10 Best Universities In South Africa

10 Best Universities In South Africa


Lofty Scholars has tried to figure out which universities in South Africa are the most popular or the best Universities In South Africa by making a list of the top ones. They looked at these things to decide:

  • To be on this list, the universities have to get permission or approval from the people in South Africa who make the rules about higher education.
  • To be considered for this list, universities should provide programs that last at least four years for undergraduate degrees (like bachelor’s degrees) or offer postgraduate degrees (such as master’s or doctoral degrees).
  • To be eligible for this list, the universities should mostly teach their courses in the traditional way, with students and teachers meeting in person, rather than through long-distance or online methods.

What are the Best Universities In South Africa

1) University of Cape Town

The University of Cape Town (UCT) is South Africa’s oldest university and is considered the best in the country. It’s also one of the most respected places for teaching and doing research in Africa.

It started in 1829 as the South African College for boys. But it got much bigger after 1880 because they found gold and diamonds up north, and they needed more people with skills for mining. This brought in a lot of money to help the university grow.

The University of Cape Town (UCT) has six parts: Commerce, Engineering & the Built Environment, Law, Health Sciences, Humanities, and Science. They get help from the Centre for Higher Education Development, which takes care of how students learn and teaches.

UCT also has more than 80 special research groups that help students doing advanced studies. And a lot of the best researchers in South Africa, who are like the top experts in their fields worldwide, work at UCT.

2) University of Pretoria

The University of Pretoria (UP) is the second-best university in South Africa. It’s a public university with seven campuses. The biggest one is in Hatfield, which is a pretty area in South Africa’s capital city known for hosting diplomats.

UP is known for being one of the top research universities in the world, and its campus is surrounded by beautiful jacaranda trees in Pretoria. The university is really good at teaching, learning, and doing research in all nine areas they have, like the only Faculty of Veterinary Science in South Africa and the best Faculty of Law and Business School in Africa.

They believe that their success should be judged not just by what they do, but also by how it helps the future of the whole continent.

3) University of the Witwatersrand

Wits University is in Johannesburg, South Africa, and it’s the third-best university in the country. This university has a long history connected to mining, being really good at education, being active in politics, and getting involved in the community.

Wits University has a history that goes back to the South African School of Mines in Kimberley, starting in 1896. In 1904, it moved to Johannesburg and became the Transvaal Technical Institute.

Then, in 1906, it got a new name, the Transvaal University College. Four years later, it became the South African School of Mines and Technology. Nowadays, Wits University is still a top place for learning in Africa and welcomes students and experts from all over the world.

4) University of Stellenbosch

Stellenbosch University (SU) is the fourth-best university in South Africa. It has a big group of students, about 29,000, and many come from other countries, about 4,000 from 100 different places. There are also 3,000 staff members, including 1,000 teachers. It has five campuses.

The main campus of Stellenbosch University has pathways that go between buildings. Some of these buildings are really old, and others are newer. The different styles of architecture show that the university has been around for a long time and is known for being excellent.

The campus is also really pretty because of the nice surroundings, and they have modern, environmentally friendly buildings and technology. They’re also thinking about the future and how to make the university last for a long time in a good way. That’s what makes Stellenbosch University special.

Stellenbosch University has ten parts, or faculties. These are:

  • Agriculture Sciences
  • Economic and Management Sciences
  • Medicine and Health Sciences
  • Engineering
  • Military Sciences
  • Arts and Social Sciences
  • Science
  • Education
  • Law
  • Theology

5) University of Johannesburg

The University of Johannesburg (UJ) is the fifth-best university in South Africa. It’s a lively and diverse place in the bustling city of Johannesburg, which is where it gets its name. UJ is proud to be part of South Africa and Africa, and it wants to help the continent grow through education.

UJ has grown into a place that welcomes everyone and helps them change for the better. There are over 50,000 students here, including more than 3,000 from 80 different countries. It’s one of the biggest universities in South Africa that you can attend in person among the 26 public ones.

The university has 7 parts, called faculties, and one college. These are: Education, Law, Humanities, Art, Design and Architecture, Health Sciences, Science, Engineering and the Built Environment. There’s also the College of Business and Economics, which includes the new Johannesburg Business School.

UJ has four different places where students go to study. These are the Auckland Park Bunting Road Campus, the Auckland Park Kingsway Campus, the Doornfontein Campus, and the Soweto Campus.

6) North-West University

The North-West University (NWU) is one of the best universities in South Africa. It works together as one big institution across three campuses. They want to be fair, help make things right, and do really good teaching and research that can compete worldwide.

The university’s main things, like teaching and research, are closely connected to working with the community and coming up with new ideas. They have eight parts, and most of them help both students who are far away and those who come to classes in person.

NWU doesn’t just give an education; it gives people a chance in life. Students have lots of options and can choose what works best for them to reach their goals and get ready for their jobs. Also, NWU is connected with universities and institutions around the world. They work together with them on things like students and teachers going to other places, working together on academic and research stuff, and sharing culture and sports ideas.

7) University of KwaZulu-Natal

The University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN) is one of South Africa’s top universities. It’s a combination of two big schools in KwaZulu-Natal: the University of Natal and the University of Durban-Westville. UKZN wants to be a university that really represents South Africa, not just in terms of different people, but also in what it believes in and how it helps the community.

UKZN is all about being really good at teaching and doing new things in research. They also want to work closely with society and make a big impact. They aim to be the top university for African studies and get their ideas from an African way of thinking. They take their duty to help Africa grow very seriously.

8) Rhodes University

Rhodes University is in Grahamstown, South Africa, and it’s also considered one of the best universities in the country. Even though it’s not very big, it has a lot of students who do well in their courses and graduate, especially at the undergraduate level. The teachers here also do a lot of research and are really good at it.

Rhodes University does well because it gets really good students, the teachers care a lot about helping students do their best, and the teaching is really good too. Out of the 7,000 students at the university, 26% are studying for advanced degrees, and 20% come from other countries (like 40 different countries), which makes Rhodes a lively and diverse place for learning.

Rhodes University has lots of different degrees you can study, both for your first degree and for advanced studies. They have programs in Humanities, Science, Commerce, Pharmacy, Law, and Education. The best thing is that there are enough teachers for every student, so you can easily talk to your teachers and get help when you need it.

Rhodes University is proud of its motto, “Where Leaders Learn.” They educate students who become smart thinkers, skilled experts, and thoughtful, caring, and kind members of society. These graduates can help make society better by working on its economic and social growth and making sure it’s fair, equal, and democratic.

9) University of the Western Cape

The University of the Western Cape is in the Bellville area of Cape Town, South Africa. It’s the ninth-best university in the country. This public university has a long history of using creativity to fight against unfair treatment, discrimination, and disadvantages.

UWC has been a big part of the important changes in South Africa’s history. It has been a leader among academic institutions and has helped make the country fairer and more active.

The university has worked hard to make sure that everyone, especially those who were treated unfairly in the past, can be part of the country’s life and get a good education. They focus on making education accessible, fair, and of high quality.

10) University of the Free State

The University of the Free State is in Bloemfontein, which is an important city in South Africa. It’s the capital of the Free State Province and also where the country’s legal matters are decided. People often call it the ‘City of Roses’ because many roses bloom there in the summer.

The University of the Free State has been around since 1904 and has become a well-known university with scholars who are known around the world. They work with other universities from different countries, which helps them have lots of knowledge and skills.

UFS is a university that focuses on research, cares about its students, and works closely with the region it’s in. They have seven parts, called faculties. They help create graduates who can compete worldwide and also share their knowledge to make the world fairer.

If you decide to do a postgraduate degree at UFS, it will make you more competitive in the job market, which can be tough and complicated. You’ll become an expert in your field, learn how to do research to understand and use new information, and get better at adapting and staying strong in a fast-changing and challenging job world.

The Postgraduate School at UFS helps postgraduate students reach their academic goals by making it easier for them to build their research skills and providing money to help with research for Master’s and PhD degrees.


What is the cost for international students studying in South Africa?

Studying in South Africa can cost different amounts depending on the university and the course you pick. On average, international students might pay tuition fees between R14,000 and R34,000 each year. You should also plan to have about R5,300 to R13,000 each month for living expenses.

Is South Africa a good destination for studying abroad?

South Africa is a great choice for studying abroad! The country’s rich mix of cultures and diversity makes it a perfect place for students from all over the world, no matter where they come from.

Are international students allowed to work and study in South Africa?

International students studying in South Africa are allowed to work part-time while they are studying. If they have a valid student visa, they can look for jobs in the country while they are also studying at a university or college.

Author Profile

Chikezie Faithfulness
Chikezie Faithfulness
Hello, I'm Chikezie Faithfulness Odinakachukwu, and I'm a student at the Federal University of Technology Owerri. I'm majoring in Industrial Chemistry.

As a student, and I've always wanted to learn more about studying in other countries. Because of this, I began a blog called "Lofty Scholars" where I talk about schools and universities overseas that are both reachable and reasonably priced for African students and people from around the world.

My blog covers various topis, such as Schools in Different Countries For International Students, a guide for students, and I work hard to give my readers useful advice and valuable information.

Besides blogging, I also like entertainment and other hobbies. I aim to use my blog to motivate and connect with fellow students who have similar interests and ambitions.

I'm constantly searching for chances to develop as a blogger and make a good influence on my readers. I hope you'll come along with me on this journey.

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