Best Universities in South Africa 2024 Rankings

Best Universities in South Africa (1)

These eight best universities in South Africa give you lots of exciting academic opportunities so you can excel in your favorite subject.

The 2024 research is done based on academic reputation, student employment & multiple other factors.

Overall Best Universities in South Africa in 2024

You can study in any of these South African universities and get a reliable international degree.

This List is created without affiliation with any of the university!

1. University of Cape Town

University of Cape Town Website

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Well, you must have heard about the University of Cape Town before. It is one of the most renowned and front-runner universities in the South African education system.

In the presence of the strongest education setup, the University of Cape Town in South Africa is actively working to enhance the education system and attract more international students.

Not only that, the university can give you whatever you want when it comes to education. The University of Cape Town allows you to explore multiple cultures and learn new things from other students.

Since it’s an international University, many students from different regions of the world are studying. You interact with them and learn different things.

It provides you with the learning of diverse cultures and amazing traditions. Well, the university is located near Cape Town’s Table Mountain. This means you can enjoy the most beautiful view out there.

I can say if you get enrolled in the University of Cape Town, you will definitely say that it is one of the most attractive, beautiful, and colorful universities you have ever seen in your life.

Let’s look at some of the advantages and disadvantages of studying at this university so you know everything about the university and can make your final choice.


  • The university provides you with endless entertainment.
  • You come across different cultured students.
  • It offers you several adventure travels.
  • It allows you to visit the galleries of Woodstock.
  • You will enjoy great views.
  • The university is located at the foot of Cape Town Table Mountain.


  • One of the hardest things while studying at the University of Cape Town is to stay focused. This is because, with many appealing things around you, staying fully concentrated and focused on your studies becomes quite difficult. You have to ensure that you are properly balancing your education and fun side by side without overloading any of them.

2. University of Kwazulu – Natal

University of Kwazulu - Natal

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This University of Kwazulu-Natal is one of the “premier University of African scholarships” that gives you many options for courses and programs you want to study for higher education. This university is the base of the African Health Research Institute, mainly for HIV, tuberculosis, and AIDS.

This is the combination of two of the universities that were joined together in the year 2004. It is a combination of the University of Durban Westville and the University of Natal. Even before their joining, both of these were the largest educational institutes in the province.

Well, if you truly want to learn in pure South African society, this university would be the best choice you can go with. It reflects the true society of South Africa when it comes to gender, class, race, values, and priorities.

This university is in second place in South African Universities and has four of its colleges, all with their own set of schools.


  • University truly reflects South African society.
  • It is in the 4th place among South African universities.
  • It’s a combination of the two largest educational institutes in South Africa.
  • The university is ideal for you if you are looking for scientific innovation, academic quality, and true engagement with South African society.


  • Gateway shopping center is near, attracting you to shop a lot. There a high chance you will spend all of your money there. So be careful!

3. Stellenbosch University

Stellenbosch University

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By providing you with lots of options of courses from political science to arts to social studies, African studies, and theology, Stellenbosch University has lots of things for you.

The data says the University has already taken over 30000 students from international countries and has provided them with the education they are looking for.

Moreover, Stellenbosch University is quite reliable to study as it has already taken students from around 100 countries worldwide. Plus, if you want to learn more about medical studies and are looking for a career in the medical field, this university is the right place for you.

It is the pioneer research center for tuberculosis and has ten schools (known as faculties in South African terms) offering you numerous choices to select your subjects and courses.

Additionally, Stellenbosch University is located in Stellenbosch town. Well, don’t worry; the town is not far from Cape Town. You are only 30 miles from Cape Town, so you can visit Cape Town whenever and wherever you want.


  • The university is away from the hustles of city life.
  • The university offers you numerous medical fields.
  • It is the research center for tuberculosis.
  • It has ten faculties offering you a wide range of education.
  • Thirty thousand students have already studied at the university.
  • The university claims that it has students from over 100 countries worldwide.


  • This Stellenbosch University is located in the Stellenbosch area, and South Africa’s Stellenbosch area is renowned for manufacturing lots of wine annually. From almost 1 billion liters of wine that is produced in South Africa each year, the Stellenbosch area manufactures most of it. And this may become tempting for students studying at this University.

4. University of Witwatersrand

University of Witwatersrand

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This is another South African University that is highly reliable and renowned for its educational system. It was the first university in South Africa to embrace non-discrimination. And this was why the university faced many complications and conflicts in the apartheid era.

But the best part is the university survived and continued to face the challenges of the surroundings. This is the University of Witwatersrand, which is also called WITS, that offers you five key faculties.

This includes Engineering and The Built Environment, Humanity and Science, Health Sciences, Commerce Law, and Management.

The faculty of humanity at the University of Witwatersrand is ranked at the number one position among all other African universities. So if you want to get enrolled in humanities and are looking for the best university in South Africa, this one would be the best choice.

Furthermore, the university possesses 400 acres of land and has two campuses with 17 residences and 11 libraries in it. Around 27 A-rated researchers in the university are helping students with research according to their courses and subjects.

With more than 40000 students, the University has 6000 + employees in it. So now you can have an idea of how reliable the university is and how much education it can give you.


  • There are 27 A-rated researchers.
  • 9% of overseas students are studying at the university.
  • Forty thousand students are studying.
  • We have two campuses and 11 libraries for the students.
  • It is among the best global universities, ranking at 192nd place.
  • The research about the university says that 93% of the students get a job within less than six months of graduation from this institution.


  • The university often faces water problems.

5. University of Johannesburg

University of Johannesburg

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You must have heard about the University of Johannesburg, which is actually an Afropolitan International University that is known for its diversity of students enrolled in it.

This is one of the most reliable universities in South Africa and is located in Johannesburg Cosmopolitan City. It is the 434th number in the QS global world ranking for the Year 2022.

Moreover, if you are interested in research and are thinking of enrolling in a university to help you in your higher education research, this one would be the best choice. And this is because the research output of the University of Johannesburg is very high.

Furthermore, this university has 7 + faculties and offers you a wide range of resources because of its location. It is located mainly at the main Business Center of South Africa, Johannesburg.


  • The college is located in the biggest South African city.
  • Offers you lots of resources because it is located in the Business Center Area of South Africa.
  • University is 434th number in the QS global World ranking for the Year 2022.
  • The University of Johannesburg is known for enrolling diverse students from all over the world with different cultures and bases.


  • You have to be aware of the prevalent crime in Johannesburg city. Dont worry! The campus provides a personal safety guide so you get familiar with the safety tips and rules you must follow to stay safe throughout your studying time.

6. University of Pretoria

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This is another University in South Africa that allows you to participate and enjoy a multicultural educational setup. The combination of both online learning and traditional learning makes this university one of the top universities for students looking for ease of learning opportunities at an international level.

This university offers you various subjects to choose from, including economics, veterinary, health, education, and much much more. This allows you to select from the diverse range of subjects and courses available.

Plus, Church Street, one of the longest urban streets in Africa, is just near the University of Pretoria. This makes it one of the favorite places for students who want to enjoy nature while studying. Moreover, the University of Pretoria is also known as the first American University to offer an MBA degree.


  • First known American University to offer an MBA.
  • Multicultural setup.
  • Offers both traditional and online learning.
  • It gives you plenty of courses to choose from.
  • Located near the longest urban Street in America.


  • The University of Pretoria is one of the closest to nature University and is known for the jacaranda trees that bloom gorgeously in the spring season. It is somehow a big disadvantage for allergy sufferers. You have to be extra careful about your health if you are allergic. The lavender flower of the trees can cause serious kinds of hay fever, causing several health issues if not taken care of properly.

7. Rhodes University, South Africa

Rhodes University, South Africa

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Roads University is located in the Eastern Cape Region of South Africa in the Grahamstown area. This university is tiny but is known to be one of the best institutions to offer affordable study as compared to the other universities in the country.

Rhodes University also provides the best research output with a great post-graduate success rate. It is one of the best public universities that lie between 801 to 1000, ranking in the QS Global World Ranking List.

Moreover, this institution has already enrolled 7000 students, from which 20% of the international students have gathered from more than 40 countries across the world.

So, if you are looking for a university to give you an affordable education setup, going with Rhodes University would be a nice decision you can make. Well, Rhodes University offers you a super cozy and comfy environment to study.

This is because of its small-sized and comfortable classes, making it easier for you to learn conveniently. Moreover, the university is known to be among those universities that have had the highest pass rates in recent years.


  • Studying in Rhodes gives you access to all the city events that are held at Grahamstown annually.
  • It gives you the chance to take part in the June National Arts Festival.
  • The university provides you with comfortable learning time.
  • It offers several subjects for you to choose from.
  • Seven thousand students are already studying at the university.


  • Although the university is one of the reliable universities, because of its small size and location in the small-town area of Grahamstown, it makes it slightly difficult for students from big cities to adjust to this place.

8. University of Western Cape

University of Western Cape

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This is one of the popular Universities in South Africa that gives you a broad range of subjects and courses to pick from. One of the basic reasons why most of the students prefer going to the University of Western Cape is because the libraries of the university are one of the most diverse libraries with over 400000 books to offer.

Those with reading habits will enjoy studying at the University of Western Cape beyond expectations. The main library of the University also offers a true subscription of more than 1200 online pubs and prints, so you can read as much as you want.

The history of the University of Western Cape is one of the interesting events in which most of the social activists have taken part.

This institute was undoubtedly one of the major subjects in South Africa’s anti-apartheid student activism moment in the year 1970. Even after facing so many complications, threats, and problems, the university never stepped back.

Instead, it continued establishing racial equality and continued supporting its goals of dismantling racism in society.

Another reason why the University of Cape Town is popular among international students is that most of the professors and academic staff of the university hold a Ph.D. degree, ultimately helping the student learn more and more. That means the education you will get is not compromised at all.


  • Has one of the greatest libraries in the world.
  • There are more than 400000 books in the library.
  • The library offers subscriptions for more than 1200 online pubs and prints
  • It offers you a wide range of subjects to choose from.
  • The university provides a proper learning environment.


  • The university’s location diverts your attention from the study, as it is located in one of the main cities of South Africa, Cape Town.

How to attend a University in South Africa?

For now, you have learned about the eight best universities in South Africa that offer you reliable education services and provide you with numerous courses.

Now is the time to learn what steps you must follow to participate in the University of South Africa.

Hereby, I am explaining the four basic steps you must follow to take part in the University of South Africa. Let’s start with them.

Choosing The University

The most important thing involved in participating in South Africa University is selecting the university. Since there are many universities in South Africa, that does not mean you can participate in any of the universities you approach.

I will recommend you to get help from online advisors who will tell you what University will be perfect for you according to your educational interests and passions. This will help you in making the final decision.

Learning About The University

Now that you have selected the University, it’s time to search for that. Look for the past participants of the university and take their reviews about the institute. Look for the university’s reputation online, its location, and how comfortable it would be for you to get an education there.

Make sure to learn everything about the university before taking admission to it so you do not miss anything important. One of the important things you have to ensure about the University is whether taking part in the university is easier for you or not. Focus on this and try your best to learn all the details about the university available online, via their official website, or from their official online prospectus.

Financial Set-up Of The University

After learning everything about the university, now is the time to find out the cost you have to spend to study at that institute. Look at your finance levels and check whether you can pay for the studies there or not. You have to keep in mind not only the tuition fee of the university but also the fees that you have to pay where you are living and for your food too.

You also have to calculate the stationary fee and the money that you will spend while staying there. Calculate everything and focus on the scholarships your selected University might offer you. It will ease you with your finances.


After doing proper research and knowing about the university, now is the time to apply online in the university. And when you get a response, it’s time to submit the documents and certificates they are asking for. Finally, you will soon be packing your bags to study abroad.

What is the number 1 University in South Africa?

Based on the Center For World University ranking, the University of Cape Town always stands at the top position in South Africa.
According to the Center For World University CWUR, the University has recently climbed from 269th position to 267th position by enhancing its research, academic record, performance, and overall employability in this 2023 year.

What is the lowest ranked University in South Africa?

Well, for now, the Vaal University of Technology is said to have the lowest ranking among all South African universities. And the research says that this university is ranked in the lowest places due to its overall educational performance and academic records.

Which is better, college or University in South Africa?

Both college and university have their level of degrees, but University comes with higher ratings and more advanced academics, education, and courses.
The degrees you get from university are always high in rating in the National Qualification Framework in South Africa. Moreover, it depends on your personal choice and preference if you want to study in college or university.

Is it a good idea to study in South Africa?

Yes, now studying in South Africa is not only one of the great opportunities for having higher education but also one of the most amazing experiences you will have if you plan to do so. The possibility of exploring diverse cultures makes studying more interesting there. You will come across several international students and will learn several different things from their backgrounds and cultures.

Is South Africa a safe country to study?

No doubt poverty, crime, and other negative socio-economic issues are prevalent in South Africa, but that does not mean it is not suitable for study abroad programs.
The students who are already studying in South Africa claim that universities are safer for them. Well, you have to be aware and have to be smart enough to use common sense in daily life so you do not come across any crime scenarios.

These universities are the top-ranked universities among world-renowned universities and are waiting to welcome you to give you a diverse range of education. Studying in South Africa revolves around multicultural programs and exposure to dynamic cultures because there, you’ll be interacting with different students from different countries.

This will boost your confidence and will also allow you to explore other regions of the world. Moreover, studying in South Africa is now becoming easier and more convenient to approach.

The universities that I have described above are the top universities you can go for if you truly want to get an education from an international university.