What is the capital of South Africa

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Last Updated: September 14, 2023

The capital city of South Africa is not one, not two but three. Yes, South Africa has three capitals. There are few countries in the world which have two capitals like Benin, Bolivia, Chile, Georgia, Malaysia, Netherlands. Nevertheless, South Africa is the only country in the world to have three capitals.

  • South Africa’s administrative capital is Pretoria.
  • South Africa’s legislative capital is Cape Town.
  • South Africa’s judicial capital is Bloemfontein.

Why South Africa has three Capitals?

The reason for the three capitals was due to the establishment of the Union Republic of South Africa in 1961.

Initially, Cape Town had been the capital of the Union, before which it was the administrative capital of the British. Since it was still influenced by colonialism, there were proposals to move the capital to Pretoria came up.

Capitals of South Africa - Every tourist must know

Then the other set of people from central came up with the proposal for Bloemfontein as a “completely new” capital.

There were concerns raised that providing a single city to handle all branches of government may lead to excessive power in one place. Instead of having the party split on this argument, the ruling party decided to split the functions of government. Hence, they decided to have three branches of government in three different capital cities.

The Capitals of South Africa


  • Facts to know:

Pretoria holds the administrative branch of government. Earlier Pretoria was the capital of Apartheid South Africa and is situated in the northern province of Gauteng.

Administrative capital of South Africa

In South Africa, It is considered as a city with the most opportunities for high-level studies, with universities such as the University of Pretoria which was established in 1908 is one of the oldest and most significant universities in South Africa.

Pretoria is the second most populated capital city in South Africa.

Pretoria is also called the “Jacaranda City,” owing to the numerous jacaranda trees that sprinkle purple blossoms all over Pretoria’s parks and streets every year.

Pretoria is known for the longest urban street in South Africa, 50-tonne soccer ball built on top of the Lukasrand tower in Pretoria which is a world record, and also has one of the oldest human skulls preserved.

Places to visit in Pretoria:

Voortrekker Monument

Union Buildings

National Zoological Gardens of South Africa

Church Square

Freedom Park Heritage Site & Museum

Local Food Market

Natural Reserves and Dams

Is Pretoria safe for tourists?

Pretoria is considered to be a comparatively safe city by South African standards, and brutal crimes and violence against tourists are slightly rare.

Cape Town

Cape Town, the legislative capital, holds the parliament of South Africa. It is the oldest city in South Africa, colloquially named the Mother City. Cape Town has the first downhill tobogganing track in Africa, called “Cool Runnings.” It is home to the Cape Floral Kingdom.

  • Facts to Know:
Legislative capital of South Africa

You can discover around 7,000 plants in Cape Town which can’t be found anywhere else in the world.

Amongst the three capitals of South Africa, Cape Town is the most familiar with travelers. It is located along the coast and surrounded by a beautiful mountain backdrop.

Cape Town’s coastal serenity, magnificent hills, and combination of multicultural metropolis made it the best place to visit in the world by both The Daily Telegraph and The New York Times in 2014. This is also the most populated Capital city.

Places to visit in Cape town:

Table Mountain National Park

Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden

Green Point Urban Park

Cape of Good Hope

Beaches and Islands

Cape Point

Is Cape town safe for tourists?

Cape Town isn’t an ideal place for women. It’s not 100% safe for solo travelers as well as owing to the crimes in the city. Having said that, if you are keen on touring this beautiful place, always keep an eye on your surroundings. Travel in groups only. Do not wander around after dark.


  • Facts to Know:

Bloemfontein, which means “blooming flowers” or “fountain of flowers” in Africaans, is the judicial capital of South Africa. The government also conducts an annual rose festival and is also known as “City of Roses.”

Bloemfontein was the birthplace of writer J. R. R. Tolkien and athlete Zola Budd. The Supreme Court of Appeal of South Africa is also located here. Bloemfontein has the most extensive fire service museum in South Africa. This is the least populated city in South Africa.

Places to visit in Bloemfontein:

National Botanical Garden

Bloemfontein Zoo


Hoffman Square

Fourth Raadsaal

Is Bloemfontein safe for tourists?

Bloemfontein is comparatively safe than other cities of South Africa, You can walk through during the day, but the city is still in a high crime region, and no risks should be taken at any time in and around the city. The chances of street crime and muggings are as high. Don’t get carried away by the easygoing atmosphere.

How is the climate in the Capitals?

  • Since the three capital cities are located in distinct regions of South Africa, each one experiences a different climate.
  • Pretoria is located in the humid subtropical zone, which means its weather is defined by hot and humid summers, cool and dry winters. It receives abundant rainfall during the summer months.
  • Cape Town, in contrast, is located in a Mediterranean zone, which means its weather is defined by warm and dry summers, cool and wet winters.
  • Bloemfontein is in a semi-arid climate. Its climate is usually with dry and hot summer. This city holds only around 22 inches of rainfall every year.

South African visa for tourists:

  • The tourist visa to South Africa will cost you around 35 – 40 usd.
  • The citizens of Singapore, UK, USA, and few more countries do not require a visa to enter South Africa for a visit up to 90 days.
  • There are few countries like India where you can get a visa for free of cost.
  • There are few countries where you can get a free visa for a stay of up to 30 days. You can refer this website for a complete listing of countries that are needed to present an application for a visa, and that can be exempted to apply for a visa.

South Africa Currency value:

One usd = 14 South African Rand equals

Best time to visit South Africa:

The best time to go to South Africa is anytime from April end to October. Here is the time where you can find the best animal safari encounter, which South Africa is famous for.

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