South African Cities and Towns
South Africa is the world’s darling when it comes to African travel, it is one of the easiest African countries to explore, offering a low-key introduction to the Dark Continent as well as a world of adventure for the brave at heart.
Wherever you travel in South Africa, your journey is bound to include South African cities and towns. Here’s what to expect:
If you are visiting South Africa, Cape Town simply must be on your list of places to see. Be sure to include at least a week in this vibrant metropolis so that you can take in some of the major attractions that it has to offer.
Cape Town International Airport is consistently voted the best in Africa and handles up to 39 000 passengers a day. Most major airlines fly to this top South African destination. The airport has an excellent infrastructure with shops, forex, hotels, restaurants, public transport, taxis and car hire to suit your needs. There is no shortage of domestic and charter flights to any destination in South Africa from Cape Town international airport.
The accommodation options in Cape Town offer carte blanche when it comes to choosing somewhere to stay. Every hotel group worth its salt is represented here as well as low-budget backpackers, plush self-catering apartments, and welcoming B&Bs.
Cape Town offers all the conveniences of a modern-day metropolis and more. It is a hub of art, culture and historic sites as well as the food capital of the country. You’ll find numerous award-winning restaurants and internationally-acclaimed chefs operating in and around Cape Town.
Malls, museums, galleries, curio shops, supermarkets, pharmacies, fuel stations, and banks and numerous sporting events.
Cape Town’s wines need no introduction and you’ll never have to look far for a craft brewery, gin bar or coffee shop either. Cape Town’s hospitals are some of the best in the world and it is one of the few cities in South Africa with an excellent public transport system.
Here, you will find everything you need to thrill you for days or stock up for further travel around South Africa.
Thanks to the thriving commercial environment of the Witwatersrand, Kempton Park’s O R Tambo International Airport is one of Africa’s busiest airports, welcoming over 21 million passengers a year. From here you can take an onward flight to anywhere in the country, take a taxi into the city center, or hop on the Gautrain to Johannesburg, Pretoria, or around Ekurhuleni.
Johannesburg is a bustling city which operates at a frenetic big city pace. It is the center of finance, commerce, industry and production in South Africa and has a solid infrastructure to support this.
There are still a surprising amount of green spaces in this busy urban environment and plenty of leafy, upmarket suburbs surrounding the city. Every kind of accommodation is found in and around Johannesburg, from towering glass-fronted hotels to campgrounds on the outskirts of the bustle.
The city boasts a wide range of attractions including museums, malls, theatres, restaurants, markets and shops, and offers easy access to the big game environment of Mpumalanga, just 4 hours’ drive away.
Groceries, car hire, fuel, forex and supplies are easy to come by in Johannesburg.
While Durban is often viewed as Cape Town’s poorer sister, this laid-back coastal city boasts one of the busiest ports in Africa and is awash with attractions. Most of KwaZulu-Natal’s attractions are easily reached from this central hub and onward flights from King Shaka International Airport are easily arranged.
Durban attracts with golden beaches, a temperate climate and an average of 320 sunny days per year. The recently-revamped beachfront attracts walkers, cyclists, skateboarders and dog walkers every morning and evening, while the lunchtime trade sees seaside cafes packed to the brim.
This modern cosmopolitan city has many fine restaurants, malls, shops and boutiques as well as all the necessary conveniences such as fuel stations, grocery stores, banks and pharmacies.
Officially the capital city of South Africa, Pretoria is affectionately known as the Jacaranda City, thanks to its long avenues lined with these purple-blooming trees.
You will find much of South Africa’s history bundled up into the museums in Pretoria and a mass of monuments, architectural gems and historic places nearby. While Pretoria is a busy and productive city, it lacks the urgent-bustle of Johannesburg and has a more laid-back student vibe.
Pretoria is easily reached from O.R. Tambo or Lanseria Airport via hire car or the Gautrain, and you’ll find everything you need in this modern city.
Nelspruit is the safari center of South Africa and also one of its most beautiful towns. A tropical environment, open-design and close proximity to the Kruger National Park, private game reserves and other attractions of the lowveld, make Nelspruit a popular stopover for those en-route to South Africa’s most scenic wild places.
Despite its small-town hospitable feel, Nelspruit has an excellent infrastructure with numerous restaurants, banks, fuel stations, pharmacies, malls, accommodation options and medical facilities.
Other Noteworthy South African Cities and Towns
South Africa’s smaller towns offer numerous attractions for the adventurous traveler and you’ll always find somewhere to lay your hat if you’re passing through. Most of them have all the infrastructure to fuel your travels with even the smallest featuring a general store, ATM and service station.
These are some of the country’s most prominent towns:
In the Greater Kruger Park area:
- White River and Hazyview
In the Cape Winelands:
- Hermanus – offers the best land-based whale-watching on Earth
- Kimberley – a historic town and home of the Kimberley Hole
- Rustenburg – Close to Sun City Entertainment World and Pilanesberg National Park
- Howick and Nottingham Road in the KZN Midlands
- Underberg near the Lesotho in the Southern Drakensberg
- Winterton, near the Northern Drakensberg
- Clarens – an artsy town in the Free State
- Dullstroom – trout fishing and art centre in Mpumalanga
- Darling – one of the Western Cape’s Most charming towns
- Port Shepstone and the lower South Coast near Durban
The list goes on and on. Pop in to these smaller towns on your way past, you’ll be surprised and delighted by their unique charms.
South Africa’s road system is good with a network of tarred roads branching off from the arterial highways and gravel roads only in the most rural places.
Get in touch to discuss your travels around South African cities and towns. We’d love to help you plan your trip.
Please Note: The details shared herein were correct at the time of publishing. However, with time some of this information may change. We recommend confirming information with suppliers prior to making final travel arrangements. If you do happen to find an issue with any information we’ve shared here, please feel free to contact us so that we can make the relevant changes.