago, that the first Europeans set eyes on the
natural beauty of the shape of Table Mountain and the coastline of the Cape Peninsula from the decks
of their sailing ships. They were Bartholomew Diaz and his crew of seafarers. Quite aptly, they
named it the Cape of good Hope.
Later it became also known as the Cape of Storms. Sometime later in 1652, the
Dutch East India Company sent Jan van Riebeeck and a company of settlers to set up a halfway
refreshment station on its trade routes to the Far East. Cape Town was founded. South Africa
The impressive and majestic Table Mountain towers proudly above the City,
flanked by the legendary Devil's Peak and the historical Signal Hill. Beautiful white sandy beaches
along a peaceful coastline, frame Cape Town and the surrounding Peninsula. It all makes the Cape
peninsula one of the most beautiful and striking sights in the world.
Cape Town, Western Cape province, South Africa
Besides its sheer natural beauty, Cape Town has a myriad of attractions. You
can catch the cable car up Table Mountain to enjoy a breathtaking panorama of the City and the
Peninsula, or take a ferry to the historic Robben Island where Nelson Mandela was exiled.
Alternatively there are the three centuries old Castle of good Hope, the
panoramic boat tours around the Peninsula, an exciting array of eating and drinking places,
world-class hotels, exuberant nightspots, glittering shopping malls as well as open air art and
craft markets, to name but a few.
Watch this video clip about stunning Cape Town in the Western Province! Taking you from Table Mountain to Robben Island and more!
And do not forget great outdoor activities such as water sports(including diving,
surfing and sailing), deep sea fishing, wine tasting, mountain biking, hiking, kite flying,
parasailing, bird-and whale watching.
Last but not least, what is more romantic on a wind-still full moon summer's
night then to walk up lion's Head before dark, watch the sun set on one hand and the full
moon rise on the other and then to walk down in the silvery light. Come and visit Cape Town, of all
the South Africa cities the place to see before you die.
Egoli, "at the gold" or "the place of gold" as the Zulu people so aptly call
Johannesburg in their language. Johannesburg, capital of the province called Gauteng, which also
means "place of gold", but then in the language of the Northern Sotho and the Tswana people.
Johannesburg the place of gold, capital of the province of gold in, as you can
guess, the country of gold, South Africa. Exaggerating?...well, maybe just a little.
When you have your first encounter with Johannesburg, driving into the city on
the smooth tarmac of modern multi-lane freeways between modern skyscrapers and you see a modern and
vibrant metropolis packed with vitality and a throbbing African rhythm where everyone is on the
move, just realize, that you are looking at the economic and financial heart of our country. Of all
the South Africa cities this city is literally built on gold.
What you must also realize is the fact that only a little more than a hundred
years ago, Johannesburg was nothing more than an unknown and forlorn ridge with rocky outcrops in
the middle of nowhere.
Witwatersrand it was called, meaning "White waters ridge". In 1886 it all
started happening. The world's richest deposits of gold were discovered and Man’s obsession with
the shiny mineral did the rest. Prospectors, fortune seekers, speculators and adventurers from the
ends of the earth flocked to the area.
Johannesburg, Gauteng province, South Africa
In just over a century the original ramshackle congregation of prospectors and
gold diggers tentsdeveloped and grew into the largest of the South Africa cities, third largest on
the African continent, currently generating 16% of South Africa’s GDP.
A modern fast paced cosmopolitan metropolis, bustling with energy and activity,
home to 5 million people in an area no more than 60 km in diameter. A mind staggering explosion of
growth and development,…the awesome power of gold.
Video showcasing Johannesburg in the in the province of Gauteng. Visit the Apartheid Museum, Sandton City Mall, Gold Reef City, Soweto and much more.
Come and see for yourself the place of gold in the province of gold in the
country of gold. An exaggeration?...you decide. Experience the exciting contrast of high rise glass
and chrome corporate headquarter buildings of Sandton CBD and the third world tin shacks of the
sprawling, vibrant Soweto township, a revelation to the uninitiated.
Spend a day at the amazing goldmine theme park Gold Reef City. Go shopping in
the up market Sandton City or at the Randburg waterfront. These are only but a few of the many
sightseeing and pleasure activities to choose from.
eThekwini, "place of the lagoon". That is how the city of Durban is called by
the Zulu people. Just imagine. Golden beaches with exotic names like Golden mile beachfront,
Hibiscus coast, Strelitzia coast, sugar coast, and Dolphin coast. A tropical somewhat humid climate
with a curry flavoured Asiatic atmosphere, quite different from the other South Africa cities.
The kingdom of the proud warrior nation of the Zulus and the ancient and
mysterious Valley of one thousand hills. An exciting and at the same time mystique mix of African
and Asian cultures. And in the middle of it all, Durban, Africa's bewitching seaside playground in
the sun. Yes, that should give you an idea about what this great city is all about. South Africa
The natural harbour of Durban was discovered by passing Portuguese seafarers.
This happened to be on Christmas day 1497, hence the reason why they named it "Rio de Natal" (the
River of Christmas). It was only in 1823 that a trader by the name of Henry Fynn and his companions
were the first Europeans to arrive and settle in the area. Until that time, the only inhabitants
were the indigenous Zulus.
The small white settlement grew into a town and twelve years later it was named
after the acting Governor of the Cape colony, Sir Benjamin D'Urban.The Zulus, having lived there
for centuries, did not favour the European settlement, feeling threatened by the incursion into
their territory. With the arrival of the Voortrekkers, mistrust and unease grew, resulting in a
series of bloody battles.
Durban, KwaZulu-Natal province, South Africa
In the end the British government became involved and the area was annexed to
the Cape Colony in 1844, becoming the new province of Natal.The British brought in thousands of
Indians as labourers under contract to work on the sugar plantations of Natal. When their contracts
expired, they were allowed to stay and their families and friends followed them to South Africa.
Today they form the largest Indian population outside India.
The mixture of Zulu, Briton, Voortrekker, Indian and descendents of other cultures
resulted in Durban's extraordinary Afro-Asian feel and atmosphere. Today Durban is a major gateway
into Africa and is also the largest and busiest port on the continent, with a population of 3
million people. It is the economic powerhouse of the zulu Kingdom, extending a warm welcome to many
compelling tourist treasures.
Video about Durban, South Africa's third largest city and largest and busiest port in the country. Home to uShaka Marine World, Ricksaws and beautiful beaches along the Golden Mile.
It is also the entranceway to two of South Africa's World Heritage Sites, the
majestic and magnificent Ukhahlamba Drakensberg Park and the iSimangaliso Wetlands Park, as well as
huge game reserves in the Zululand bushveld, history-laden battlefields, the Valley of a Thousand
Hills, and a coastal playground that seems to stretch on endlessly in both directions.
"Jacaranda City", that is how the city of Pretoria with a population of close
to two million peopleis known by us South Africans. Because when its 70,000 jacaranda trees get
into blossom in the spring during the months of October and November, the City is completely
covered in a glorious cloud of beautiful purple blossoms. Absolutely a sight to be seen.
As capital of South Africa and the seat of Government, Pretoria has a stately
character, pervaded by a strong sense of history and tranquility. While providing all the modern
comforts of life, it has also sustained a unique and truly rustic ambience. The pace is markedly
slower and quite relaxed compared to some of the other South Africa cities.
The fertile valleys of Gauteng have been inhabited from the earliest times. More
than three centuries ago the Sotho tribes who lived there were joined by "Nguni" speaking settlers
from the north, known as the Ndebele (derived from the Sotho nickname "ma Tebele", meaning
"refugee"). They were the first people to recognize the Apies river valley as a suitable place to
They named the river after Tshwane, a son of one of their chiefs named Mushi.
The word "Tshwane" means "little monkeys". In the Afrikaans language it means "Apies". The next
people to settle in this beautiful valley were Europeans in the form of the19th century
"Voortrekkers". They were mainly farmers who had sought to get away from British rule and
domination in the Cape Colony.
Pretoria, Gauteng province, capital city of South Africa
Pretoria was founded by the Voortrekkers in 1855 on the banks of the Apies
river. They named it after one if their leaders, Andries Pretorius. In 1860 it became capital and
seat of government of the Transvaal Republic, retaining that status until today.
The City Council of Pretoria has recently decided to give the city a new name.
The city that was named after voortrekker hero Andries Pretorius, will soon officially be known as
the City of Tshwane. South Africa cities.
Short video showcasing Pretoria in the province of Gauteng, visiting Pretoria's Union Buildings the Voortrekker monument and Pretoria Zoo among others.
Pretoria is situated in a strategic location, within easy reach (about 50 km)
of Johannesburg International Airport. It is a gateway to many favourite tourist destinations, from
the famous Kruger National Park, Sun City, Pilanesberg Game Reserve and other popular game lodges
to the beaches of Kwa-Zulu natal.
The cultural minded visitor has a choice of 35 museums with spectacular displays
of all aspects of the country's heritage. In Pretoria you can walk in the footsteps of heroes,
follow the tracks of wild animals, enjoy cocktails amidst incredible scenery or dance and gamble
the night away. Whatever your liking, Pretoria has it all.
Bloemfontein, meaning "Fountain of flowers", is what Rudolph Marthinus Brits
called the flowery piece of land around a strong natural well that he had bartered from the local
tribal chief in the year1840. He had left Swellendam in the Cape colony in search of farming land
and better grazing for his cattle.
His cousin joined him and soon they had developed the land into a flourishing
farm. A popular stopover with the migrating Voortrekkers and passing travelers, it soon grew into a
bustling little town, which was officially founded in 1846. Up to today the well is still flowing
in downtown Bloemfontein.
Bloemfontein, the Capital of the Free State province and also the Judicial
Capital of the country, is the sixth largest of the South Africa cities, with a population of close
to a million people. The area in which it lies in the province is called the Motheo region. Motheo
is the Sesotho word for "foundation" or "strong base of a building", a reference to the fact that
the region is situated in the centre of the free State province.
It is a region of golden fields of wheat and maize, and endless grasslands
where sheep and cattle graze. Being situated in the geographic heartland of South Africa,
Bloemfontein is an important stopover at the crossroads of important road, air and railway links,
running from north to south and east to west between the South Africa cities across the country.
Bloemfontein, Free State province, South Africa
The city earned the nickname "City of Roses" because of the splendour of the
4000 rose bushes planted at Kings Park. The annual Rose Festival held in October each year,
celebrates this beautiful feature of the city.
Long ago the local Sesotho people gave Bloemfontein the name "Mangaung", meaning
"the place where cheetahs dwell", a reminder that this area was teeming with wildlife long before
man arrived here.
Video about Bloemfontein nicknamed the city of roses. It is the capital city of the Free State Province and the judicial capital South Africa.
When driving through this beautiful and charming city, one notices the
unobtrusive and almost natural inclusion of an impressive architectural and historical heritage
into the bustling life of a modern and developing city. A unique blend of past, present and
Today Bloemfontein offers the visitor outstanding accommodation establishments
and attractions ranging from art galleries, theatres, top class restaurants, night clubs and pubs
to historical buildings, monuments, stately museums, including a game reserve uniquely situated in
the heart of the city.
Kimberley,…from a diamond diggers shanty town called “New Rush” to Kimberley,
the Diamond Capital of the world. What a story! The year is 1866. The place, the farm "De Kalk" near
a little town called Hopetown on the banks of the Orange river. Event, Young Erasmus Jacobs picks
up a pretty white pebble and puts it in his pocket.
"Eureka", the pebble was called, after somebody discovered that it was a diamond
of 21,25 carats. The year is 1871. another place, a small hill called "Colesberg kopje" on the farm
"Vooruizicht" of the de Beer brothers. A labourer called Damon picks up three strange looking
stones and shows them to his boss. Later, one of those stones would become the famous 83,50 carat
"Star of Africa".
It sparked off the biggest diamond rush the world has ever seen, a mad scramble
for fame and fortune. Within a matter of months some 50,000 diggers from all corners of the world
were swarming all over the "Colesberg kopje". When the hill was gone, they simply kept on digging,
creating the biggest and deepest manmade hole in the world.
It had a perimeter of about 300 by 200 meters and a depth of close to 1100 meters,
known worldwide as the "Big Hole". Around the hole a shanty town sprang up, aptly named "New Rush".
In 1873 The name of the mushrooming town was changed to Kimberley, after the Earl of Kimberley, who
was British Secretary of State for the colonies at that time.
Kimberley, Northern Cape province, South Africa
Surviving many important battles of the devastating Anglo-Boer War, the history
of Kimberley tells of success and vast wealth, but also of heartbreak and lost hopes. After buying
out his main competitor Barney Barnato, the famous Cecil Rhodes became the key role player in
consolidating diamond mining operations and fortunes into the "De Beers Mining Company Ltd." in
To this day "De Beers" has remained the largest supplier of diamonds in the
world, while Kimberley has become a prosperous and thriving metropolis, worthy of the title
"Diamond Capital of the World". Without the frenzied pace of some of the larger South Africa cities,
it offers a wealth of tourist attractions.
Video showing the city of Kimberley, taking you fro the Big Hole, a diamond mining operation to the Magersfontein battle fields and much more.
Attractions and activities ranging from tracing the origins of humankind at
archaeological sites, plunging a kilometre deep into mother Earth visiting a working "De Beers"
diamond mine, viewing an ancient collection of more them 3000 San rock paintings and exploring
everyday life in a township, to fly-fishing, game viewing and dune climbing, to name but a few.
Port Elizabeth, "The Friendly City" as it is known by many visitors. Friendly because of its great
hospitality and its fantastic weather. It is rated as having the fourth best weather conditions in
the world. Locals affectionately just call their city "The Bay" (English), or "Ibhayi" (Xhosa
people), or "Die Baai" (Afrikaners).
Port Elizabeth is South Africa’s fifth city and third largest port situated at the Algoa Bay
coastline. Together with the municipalities of Uitenhage and Despatch it forms the "Nelson Mandela
Metropolis", with a population of close to 1,5 million people. With its 80 km coastline of
beautiful beaches, the fantastic weather and its enormous range of attractions, it is probably
South Africa's best-kept tourism secret.
The first European to venture into the Bay was the Portuguese explorer Bartholomeu Diaz who,
after having rounded the Cape of Storms (Cape Town) in March 1488, stepped ashore in the bay which
he named "Bahia de la Roca".
Later it was renamed "Bahia de Lagoa" (from which the name Algoa Bay was derived, meaning "Bay of
the lagoon"), by a later explorer Manuel de Perestrelo in 1576. Until the 18th century it did not
become more than just a refreshment station on the sea routes to Mozambique and the Far East.
Port Elizabeth, Eastern Cape province, South Africa
The year is 1820. The place, a small refreshment station settlement at Algoa bay, no more than a
handful of people. The event, 4000 British settlers arrive at its shore, to strengthen the
population of the British colony. Acting Governor Sir Rufane Donkin was there to receive them.
He named the settlement after his late wife Elizabeth on 6 June 1820. That put Port Elizabeth on
the map and it quickly established itself between the other South Africa cities as the main port of
the Eastern Cape province, developing rapidly.
Video about the coastal city of Port Elizabeth in the Eastern Cape province. It offers great beaches, many outdoor activities and lively restaurants and evening entertainment.
Today Port Elizabeth is the gateway to the famous Garden Route region, including game reserves,
the Addo Elephant Park, the historical town of Grahamstown, Jeffrey’s Bay, "the place of the
perfect Wave", and many more. It offers the perfect combination of warm water, a calm sea, and fair
It is one of the best sailing venues in the world and a mecca for all beach and water sport
enthusiasts. At the end of each enjoyable day, a relaxing evening including sundowner cruises, top
notch restaurants, sparkling night clubs, late night music spots and fine art theatre