South Africa Table Mountain
You are here: » Provinces of South Africa

Explore the 9 provinces of South Africa,
they are almost like countries within a country.

Prior to when the 9 new provinces of South Africa, as we know them today, came into being, South Africa consisted of only 4 provinces. They were the Transvaal and the Orange Free state, previously Boer republics and Natal and the Western Cape Province, which were once British colonies.


Strewn across the country there were also the apartheid "homelands", kind of artificial states based on tribal identity, to which the black people were forced to have citizenship and relinquish their South African citizenship.

The change came about in 1994, after South Africa's first free national elections and subsequent transition to a new and free democracy.

The new democracy also brought a change in the administrative structure of the new provinces. Together with a large degree of self-government, each province received its own legislature, executive council and premier.

South Africa,s rainbow culture shows in the incredible diversity between these new provinces, almost like separate countries within a country, each one unique with its own characteristics and dynamics.

Let us go and visit them, just click on the province of your choice in the menu below. The numbers correspond with those on the map underneath the menu.

Provinces of South Africa

Tips for navigating the interactive maps below.

  • Click anywhere on the map to clear the "Directions" window
  • The button in the left-hand top corner allows you to select a larger version of the map.
  • The button in the left-hand bottom corner allows you to change from street map to satellite view and vice versa.
  • The plus/minus button in the right-hand bottom corner allows you to zoom in and out. You can zoom in to a detailed street map of any city or area that you select.
  • Alternatively, put the mouse cursor on any location on the map that you want to explore and click repeatedly with the left hand mouse button without moving the mouse.
  • Moving the mouse cursor on the map with the left hand mouse button clicked in, will allow you to move the map up and down and left and right.
  • Click on the refresh button of your browser to return to the original map.

Interactive map of South Africa

View Larger Map

Tips for navigating the
above map.

  • Click anywhere on the map to clear the "Directions" window
  • The button in the left-hand top corner allows you to select a larger version of the map.
  • The button in the left-hand bottom corner allows you to change from street map to satellite view and vice versa.
  • The plus/minus button in the right-hand bottom corner allows you to zoom in and out. You can zoom in to a detailed street map of any city or area that you select.
  • Alternatively, put the mouse cursor on any location on the map that you want to explore and click repeatedly with the left hand mouse button without moving the mouse.
  • Moving the mouse cursor on the map with the left hand mouse button clicked in, will allow you to move the map up and down and left and right.
  • Click on the refresh button of your browser to return to the original map.

The Western Cape province

Western Cape province: brief facts

Western Cape province - map position

  • Capital: Cape Town

  • Languages: 49.7% Afrikaans, 24.7% isiXhosa, 20.2% English

  • Population: 5 822 734 (2011)

  • Share of SA population: 11.3%

  • Area: 129 462 square kilometres

  • Share of total area: 10.6%

The Western Cape Province is known as a place of great splendour and natural beauty. Boasting a fantastic climate and extraordinary scenic beauty, combined with some of the world's greatest beaches, a remarkably rich history, a fabulous food and wine culture and wonderful people, this province offers almost everything you can wish for as a tourist.

Towering majestically over the city of Cape Town or the "Mother City" as local South Africans fondly like to call it, is the world renowned Table Mountain, a spectacular backdrop to this beautiful city and the whole of the Cape Peninsula.

Vineyards between rugged mountains in the Western Cape
Provinces of South Africa - copyright © South African tourism
Vineyards between rugged mountains in the Western Cape province

White sun-drenched beaches, endemic forests of ancient trees, nature reserves and beautiful valleys with vineyards and orchards between rugged mountains forming the scenic background to art festivals, craft markets and historical buildings, await those who come explore this province.

Great experiences like tasting our famous wines right there where they grow, watching whales and dolphins rollick in the sea, riding ostriches, swimming with penguins, standing in Nelson Mandela's prison cell, watching Jaws the awesome great white shark from an underwater cage and taking the cable way to the top of Table Mountain, will make your visit absolutely out of this world.

Top of page

The Northern Cape province

Northern Cape province: brief facts

Northern cape province - map position

  • Capital : Kimberley

  • Languages: 53.8% Afrikaans, 33.1% Setswana

  • Population: 1 145 861 (2011)

  • Share of SA population: 2.2%

  • Area: 372 889 square kilometres

  • Share of total SA area: 30.5%

Those who love the rough and arid countryside of the Northern Cape Province, call it the jewel of South Africa. Looking at it makes one wonder what it is that holds so much fascination for them. But after a while one realizes that there is more than meets the eye and that the first impression of a desolated ancient land only goes surface deep.

Northern Province certainly has its own unique attractiveness amid the other South African provinces. Below that seemingly desolate surface great riches is has been found in the form of large deposits gem stones such as topaz, opal, garnet, jasper, rose quarts, agate and last but certainly not least, diamonds. Which is why it is often named the jewel province.

Dunes in the semi desert bushman land of the Northern Cape Province
Provinces of South Africa - copyright © South African tourism
Dunes in the semi desert bushmanland of the Northern Cape Province

Above ground on its surface the province is home to awesome wildlife and scenery richness such as: Vast open plains and rust-red dunes tinted in the golden tones of the sun with roaming herds of antelope and the annual springtime explosion of brilliantly coloured flowers in Namaqualand.

It is also home to four of South Africa's 20 national parks featuring a wide range of wild life including the Big 5 and Last but not least the mighty Orange river in the north with its famous Augrabies falls, the world's sixth largest waterfall.

Wildlife tourists, 4 x 4 enthusiasts, divers, river rafters and Hikers will be eager to grasp the chance to discover the unspoilt river, sea and dunes, becoming totally enthralled with the Northern Province in the process.

Top of page

The Eastern Cape province

Eastern Cape province: brief facts

Eastern Cape province - map position

  • Capital: Bisho

  • Major city: Port Elizabeth / Nelson Mandela Bay

  • Languages: 78.8% isiXhosa, 10.6% Afrikaans, 5.6% English

  • Population: 6 562 053 (Census 2011)

  • Share of total SA population: 12.7%

  • Area: 168 966 square kilometers

  • Share of total SA area: 13.9%

Fun in the sun along 800 kilometres of glorious and exotic Indian ocean beaches is what the Eastern Cape Province has to offer as one of its major attractions. Starting at the Tsitsikamma National Park, it extends all the way up the golden sunshine coast, which includes Jeffrey's Bay, St. Francis Bay and Algoa Bay, continuing along the wild coast to Port Edward.

The long expanses of sun-drenched beaches interrupted by rocky coves and secluded lagoons makes it a paradise offering the perfect wave to surfers, king-size catches to anglers and glorious sunshine to holiday makers from all over the world.

The Eastern Cape is home to 800 kilometers of sun-drenched beaches
Provinces of South Africa - copyright © South African tourism
The Eastern Cape is home to 800 kilometers of sun-drenched beaches

For those who are in the mood for something different, the Eastern Cape is also home to a number of great national parks where one can view a variety of wildlife, including the Big Five, in a natural and malaria free environment. Some of the other provinces of South Africa are not entirely malaria free.

If history and culture appeal to you, then you will find that visits to Nelson Mandela's place of birth Qunu, the rock painting sites of the ancient Khoi Khoi people, the 19th century town of Graaf-Reinet with its close by Valley of desolation and the historic Anglo-Boer war battle grounds, are no doubt hot items that will make your visit to the Eastern Cape province a memorable one.

Top of page

The Kwazulu-Natal province

KwaZulu-Natal province: brief facts

Kwazulu-Natal province - map position

  • Capital: Pietermaritzburg

  • Major city: Durban

  • Languages: 77.8% isiZulu, 13.2% English

  • Population: 10 267 300 (2011)

  • Share of SA population: 19.8%

  • Area: 94 361 square kilometres

  • Share of total SA area: 7.7%

When you visit the Zulus on their home ground amid the kraals, original dwellings and burial sites in the Zulu Kingdom in the north, you will feel the beating heart of a proud nation. Like the other provinces of South Africa, Kwazulu Natal with its lively and striking contrasts is a melting pot of Indian, European and Zulu cultures.

The east coast which extends further upward from Port Edward to the national border with Mozambique is part of the Kwazulu Natal province. Because of the subtropical lush and green environment it is often called the garden province.

The uKhahlamba Drakensberg park place of magnificent mountain scenery
Provinces of South Africa - copyright © South African tourism
The uKhahlamba Drakensberg park with its magnificent mountain scenery in Kwazulu-Natal

In and around Zulu land one finds the legendary battle sites of the Anglo-Zulu and Boer-Zulu wars, where history makes you think and reflect at the exact places where Zulu warrior, Boer guerrilla and British soldier either died or survived during their heroic three-way battle for dominance.

The province's subtropical paradise coast with its golden sand beaches and warm Indian ocean waters, offers many leisure activities such as snorkeling, scuba diving, swimming, angling or just relaxing in the sun.

Kwazulu Natal is home to two of our four world heritage sites, the greater St Lucia National Park and the uKhahlamba Drakensberg Park with its impressive and magnificent mountain scenery.

Top of page

The Free State province

Free State province: brief facts

Free State province - map position

  • Capital: Bloemfontein

  • Languages: 64.2% Sesotho, 12.7% Afrikaans, 7.5% isiXhosa

  • Population: 2 745 590 (Census 2011)

  • Share of SA population: 5.3%

  • Area: 129 825 square kilometres

  • Share of total SA area: 10.6%

Coming across the Orange river into the Free State, the vista that will unfold in front of you is one of immense grassy savannas and never-ending fields of maize, sunflowers and wheat, dotted with windmills and farmsteads.

Free State province is known as the granary province of South Africa. Embraced by several of the other provinces of South Africa, the Free State province is situated between the Vaal river at its northern boundary and the Orange river at its southern boundary, in the middle of South Africa. Home to more than 30,000 farms, producing more than 70 % of grain and corn consumption, it is locally known as South Africa's bread bin.

Free State is called the granary or bread basket of South Africa
Provinces of South Africa - copyright © South African tourism
Free State is called the granary or bread basket of South Africa

The scenic beauty of the eastern highlands reaches a climax when you come to the Golden Gate National Park with its spectacular sandstone formations, an area of extraordinary scenic beauty.

Close to 340 days of sunshine per year makes this province a haven for outdoor enthusiasts, offering activities such as game viewing, mountaineering, horse riding, 4 x 4 trail and mountain biking, to name a few.

The dams and rivers provide many water sport opportunities, like angling, river rafting and canoeing. From the major cities to the rural village townships, the friendliness and hospitality of the people are overwhelming.

Top of page

The North-West province

North West province: brief facts

North West province - map position

  • Capital: Mafikeng

  • Major city: Potchefstroom

  • Languages: 63.4% Setswana, 9% Afrikaans

  • Population: 3 509 953 (2011)

  • Share of SA population: 6.8%

  • Area: 106 512 square kilometres

  • Share of total SA area: 8.7%

The province boasts two of South Africa's major national wildlife parks, the Pilanesberg national park and the Madikwe game reserve, worlds of endless African savannah and breathtaking wildlife scenery.

North West province,...the platinum province. Aptly named, because this member of the nine provinces of South Africa produces more platinum from its rich resources than any other single area in the world. For those drawn to the Africa wilderness, North West is all about the authentic African bushveld experience, with its all year-round sunshine and hot dry African climate.

North West Province, the land of endless African savannah and wildlife scenery
Provinces of South Africa - copyright © South African tourism
North West Province, the land of endless African savannah and breathtaking wildlife scenery

A journey through the wild Pilanesberg mountains brings you into the bowl of the crater of an extinct volcano, where you will find one of our country's world renowned attractions.

Known as Sun City and Lost City, they are South Africa's answer to Las Vegas, a fabulous resort complex in the middle of an uncultivated African savannah landscape where the Big Five are roaming.

The province is also home to a well known World Heritage site called the Sterkfontein cave complex, also known as the Cradle of Mankind. An abundance of hominid fossil remains were found here, dating back up to more than 2 million years according archaeologists.

Top of page

Gauteng province

Gauteng province: brief facts

Gauteng province - map position

  • Capital: Johannesburg

  • Major city: Pretoria

  • Languages: 19.8% isiZulu, 13.3% English, 12.4% Afrikaans, 11.6% Sesotho

  • Population: 12 272 263 (2011)

  • Share of SA population: 23.7%

  • Area: 16 548 square kilometres

  • Share of total SA area: 1.4%

Gauteng province - Place of gold. In 1886 an unemployed miner stumbled upon a stone bearing traces of gold. It started the Witwatersrand gold rush. The history of gold in South Africa became the history of Gauteng.

Gold rush shantytowns developed into some of Africa's largest metropolitan cities; Johannesburg, the capital of the province, Soweto, the heart of the freedom struggle, Pretoria, the administrative capital of South Africa, and the Vaal Triangle, an industrial heartland. Together they form the small and densely populated province of Gauteng, the Sesotho word for "place of gold".

Johannesburg skyline at night, capital of Gauteng Province, place of Gold.
Provinces of South Africa - copyright © South African tourism
Johannesburg skyline at night, capital of Gauteng Province, place of gold

With its high population density and economic wealth Gauteng is the economic heart of South Africa and a renowned shopping Mecca, offering some of the world's best shopping in the southern hemisphere. Although it is the smallest, richest, loudest and most urbanized of all the provinces of South Africa, you will find a wide variety of holiday destinations.

It is home to the famous world heritage site known as the Cradle of Humankind at the Sterkfontein cave complex. A wealth of hominid fossils were found here, dating back more than two million years according to archaeologists.

Last but not least the province is also home to the old mining town of Cullinan, where the world's largest diamond, the Cullinan diamond of 3106 carats was found.

Top of page

Mpumalanga province

Mpumalanga province - map position
  • Capital: Mbombela (previously Nelspruit)

  • Languages: 27.7% siSwati, 24.1% isiZulu, 10.4% Xistonga, 10.1% isiNdebele

  • Population: 4 039 939 (2011)

  • Share of SA population: 7.8%

  • Area: 76 495 square kilometres

  • Share of total SA area: 6.3%

Mpumalanga is blessed with the spectacular Northern Drakensberg escarpment with its sheer cliff faces plunging straight down to the Lowveld, nearly a 1000 meters below. Extraordinary impressive, compared with the other provinces of south Africa.

Mpumalanga province, the place of the rising sun, when one translates it from the local SiSwati language into English. This province with the sheer splendour of its immense natural beauty and some of South Africa's most diverse and vibrant cultures, has it all. From one of the most exhilarating wildlife areas in Africa, to spectacular mountain retreats, ancient ruined cities and villages and wild water sports.

View from "Gods Window" in the Northern Drakensberg Escarpment in Mpumalanga
Provinces of South Africa - copyright © South African tourism
View from Gods Window in the Northern Drakensberg Escarpment in the Mpumalanga Province

Its lowveld African savannah landscape is known as one of Africa's most astonishing and exciting wildlife and game viewing areas, with many wildlife reserves, provincial and national parks, including the southern half of the famous Kruger National Park.

The province is also home to vast forestry plantations of exotic trees such as pine, gum and wattle that cover the mountain slopes.

It is rich in history with a legacy of historical well preserved gold rush towns and the Sudwala caves with their astonishing archaeological discoveries, to name but a few. Mpumalanga will fulfill anyone's dream of the true and genuine African experience.

Top of page

Limpopo province

Limpopo province: brief facts

Limpopo province - map position

  • Capital: Polokwane (previously Pietersburg)

  • Languages: 52.9% Sepedi, 17% Xitsonga, 16.7% Tshivenda

  • Population: 5 404 868 (2011)

  • Share of SA population: 10.4%

  • Area: 125 755 square kilometres

  • Share of total SA area: 10.3%

Limpopo province, the great north. This province is named after the Limpopo river that forms its western and northern boundary. Looking further than the first impression of an endless landscape sweltering in the heat of the African sun, you will discover the great natural splendour of the African bushveld together with its extraordinary wildlife population.

Limpopo houses a large number of game farms, private and provincial game reserves, adjoining the northern part of the renowned Kruger National park at its eastern border.

The Africa experience of game viewing and tracking the Big five is absolutely fantastic here, probably the best of all the nine provinces of South Africa.

Herd of Giraffes in the Kruger National Park, Limpopo Province
Provinces of South Africa - copyright © South African tourism
Herd of Giraffes in the Kruger National Park, Limpopo Province

Then there are the famous hot spring resorts where one can have the heat quenched and the muscles softened in the tranquilizing consolation of warm mineral baths. For those people who would like to experience the real Africa atmosphere, Limpopo province is the place to go to.

But there is more. There are the cultural and historical heritage sites in the Makapans valley ranging in age as far back as three million years according to the scientists - The land of the mysterious Rain Queen Modjadji, with her extraordinary rainmaking powers - and ancient indigenous forests and great mountain ranges rising up from the endless expanses of bushveld wilderness.

Top of page






You are here: » Provinces of South Africa



Girl enjoying one of the South Africa beaches

Family enjoying a beach holiday in South Africa

Aerial view of Cape Town and Table Mountain in South Africa

Modern highway network in Port Elizabeth, South Africa







Copyright: 2005-2017 South-Africa-Tours-and-Travel.com
Return to top