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Major cities


- Pulsating, historical and multicultural -

South Africa's major cities all have something special to offer. Best known is the undoubtedly Cape Town, known as one of the world's most beautiful cities. But don't forget to give Johannesburg's nightlife a chance or explore historical Pretoria. Take a trip to Durban with all its different cultures or to Port Elizabeth with its pleasant climate and excellent beaches.
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South Africa's most famous city, Cape Town, is located in the province of Western Cape on the Atlantic coast in the southwest part of the country and has a little more 3 million inhabitants. The city is the legislative capital of South Africa, which means that the Parliament has its seat here.

Cape Town has a rich history and is a cultural melting pot with a diversity that can be traced from various African tribes, as well as French, Dutch, British and German colonists.

In Cape Town, the seasons are distinct - in the winter cold fronts come in from the Atlantic Ocean with heavy rains and strong winds, while summer is hot and dry when warm winds from the southeast blow in over the Cape Peninsula.

Cape Town has been voted one of the top international destinations in the world with its natural beauty and the great variety of activities.

© Tomas Lidberg

Durban is the capital of the province of KwaZulu-Natal and has about 2.8 million people live there. The city is located in the country's subtropical climate and is therefore warm all year round. During winter, from June to August, the temperature is about 20 degrees during the day and 10 degrees at night. During the rest of the year, it's often over 30 degrees and it will not be much colder than 20 degrees at night. Temperatures exceeding 40 degrees occur every summer and the humidity is often very high.

Durban is a popular tourist resort with kilometres of sandy beaches and perfect waves for surfers. Durban also has a very rich cultural life and the city truly lives up to being a city in the rainbow nation of South Africa.


Johannesburg is the capital of the province of Gauteng. It is, with its 3.6 million inhabitants, South Africa's largest city and also one of the largest cities in the world, only considering the area. Many believe that Johannesburg is South Africa's capital city, but that is not the case, the country's three capital cities are Pretoria, Cape Town and Bloemfontein.

The city is located on a high plateau (Highveld) at 1 753 meters above sea level. The climate is dry, but heavy downpours often occur in late afternoons between October and April.


In the province of Eastern Cape by the beaches of Algoa Bay is Port Elizabeth, often shortened to PE. The city is South Africa's fifth largest city with nearly 1.5 million people and is popularly known as Friendly City or the Windy City.

Port Elizabeth might not be South Africa's most charming city but it's still known for its fine weather and safe sandy beaches and the city is also an important centre for the South African motor industry. Temperatures are moderate all year round with no clear rain or dry periods. Summers are hot and not too humid and winters mild and pleasant, allowing you to surf, windsurf and diving all year round.

© Destination South Africa

Next door to Johannesburg lies Pretoria, also in the province of Gauteng, and is home to 1.4 million South Africans. Pretoria is the administrative capital of the country. The city lies at an altitude of 1 360 meters above sea level, which means that the temperatures are a little higher here than in Johannesburg.

Pretoria is also known as Jacaranda City due to the thousands of Jacaranda trees planted along city streets. Today more than 70 000 jacaranda trees grow here and when the trees bloom in late October the whole city seems to be bathing in lilac flowers.

The city has a long and fascinating history; here you will find many important buildings, including the Voortrekker Monument and The Union Building.
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