Best Universities in South AfricaTo determine the best universities in South Africa, universities are usually listed in the order of their greatness, a process which is called university ranking. Several factors are considered during the ranking process and they include; the extent of research and teaching by the university, general infrastructure and income.

In South Africa (and in many other countries), ranking is not done by local bodies, but instead by international university ranking schemes such as the Times Higher Education World University Rankings, The Center For World University Rankings, and the QS University Rankings.

South Africa is the home to some of the top-ranked Universities on the continent. As Africa’s most advanced economy, it comes as no surprise that several local Universities top the continental charts.

Among those that regularly make the list are: The University of Witwatersrand and the University of Cape Town, located in Johannesburg and Cape Town respectively.

Here are the best 5, as listed by UniRank.

The top 5 Best Universities in South Africa

1. University of Kwazulu-Natal

Best university of kwa zulu natal
University of Kwazulu-Natal

The University of KwaZulu-Natal is locaed in Durban city in KwaZulu-Natal province. It is the best institution of higher learning in South Africa, based on the 2019 ranking. This is despite being relatively young, having been founded in 2004. It is accredited and recognized by South Africa’s Department of Higher Education and training.

The university offers undergraduate, masters and doctorate degrees in fields such as arts, medicine, engineering, business, and science and technology. It also has satellite campuses in South Africa located in the following regions: Westville, Pinetown, and Pietermaritzburg.

This institution has an enrollment capacity of about 40,000 – 44,000 learners according to uniRank statistics. It is usually abbreviated as UKZN.


2. University of Cape Town

Located in Cape Town in the Western Cape province, university of Cape Town is the second-best university in South Africa. It occupies position number 163 in the worldwide rankings.

The university of cape town was founded in the year 1829, but became a fully fledged university in 1918. This makes it the oldest institution of higher learning in South Africa. It offers a variety of courses ranging from certificate, diploma, undergraduate degrees, masters degrees and doctorate degrees with the years of study depending on an individual’s program.


3. University of Pretoria

Top universities in South Africa
University of Pretoria

The University of Pretoria commonly abbreviates as (UP), is the third-best university in South Africa. Overall in the world, it is ranked number 198. The university was established in the year 1908 and is located in the city of Pretoria in Gauteng province.

It offers courses in bachelors, masters and doctorate degrees which are recognized in South Africa and some countries abroad. The university is accredited by the South African Department of Higher Learning and Training.

Admission into the university is based on the entrance examination and the student’s past academic performance and grades. Needy students are offered financial aid.

The university accepts applications for admission to join the university from both local and international students.


4. University of Witwatersrand

Having been ranked number 220 worldwide in the recent rankings, University of Witwatersrand is the fourth-best in South Africa and is usually abbreviated as (WITS). It is located in the urban areas of Johannesburg city in Gauteng province.

It is officially accredited by the South African Department of Higher Education and Training. The university offers a variety of courses at undergraduate, masters and doctorate level. It admits between 25,000 to 29,000 students.


5. University of Johannesburg

The best universities in South Africa
University of Johannesburg

The University of Johannesburg is the fifth-best university in South Africa and it has attained position number 235 in the overall world ranking. The university was founded in 2005 and is located in the city of Johannesburg in Gauteng province.

It has an overall enrollment capacity of over 45,000 students and it offers courses at the undergraduate, masters and doctorate levels. It also accepts international applicants and admission into the university is based on the past academic record of the learner.