Major Cities in South Africa
South Africa has nine provinces, each with their provincial capital city or town. Not all the provincial capitals are amongst the biggest cities in the country. Have a look at our table of Provincial cities with their population statistics.
The biggest cities in South Africa are Johannesburg, Soweto, Cape Town, Durban and Pretoria. See the 20 largest cities by population in the table below.
Other important cities are Port Elizabeth, East London, Nelspruit, Kimberley, Upington, Polokwane and Bloemfontein. Sandton, a suburb of Johannesburg, is the financial capital of South Africa. The northern suburbs of Johannesburg are also known for upmarket shopping.
For the international tourist, Johannesburg is often the entry into the country at the OR Tambo International Airport. If you intend to visit the Garden Route, some airlines also land at the Cape Town International Airport. For visitors only going to the Kruger National Park, there is an international airport in Nelspruit.
South Africa is a large country stretching for approximately 1750 km from Cape Town to the northern border and 1541 km wide at the widest point.
Anyone visiting the major cities in South Africa needs to be able to easily locate them in relation to the closest international airport.
The main international airports are the OR Tambo that serves Johannesburg and Pretoria, Lanseria International Airport that serves Johannesburg and Pretoria, Cape Town International Airport, King Shaka International Airport in Durban, and the Nelspruit International Airport which is very useful for those flying directly to the game parks in Mpumalanga.
Other international airports are the Pilansberg International Airport that serves Sun City and Polokwane also has an International Airport.
For those exploring the Garden Route, Port Elizabeth, East London and George all have airports that link to Johannesburg or Cape Town.
There are airports in over 130 towns in South Africa, so no matter where you need to be, you can connect by plane. See a list of all the airports in South Africa, with their relevant ICOA and IATA codes and airport names.