South Africa is the ninth largest country in Africa and the 25th largest in the World by land area. As the name suggests, the country is on the Southern part of Africa and borders Namibia, Botswana, and Zimbabwe on it's North. Based on the latest United Nations estimates, SA has a population of around 58 million people as of Thursday 25th July, 2019. Some of the largest cities in South Africa are renowned worldwide for culture and attractive sites.
South Africa is a multicultural country featuring different languages including English, Xhosa, Zulu, Afrikaans, Tsonga, Tswana, and Swati among others. Diversity makes cities in South Africa more attractive to people internationally. The World Bank classifies SA as an upper-middle-income economy. So, what are the largest cities in South Africa?
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20 of the largest cities in South Africa
Did you know that in as much as Gauteng is the biggest province in South Africa, it is however, the smallest province by land area? With this information in mind, our list of cities in South Africa is classified based on the population when determining the one that is largest. So, which is the most populated city in South Africa? The major cities in South Africa automatically become part of the list since the population is higher in urban areas.
Johannesburg is the biggest city in South Africa population-wise, with around 5.6 million people as of 2019. The city is part of the Gauteng, the largest province in South Africa in population, and is also part of the 50 largest urban areas in the world. Jo'burg is home to the Apartheid Museum, Mandela House, Gold Reef City, and Constitution Hills Human Rights Precinct which offers information to the history of SA. Additionally, Soweto, the biggest township in South Africa by population is in Johannesburg.
2. Cape Town
Also sometimes known as the Mother City, Cape Town is the oldest city in South Africa. Cape Town South Africa is the capital of the legislature in SA, housing the Parliament of South Africa. The city is part of the Western Cape province which is the fourth largest both by population and land. The city has a population of around 4.5 million people. Cape Town is home to some attractions including the Table Mountain Park and Cliffton Beach.
eThekwini is a metropolitan municipality that encompasses several South African cities. The cities include Durban, Umlazi, Chatsworth, and Kwa-Mashu. eThekwini as part of the KwaZulu-Natal province which is the second biggest province in South Africa by population and the third smallest by land area. Durban, being one of the most known towns in South Africa, is home to the famous Moses Mabhida Stadium and uShaka Marine World. Durban also has the busiest port in South Africa. The city is home to around 3.4 million people.
Ekurhuleni is also a metropolitan municipality in the Gauteng province. The city has several towns in South Africa including Katlehong, Tembisa, and Boksburg. Ekurhuleni had a population of around 3.1 million people back in 2011, therefore the number is much higher at the moment. Tembisa is one of the biggest townships in South Africa by population.
Tshwane is a metropolitan municipality part of the Gauteng Province in South Africa. One of the biggest cities in South Africa, Pretoria, is a part of this municipality. Other towns in South Africa part of Tshwane include Soshanguve, Mamelodi, and Centurion. In 2011, the city had a population of around 2.9 million people. South Africa City Pretoria is home to the Union Buildings and the Voortrekker Monument. Pretoria is also the administrative capital of our country.
6. Nelson Mandela Bay
Nelson Mandela Bay is a metropolitan municipality in the Eastern Cape Province. Port Elizabeth is part of this metropolitan municipality, and the towns in this municipality include Uitenhage and Despatch. The name was chosen to honor former President Nelson Mandela. Back in 2011, the municipality had a population of around 1.1 million. Eastern Cape Province is the third biggest province in South Africa by population and second-biggest by land area.
7. Buffalo City
Buffalo City is a metropolitan municipality part of the Eastern Cape Province. The towns in this municipality include East London, Bhisho and King William’s Town. Buffalo City had a population of around 755,200 in 2011.
Mangaung is a metropolitan municipality, part of the Free State province in South Africa. Free State is the second smallest province by population and the third-largest by land area. Also, Bloemfontein is within this municipality. In 2011, Mangaung had a population of around 747,431
Emfuleni is a local municipality in Gauteng province. Back in 2011, Emfuleni had a population of around 721,663.
Polokwane is part of the Limpopo Province in SA. Polokwane, which was among the cities that hosted the 2010 FIFA World Cup, had a population of 628,999 in 2011. Limpopo is the fifth largest province both by population and land area.
Msunduzi is a municipality part of the KwaZulu-Natal Province. South Africa city Pietermaritzburg is part of this municipality. Msunduzi has a population of around 618,536 people in 2011.
Thulamela is a local municipality in the Limpopo Province, and had a population of around 618,462 people back in 2011.
Mbombela is a local municipality in the Mpumalanga Province. Mbombela had a population of around 588,794 people in 2011. Mpumalanga is the sixth biggest province by population and second smallest by land area.
Rustenburg is a local municipality in the North West Province, and had a population of around 549,575 individuals in 2011. North West Province is the third smallest province by population and sixth largest by land area.
Bushbuckridge is a local municipality in the Mpumalanga Province and had a population of 541,248 in 2011.
Makhado is a local municipality in the Limpopo Province. In 2011, Makhado had a population of around 516,031 people.
Madibeng is a local municipality in the North West Province. It had a population of around 477,381 back in 2011.
18. King Sabata Dalindyebo
King Sabata Dalindyebo municipality is part of the Eastern Cape Province, and had a population of 451,710 people 8 years ago.
Matjhabeng is a local municipality in the Free State Province, and had a population of 406,461 in 2011.
20. City of Matlosana
City of Matlosana municipality is part of the North West Province. Major towns in this municipality are Hartbeesfontein, Klerksdorp, Orkney, and Stilfontein. The City of Matlosana had a population of around 398,676 people in 2011.
Populations in municipalities depend on how many towns in South Africa are in a particular region and their respective population. The largest cities in South Africa are in the famous provinces, and interestingly, the biggest province, Northern Cape, is the least populated province in South Africa. In which city are you? This information should help you know your city better in terms of population size.