The Most Beautiful City in South Africa: A Visual Delight

Choose the city you think is the most beautiful!

Author: Gregor Krambs
Updated on Sep 14, 2023 05:46
Discover the enchanting beauty of South Africa's urban gems by participating in our exclusive ranking of "What is the most beautiful city in South Africa?" Join thousands of fellow travelers and locals as they cast their votes for their favorite cities, showcasing the mesmerizing landscapes, vibrant cultures, and architectural marvels that make each destination truly unique. Will the breathtaking coastal charm of Cape Town reign supreme, or will the bustling energy of Johannesburg steal the show? Perhaps the lush greenery of Durban or the rich history of Pretoria will emerge victorious! Don't see your personal favorite on our list? Fear not! You can also suggest a missing option and contribute to unveiling the definitive ranking of South Africa's most beautiful cities. So, dive into this captivating quest and let your voice be heard as we uncover the unparalleled allure of South Africa's urban wonders together!

What Is the Most Beautiful City in South Africa? (September 2023)

  1. 1
    Cape Town
    Diego Delso · CC BY-SA 4.0

    Cape Town

    Sir George Grey
    Cape Town - known for its stunning natural beauty, diverse culture, and iconic landmarks such as Table Mountain and the V&A Waterfront.
    Cape Town, located on the southwest coast of South Africa, is widely regarded as one of the most beautiful cities in the world. It is known for its stunning natural landscapes, vibrant culture, and rich history. The city offers a unique combination of mountains, ocean views, and urban charm, making it a popular tourist destination.
    • Table Mountain: Iconic flat-topped mountain overlooking the city.
    • Robben Island: Historic island prison where Nelson Mandela was held captive.
    • V&A Waterfront: Popular shopping, dining, and entertainment district.
    • Cape Point: Breathtaking nature reserve at the tip of the Cape Peninsula.
    • Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden: Beautiful garden showcasing South African flora.
    Cape Town in other rankings
  2. 2
    Durban is offers a beautiful beachfront promenade, a bustling city center, and a rich Indian culture.
    Durban is a vibrant coastal city located in the KwaZulu-Natal province of South Africa. With its stunning beaches, warm climate, and diverse culture, it is considered one of the most beautiful cities in the country. Durban is known for its bustling waterfront Promenade, breathtaking skyline, and rich historical heritage.
    • Population: Approximately 3.8 million people
    • Geographical Location: Located on the east coast of South Africa, bordered by the Indian Ocean
    • Beaches: Durban boasts some of the most beautiful and pristine beaches in South Africa, including the popular Golden Mile beachfront.
    • Climate: Durban has a subtropical climate, with hot and humid summers and mild winters.
    • Architecture: The city showcases a blend of colonial, Indian, and modern architectural styles.
  3. 3
    .prometheus. · CC BY-SA 3.0
    Knysna - located on the Garden Route, this coastal town is known for its lagoon, forests, and scenic views.
    Knysna is a stunning city located in the Western Cape province of South Africa. It is known for its breathtaking natural beauty, captivating lagoons, pristine beaches, and lush forests. Knysna is nestled between the Outeniqua Mountains and the Indian Ocean, creating a picturesque setting that attracts visitors from all over the world.
    • Population: Approximately 77,000
    • Location: Western Cape, South Africa
    • Climate: Mediterranean climate, with mild to warm summers and mild winters
    • Key Attraction: Knysna Heads - Magnificent sandstone cliffs guarding the entrance to the Knysna Lagoon
    • Tourist Activities: Boat cruises, hiking, bird watching, golfing, and exploring the Knysna Forest
  4. 4


    Simon van der Stel
    Stellenbosch is a picturesque town in the Western Cape, known for its vineyards, Cape Dutch architecture, and vibrant university culture.
    Stellenbosch is a picturesque city located in the Western Cape province of South Africa. It is widely regarded as one of the most beautiful cities in the country, known for its stunning Cape Dutch architecture and surrounding vineyards. Stellenbosch offers visitors a unique combination of old-world charm and vibrant modernity.
    • Location: Western Cape province, South Africa
    • Architecture: Cape Dutch style
    • Surroundings: Lush vineyards and rolling hills
    • Wine: Renowned for wine production and vineyards
    • University: Home to Stellenbosch University
    Stellenbosch in other rankings
  5. 5
    User:(WT-shared) NJR ZA · CC BY-SA 4.0
    Franschhoek - another wine town in the Western Cape, known for its French-inspired architecture, excellent restaurants, and stunning mountain views.
    Franschhoek is a picturesque town located in the Western Cape province of South Africa. Known as the 'Food and Wine Capital' of the country, it is nestled in a valley surrounded by majestic mountains and vineyards, making it one of the most beautiful cities in South Africa.
    • Location: Western Cape, South Africa
    • Surroundings: Mountainous landscape and vineyards
    • Scenic Beauty: Breathtaking views of the countryside
    • Wine: Renowned for its world-class wineries and wine production
    • Cuisine: Home to renowned restaurants and gourmet dining experiences
  6. 6
    South Africa's largest city, known for its rich history, vibrant arts scene, and bustling city life.
    Johannesburg is a vibrant and cosmopolitan city located in South Africa. It is the largest city in the country and serves as the economic and cultural hub. With its rich history, diverse population, and stunning skyline, Johannesburg offers a unique blend of urban excitement and natural beauty.
    • Population: Approximately 5 million people
    • Climate: Mediterranean climate with mild winters and warm summers
    • Landmarks: Nelson Mandela Square, Apartheid Museum, Johannesburg Art Gallery
    • Economy: Major economic center with a strong focus on finance, mining, and telecommunications
    • Cultural Diversity: Home to people from various ethnic and cultural backgrounds
  7. 7
    Port Elizabeth
    Leo za1 · CC BY-SA 3.0

    Port Elizabeth

    Sir Rufane Donkin
    Port Elizabeth is a coastal city known for its beautiful beaches, wildlife reserves, and history as a major port of the Eastern Cape.
    Port Elizabeth is a coastal city located along the Eastern Cape Province of South Africa. It is known for its stunning beaches, historical attractions, and friendly atmosphere. The city offers a harmonious blend of natural beauty and urban development, making it a popular destination for tourists and locals alike.
    • Location: Port Elizabeth is situated on the shores of Algoa Bay, offering picturesque views of the Indian Ocean.
    • Beaches: The city is renowned for its pristine beaches, such as Hobie Beach and King's Beach, which are perfect for swimming, sunbathing, and water sports.
    • Wildlife: Port Elizabeth is home to various wildlife reserves, including the famous Addo Elephant National Park, where visitors can observe elephants, lions, rhinos, and other fascinating species.
    • Historical Sites: The city boasts a rich history, evident through its numerous historical sites, such as Fort Frederick, Donkin Reserve, and the heritage-filled Route 67.
    • Vibrant Culture: Port Elizabeth is known for its diverse culture, showcased through vibrant festivals, art galleries, and local cuisine.
  8. 8
    Hermanus is a seaside town known for its whale watching, beautiful beaches, and stunning coastal walks.
    Hermanus is a stunning coastal town located in the Western Cape province of South Africa. Known as the whale-watching capital of the world, it offers breathtaking natural beauty and a tranquil atmosphere. The town is situated between the majestic mountains and the deep blue ocean, providing visitors with a picturesque setting.
    • Whale Watching: Hermanus is famous for its incredible whale-watching opportunities. Southern Right Whales can be seen from the cliffs or even up close on a boat tour.
    • Cliff Path: The Hermanus Cliff Path is a scenic walking trail that extends for around 12 kilometers along the rugged coastline. It offers stunning panoramic views of the ocean and is a prime spot for whale sightings.
    • Grotto Beach: Hermanus is home to Grotto Beach, a Blue Flag beach boasting pristine white sand and crystal-clear waters. It is perfect for relaxing, swimming, or strolling along the shoreline.
    • Wine Tasting: The town is a gateway to the renowned Hemel-en-Aarde Valley wine region, where visitors can indulge in wine tasting at world-class vineyards and estates.
    • Fernkloof Nature Reserve: Nature enthusiasts can explore the Fernkloof Nature Reserve, which offers various hiking trails, indigenous flora, and stunning views of the surrounding mountains and coastline.
  9. 9
    Plettenberg Bay
    User: (WT-shared) NJR ZA at wts wikivoyage · CC BY-SA 1.0
    Plettenberg Bay - another coastal town on the Garden Route, known for its beautiful beaches, nature reserves, and lively holiday atmosphere.
    Plettenberg Bay is a breathtaking coastal town located in the Western Cape province of South Africa. It is widely regarded as one of the most beautiful cities in the country, renowned for its pristine beaches, azure-blue waters, and majestic landscapes. With its mild climate, Plettenberg Bay offers visitors a year-round paradise for outdoor activities and relaxation.
    • Location: Western Cape province, South Africa
    • Beaches: Plettenberg Bay boasts stunning, unspoiled beaches such as Robberg Beach and Lookout Beach.
    • Nature Reserves: The Robberg Nature Reserve and the Tsitsikamma National Park are nearby, offering visitors diverse ecosystems and hiking opportunities.
    • Whale Watching: Plettenberg Bay is a popular spot for whale watching during the migration season (July-November).
    • Water Activities: Visitors can enjoy surfing, kayaking, snorkeling, and paddleboarding in the crystal-clear waters.
  10. 10
    South Africa's administrative capital, known for its beautiful Jacaranda-lined streets, historic landmarks, and vibrant cultural scene.
    Pretoria is a picturesque city located in the northern part of South Africa. It serves as the administrative capital of the country and is known for its rich history, stunning architecture, and beautiful gardens.
    • Population: Approximately 2 million people.
    • Climate: Pretoria has a subtropical climate with hot summers and mild winters.
    • Union Buildings: The Union Buildings, a prominent landmark, house the offices of the South African government and offer breathtaking views of the city.
    • Jacaranda Trees: Pretoria is known as the 'Jacaranda City' due to the thousands of jacaranda trees that line its streets, transforming the city into a purple paradise during blooming season.
    • Pretoria National Botanical Garden: This botanical garden is one of the city's many beautiful green spaces, featuring diverse plant species, tranquil trails, and picturesque picnic spots.

Missing your favorite city?


Ranking factors for beautiful city

  1. Natural Scenery
    Assess the city's natural beauty, including its surrounding landscapes, beaches, mountains, parks, or other natural highlights that make it picturesque.
  2. Urban Design and Architecture
    Consider the city's architectural and design qualities, such as historic buildings, modern skyscrapers, and well-planned urban spaces.
  3. Cleanliness
    Evaluate the cleanliness of the streets, public spaces, and overall environment.
  4. Cultural Attractions
    Take into account the city's museums, galleries, and other cultural institutions that contribute to its beauty.
  5. Green Spaces and Parks
    Consider the number, quality, and accessibility of public parks and green spaces in the city.
  6. Water Features
    Assess the presence of water features such as rivers, lakes, or oceanfronts that enhance the city's beauty.
  7. Street Art and Public Art
    Look at the presence and quality of street art and public art installations throughout the city.
  8. Vibrancy and Atmosphere
    Evaluate the general atmosphere and vibrancy of the city, including its nightlife, events, and overall energy.
  9. Infrastructure
    Consider the quality and functionality of the city's transport, roads, and other infrastructure.
  10. Safety
    Take into account the overall safety of the city, including crime rates and the general feeling of security.
  11. Climate
    Assess the city's climate and how it contributes to its beauty, such as sunny weather or seasonal changes.
  12. Historical Significance
    Consider the city's historical significance and how it has been preserved through architecture and monuments.

About this ranking

This is a community-based ranking of the most beautiful city in South Africa. We do our best to provide fair voting, but it is not intended to be exhaustive. So if you notice something or your favorite city is missing from the list, feel free to help us improve the ranking.


  • 160 votes
  • 10 ranked items

Voting Rules

A participant may cast an up or down vote for each city once every 24 hours. The rank of each city is then calculated from the weighted sum of all up and down votes.

More information on most beautiful city in south africa

South Africa is a country known for its diverse culture, stunning landscapes, and vibrant cities. From the bustling metropolis of Johannesburg to the coastal beauty of Cape Town, there are plenty of cities to explore and admire. However, when it comes to the title of the most beautiful city in South Africa, the competition is fierce. Each city has its unique charm and appeal, making it a tough decision to choose just one. That's why we've created this poll to gather opinions from people all over the world and determine which city is truly the most beautiful in South Africa. So, whether you're a local or a visitor, we encourage you to cast your vote and let your voice be heard.