Off The PathIN FACTDo You Know? There Are Even 3 Capitals of South Africa
Do You Know? There Are Even 3 Capitals of South Africa

Do You Know? There Are Even 3 Capitals of South Africa

Indeed, South Africa is the only country in the world that has 3 capitals, 11 different names, and the hometown of the new Miss Universe 2017.

Are you finding it interesting? In contrast to Nauru country, which has no capital, there are up to 3 capitals that coexist in South Africa. They are Pretoria – the administrative capital, Cape Town – the legislative capital, and Bloemfontein – the judicial capital. In addition to these three capital cities, South Africa also has another city that many consider being the capital. It is Johannesburg – the economic capital.

The 3 Capitals of South Africa

1. Pretoria – The Administrative Capital

Pretoria the administrative capital of South Africa
A corner of Pretoria capital.

Pretoria is located in the northernmost part of the country, in a valley surrounded by the Magaliesberg Mountains and named after Andries Pretorius, an African military hero and politician. This is the place where the presidential palace and the central government agencies, embassies of the countries are located.

Pretoria is also well-known for the purple phoenix trees. At the end of Oct, the trees are in full bloom, purple dyeing the ancient romantic city. If Johannesburg is bustle, hustle, and stuffy, Pretoria is the opposite, somewhat slow and peaceful. Although cars are pretty much, there is no traffic jam. The stores are only open at 9 am, and until 11 am on Saturdays, but they all close at 3 pm. Evenly, on Sundays, the streets are empty. Buildings, monuments, universities, Catholic churches, parks, ecological gardens, green trees, etc., all give Pretoria a European appearance. Indeed, the majority of Europeans live in this area.

2. Cape Town – The Legislative Capital

Cape Town - the legislative capital of South Africa
The capital Cape Town is one of the adventurous places on earth for traveling.

Cape Town, located in the Western Cape Province, is also home to Miss Universe 2017 – Demi Leigh Nel Peters. This city was voted by the Telegraph as one of the best cities, the most beautiful ports in the world, or a tourist city. Furthermore, it has the famous Table Mountain and Clifton Beach, which is one of the 10 most beautiful beaches in the world according to Forbes. Additionally, there is the Cape of Good Hope, which is the rocky headland of South Africa.

3. Bloemfontein – The Judicial Capital

Bloemfontein - The Judicial Capital
View of Bloemfontein from above.

Bloemfontein capital is known to tourists as the “Fountain of Flowers” or “The City of Roses”. Thus, there is a local event Rose Festival annually. It’s located in the Free State province and is so named because of the area’s large concentration of orange flowers. The city has been the seat of government since 1867 and is home to over 100 buildings listed on the National Heritage Register for South Africa.

The Country’s Names

South Africa actually has 11 different names, which are corresponding to 11 official languages. According to Wikipedia (Aug 2020), they are:

LanguageLong FormShort Form
AfrikaansRepubliek van Suid-AfrikaSuid-Afrika
EnglishRepublic of South AfricaSouth Africa
Northern SothoRepabliki ya Afrika-Borwa Afrika Borwa
Southern NdebeleiRiphabliki yeSewula AfrikaiSewula Afrika
Southern Sotho Rephaboliki ya Afrika BorwaAfrika Borwa
SwaziiRiphabhulikhi yeNingizimu AfrikaiNingizimu Afrika
TsongaRiphabliki ra Afrika DzongaAfrika-Dzonga
TswanaRephaboliki ya Aforika BorwaAforika Borwa
VendaRiphabuḽiki ya Afurika TshipembeAfurika Tshipembe
XhosaiRiphabliki yomZantsi AfrikauMzantsi Afrika
ZuluiRiphabhuliki yaseNingizimu AfrikaiNingizimu Afrika

Other Interesting Facts about South Africa

Yes, they are really interesting and impressive that you should know:

  • It has one of the longest “wine routes” in the world. To elaborate, the R26 route, run by Line 62 through the vast vineyards of Wellington, Tulbagh, Worcester, Robertson, and Klein Karoo. Activities along this route include wine tours, safari, museums, mountain climbing, etc.
  • South Africa has an area that four times larger than Japan, which is nearly 338,000 km2. Also, its land is twice as large as the state of Texas, USA, which is nearly 669,000 km2.
  • The country has the world’s oldest fossils. Furthermore, it is also home to 7 UNESCO World Heritage Sites. In addition, Sudwala, the oldest cave in the world, is located in this country.
  • The world’s first heart transplant was performed in South Africa by Dr. Chris Barnard.
  • The world’s largest human-grown forest is located in Johannesburg.
  • Vilakazi in Soweto, Johannesburg is the only street in the world where two Nobel Prize winners live together.



3 capital cities of south africa - the broad life's pinterest board
3 capitals of south africa - the broad life's pinterest board

Khoi Nguyen builds The Broad Life with a desire to inspire people go exploring the world and live a more interesting, experience, and adventurous life. This blog shares the stories, pictures, and experiences at destinations where he has traveled to.


  • Meki

    I totally did not know this and assumed that Cape Town was South Africa’s only capital. Good trivia item to know, and makes sense to have different “functions” for each.

    • Khoi Nguyen

      Yeah, many people even consider Johannesburg the fourth capital of South Africa. But it’s unofficial.

  • Ryan Zofay

    I never knew this. I also always thought it only had Care e Town as a singular capital.

    • Khoi Nguyen

      Ya, that’s the interesting fact which will make your trip to South Africa’s capitals more enjoyable.

  • Samantha

    I didn’t know that! The wine route sounds fabulous, I would love to visit someday.

  • Brianne

    This was such an interesting read. I had no idea that South Africa had 3 capitals for 3 different things. Neat.

    • Khoi Nguyen

      There is even Johannesburg considered the fourth capital for economy but’s unofficial.

  • Kuntala

    I love learning thingsn like this about place. 3 capitals and 11 names? That’s really amazing.

  • angela

    wow so interesting to know i didn’t know about it before.3 capital and 11names ?so interesting!

  • CA

    I’ve only heard of Cape Town. I didn’t know that there are 2 others! Mind blown!

  • Ivan Jose

    Beautiful South Africa. Even more intriguing to find out this trivia about this country. I was thinking Cape Town or Johannesburg. South Africa’s history is even richer.

  • Dr. Elise Ho

    I had no idea that there were three capitals. That is quite interesting to think about how that may have come to be.

    • Khoi Nguyen

      There’s even a considered to be the fourth but it’s unofficial.
      Read my post on the [IN FACT] series for more interesting facts.

  • Autumn Murray

    I literally had no idea! I love learning about history and discovering interesting facts.

  • emman damian

    Wow! I thought it was only Cape Town (which I think is the most popular one). So nice. Thanks for the info! I learned something new again.

  • Travel See Write

    I had no idea that there are 3 capitals of South Africa. Always though Cape Town was South Africa’s only capital. Thanks for sharing tjis piece of information.

    • Khoi Nguyen

      You’re welcomed! You will find my blog contains so many interesting info for traveling.

  • Alexis

    I didn’t know this about South Africa. Thank you for sharing this with us all.

  • Gralion Torile

    Hi my loved one! I wish to say that this post is awesome, nice written and come with almost all significant infos. I’d like to see more posts like this.

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