best universities in South Africa
Photo Credit: University of Cape Town; University of Witwatersrand

The global report card is in, and the best universities in South Africa have been announced, with one holding its own as the best university in Africa too.


South Africa (16 May, 2023)—The 2023 run of the Global 2000 is here, sharing the world’s top universities and the best universities in South Africa.

Each year, the Centre for World University Rankings ranks varsities across continents, setting the tone for the top institutions around the world and how they compare globally based on their world rank percentages.

All South African universities were all in the top 10% of global universities, making Mzansi feel like we all just graduated with flying colours. Not to mention, one of our universities was crowned the varsity jewel of Africa yet again!

Without further ado…

The Best Universities in South Africa in 2023

12. Nelson Mandela University

NMU earned the 12th position for South Africa’s top universities, ranking 1658th globally and in the top 8.1% worldwide.

11. University of South Africa

UNISA placed 11th with a ranking position of 1338 in top 6.6% worldwide.

10. Rhodes University

Kickstarting the top 10 list, Rhodes swooped in with a ranking of 1300 and a global position in the top 6.4% of universities.

9. University of the Western Cape

UWC soared in at the 9th spot with a 1188 ranking in the top 5.8% worldwide.

8. University of the Free State

UFS stands tall at position 8 with a rank of 1160 in the top 5.7% of all universities.

7. North-West University

In the top 4.4% worldwide and at the first position under 1000 for SA, is the North-West University; 7th for South Africa and number 887 in the world.

6. University of Johannesburg

Coming in at number 6 is UJ, with a 628 world ranking that’s also in the top 3.1% of global varsities.

5. The University of Pretoria

Starting the top 5 countdown is UP, shining in the top 2.8% at a position of 557.

4. University of KwaZulu-Natal

UKZN earned 4th place locally with a ranking of 478 in the world; the top 2.4%.

3.Stellenbosch University

The top 3 SA universities starts with Stellies in third position, ranking 450 and in the top 2.2% globally.

2. The University of the Witwatersrand

Wits sailed in at second place for South Africa, ranking at position 290 and in the top 1.5% in the world.

1. The University of Cape Town

Coming in hot in first place for our country and continent is UCT, sporting a rank of 267 in the world and the top 1.4% of all universities!

Source: Centre For World University Rankings
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About the Author

Ashleigh Nefdt is a writer for Good Things Guy.

Ashleigh's favourite stories have always seen the hidden hero (without the cape) come to the rescue. As a journalist, her labour of love is finding those everyday heroes and spotlighting their spark - especially those empowering women, social upliftment movers, sustainability shakers and creatives with hearts of gold. When she's not working on a story, she's dedicated to her canvas or appreciating Mother Nature.

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