Each of South Africa’s major cities has a unique character and is home to a different set of core industries. Here we consider ten of the best South African cities to consider relocating to, for personal job opportunities or to breathe new life into your business.

Cape Town

Cape Town, known as one of the world’s most beautiful cities, is the heart of South Africa’s booming tourist industry thanks to its splendid natural environment. Cape Town is also ideal for those in the IT field – with the Western Cape having the largest number of registered IT companies in South Africa – and for educators, with many of the best schools, colleges and universities in the country.


Home to the Johannesburg Stock Exchange, Johannesburg is South Africa’s leading financial city. Although it was founded on wealth that came from mining, the mining industry has now been overtaken by the services and manufacturing industries. The city’s burgeoning demand for goods and services is clear – 50% of all goods arriving at Cape Town and Durban ports make their way to Johannesburg.


Durban is home to the busiest port not only in South Africa, but in Africa as a whole. This makes it especially appealing for export-related industries. In addition to its popularity as a trading hub, its subtropical climate and endless stretches of beach makes it a tourist hotspot. The Durban Metropolitan Area has strong manufacturing, tourism, transportation and government sectors.


As South Africa’s executive capital, Pretoria houses the headquarters of main government departments and ministries, as well as the main foreign embassies and diplomatic missions. Its main commercial industries are steel and iron works, copper casting and the manufacture and sale of automobiles, heavy machinery and railway carriages.

Port Elizabeth

Lovingly referred to as the “Friendly City”, Port Elizabeth is an easy-going sea-side metropolis. It’s home to South Africa’s automobile industry, with assembly plants for companies such as General Motors, Volkswagen, Ford and many more. It also features a major seaport, with ore as its primary export.


Also known as the “City of Roses” thanks to the roses that grow there year round, Bloemfontein is in the heart of South Africa’s Free State. The economy has moved away from depending on primary sectors like mining and agriculture towards manufacturing and export, with a focus on high-technology industries. Petrochemical companies have a significant presence here, and nearby Sasolburg is home to Sasol, a world leader in producing fuels, waxes and chemicals.


Known to many as the gateway to the Kruger National Park, Nelspruit has a thriving tourist industry. It’s also home to the Agricultural Research Council’s Institute for Tropical and Subtropical Crops and the Lowveld Botanical Gardens. This makes Nelspruit ideal for those in the field of agriculture.


Founded on the wealth from diamonds, Kimberly was South Africa’s hub of industrialization in the late nineteenth century. Today it’s the seat of South Africa’s provincial legislature, and still serves the region’s mining and agriculture sectors.


Polokwane, meaning place of peace, is home to several major industries, including Coca-Cola and South African Breweries (SAB). Being the capital of Limpopo province, it also has a large commercial area, with the country’s four largest banks all having at least three branches in the city.


Cherished for its history as well as its colonial character, Pietermaritzburg is a vitally important industrial hub for KwaZulu-Natal and the surrounding region. It mainly produces aluminium, timber and dairy products.

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