List of Largest Cities in South Africa

Have you ever wondered which are the largest cities in South Africa?

On the African map, South Africa sits at the southern tip. It borders both the Atlantic and Indian ocean.

The 25th largest country in the world has a total of about 53 million people. To the north, it is bordered by Botswana, Namibia, and Zimbabwe.

While on the east side is Mozambique and Swaziland is on its northeast side.

The total area of South Africa is 1,214,470 km2, has a GDP per capita of $13,500, and its currency is the South African Rand.

At this point, it’s good to note that South Africa gained its independence in 1994, making it the last African country to be free from colonial rule.

It has a stable economy and is classified as an upper-middle-class economy by the World Bank.

Also, it boasts of rich culture diversity thanks to the different ethnic groups that inhabit the various cities.

This article lists the ten largest cities in South Africa according to size and population.

The Ten Largest Cities in South Africa

1. Johannesburg

Johannesburg, or as it’s fondly known as Joburg, is the largest city in South Africa. And has a population of about 5.6 million.

It is located in Gauteng province and houses South Africa’s constitutional court.

Also, it is one of the major financial centres in South Africa, thanks to the mining industry that has thrived since colonial times.

It is home to the world’s most enormous slams Soweto, the Apartheid Museum, Mandela House, Gold Reef City.

And the Constitution Hills Human Rights Precinct which offers information to the history of SA.

It’s in this city that apartheid was rampant between 1948 and 1990.

Despite South Africa gaining its independence from the Apartheid rule Johannesburg still records very high crime rates in some parts of the city.

2. Cape Town

With a population of 4.5 million people, Capetown settles as the second-largest city in South Africa.

It is in the province of Western Cape and covers an area of 400.28 km2 (154.55 sq mi).

Additionally, it’s the country’s capital of legislature.

Being a coastal town, Capetown is a beautiful tourist destination.

The main tourist attractions are the table mountain national park, Cliffton Beach, Boulders Beach, Victoria & Alfred Waterfront, Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden.

Hense making it the most significant contributor to the country’s foreign exchange

3. Ethekwini

Ethekwini is officially the “metropolitan municipality” in South Africa.

It has a population of 3.4 million and includes cities of Durban, Umlazi, Kwa Mashu and Chatsworth.

It covers an area of 2,291 km2 (885 sq mi) and is one of the districts in Kwa Zulu Natal province.

Durban is the principal and busiest port in South Africa.

Also, it boasts of a warm subtropical climate, extensive beaches and the Golden Mile.

This is also a tourist destination with visitors from all over the world. Famous for the Moses Mabhida Stadium and Ushaka Marine World.

4. Ekurhuleni

Ekurhuleni is another metropolitan municipality. Among the cities found in Ekurhuleni are Tembisa, and Boksburg.

Ekurhuleni is located in the province of Gauteng. Its climatic conditions vary from dry winters to warm summer months.

Its population is at 3.1 million people by 2011 and covers an area of 1,975 km2 (763 sq mi)

5. Tshwane

Tshwane is Another metropolitan municipality in Gauteng province of South Africa. Its population was around 2.9 million people in 2011.

The combinations of all the cities within it place Tshuwane Municipality at the fifth slot on the list of the largest cities in South Africa.

It covers an area of 6,298 km2 (2,432 sq mi).

Among the cities that make up the municipality of Tshwane are Pretoria, Soshanguve, Mamelodi and Centurion.

Pretoria is also the capital city of The South African Government.

It is also home to The Union buildings and Voortrekker Monument.

6. Nelson Mandela Bay

Nelson Mandela Bay is in the province of Eastern Cape. It is also a Municipality that contains several cities.

The Metropolitan Municipality was named in honour of former president Nelson Mandella.
Uitenhage and Despatch towns are located in the Nelson Mandela Bay municipality.

Port Elizabeth is part of it too.

In 2011 it had a population of 1.1 million people and an area of 1,959 km2 (756 sq mi).

7. Buffalo City

Buffalo city is a Metropolitan municipality found in the Eastern Cape Province of South Africa.

The towns that constitute the municipality are East London, King Williams Town and Bisho.

It has a population of around 755, 200 people and covers an area of 2,536 km2 (979 sq mi).

The Metropolitan municipality has a well-developed manufacturing base. The primary industry is that of manufacturing vehicles.

It is home to Mercedes-Benz South Africa (MBSA) which has an assembly plant next to the port of East London.

In the plant, a variety of vehicles are produced for export.

8. Mangaung

Mangaung is also a metropolitan municipality, in the Free State province in South Africa.

Free State province is the second smallest province by population but third-largest by land area.

By 2011 it had a population of 747431 and covers an area of 6,284 km2 (2,426 sq mi).
Bloemfontein is the capital city of Free State province.

9. Emfuleni

Emfuleni is a municipality in Gauteng Province. By 2011 its population was at 721 633.

It covers an area of 966 km2 (373 sq mi).

And is the place where the Vaal Triangle well is located.

Famous for its contribution to the steel and iron industry in South Africa.

10. Polokwane

The name Polokwane implies a place of safety.

Formally known as Pietersburg, it is the capital city of the Limpopo Province of South Africa.

It covers an area of 106.84 km2 (41.25 sq mi), and its population was 628,999 in 2011.

It became famous as it was among the cities that hosted the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

Summing-up on the 10 Largest Cities in South Africa

From the description above, South Africa is no doubt a big country.

After it attained its independence, the Dutch were allowed to stay, and so it has various national languages.

Apart from English, there are ten official languages spoken in South Africa.

They include; Northern Sotho, Ndebele, SiSwati, Tsonga, Tswana, Venda, Xhosa, Sotho, Zulu and Afrikaans. In total there are at least 35 languages spoken in South Africa.

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