Top 10 Best Universities in South Africa (Latest Ranking) – Webometrics

University of the Witwatersrand

South African education system is one of the best in Africa with most of South African universities ranking high in the latest release of the top ranking universities in Africa. Some of the best universities in South Africa are well within the first 1000 universities in the world with the first being among the top 500. In as much as it may not sound so encouraging that the first ranking African University struggled to come within the first 500 in a US dominated list, it is still a something to be encouraged about as most universities in South Africa attract foreign students because of higher standards of learning. This ranking is purely based on Web metrics (Not Academic) which uses certain parameters including online presence and authority, availability of research online to rank the best universities in Africa and across the world. It is normal for some academically sound universities to lag behind using this parameter however, the aim is to facilitate the web presence, research and publishing of universities overall. Answers Africa brings you the latest ranking of the top 10 universities in South Africa based on their web metrics.

Best 10 South African Universities

10. North-West University (NWU)


The North West University is a multi-campus university that covers two major South African provinces. The North West University was established on the 1st of January 2004 after the merger of Potchefstroom University for Christian Higher Education and the University of the North-West which are two universities with very different historical background and cultures. NWU is among the most diverse, best-managed and most innovative universities in South Africa.

The North West University offers students an exceptionally rich range of study choices at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels which span the spectrum of academic disciplines, from agriculture and the arts through to commerce, engineering, education, health, law, the natural sciences and theology.

 9. University of Johannesburg


The University of Johannesburg is surely one of the best universities in Africa. The University of Johannesburg (UJ), one of the largest, multi-campus, residential universities in South Africa and seeks to achieve the highest distinction in scholarship and research within the higher education context. The university provides the ideal ground for interdisciplinary research and the university has more than 90 rated researchers. The University fosters ideas that are rooted in African epistemology, but also addresses the needs of South African society and the African continent as it is committed to contribute to sustainable growth and development.

8. University of the Western Cape

University of the Western Cape

Located in the Bellville suburb of Cape Town, South Africa. The University of the Western Cape was established in 1960 by the South African government as a university for Coloured people only. Among academic higher institutions it has been in the vanguard of South Africa’s historic change, playing a distinctive academic role in helping to build an equitable and dynamic nation. University of the Western Cape’s key concerns with access, equity and quality in higher education arise from extensive practical engagement in helping the historically marginalised participate fully in the life of the nation.

7. Rhodes University

University Rhodes

Rhodes University is a 104-year old South African institution with a well-established reputation for academic excellence. Located in Grahamstown in the Eastern Cape province of South Africa, Rhodes is a small university which enjoys the distinction of having among the best undergraduate pass and graduation rates in South Africa, outstanding postgraduate success rates, and the best research output per academic staff member. This is testimony to the quality of students that Rhodes attracts and of academic provision, and to the commitment of Rhodes staff to student development and success.

 6. University of South Africa

University of South Africa

The University of South Africa (UNISA) is the largest university in Africa attracting one third of all higher education students in the entire South Africa with a student headcount of over 300,000 students, including African and international students in 130 countries worldwide, making it one of the world’s mega universities. Africa’s leading distance learning institution nurturing inspiring leaders of tomorrow. UNISA is a reputable, comprehensive, flexible and accessible open distance learning institution that is motivating a future generation and offers internationally accredited qualifications with world-class resources.

5. University of Kwazulu Natal

Kwazulu-Natal University

The University of Kwazulu Natal university ranks number 686 in the world and is one of the top universities in South Africa. The University of KwaZulu-Natal was formed on 1 January 2004 as a result of the merger between the University of Durban-Westville and the University of Natal. The new university brings together the rich histories of both the former Universities. The two KwaZulu-Natal universities were among the first batch of South African institutions to merge in 2004 in accordance with the government’s higher educational restructuring plans that will eventually see the number of higher educational institutions in South Africa reduced from 36 to 21.

4. University of the Witwatersrand

University of the Witwatersrand

University of the Witwatersrand has a reputation built on research and academic excellence.  Wits is one of only two universities in Africa ranked in two separate international rankings as a leading institution in the world and is the only university in the country that features in the top 1% in the world in seven defined fields of research according to the 2007 ISI international rankings. University of Witwatersrand is located in Johannesburg, a world class city, with countless opportunities for students and staff to engage with and present solutions.

The University of the Witwatersrand is one of Africa’s premier research universities strives to be innovative, where boundaries of knowledge are pushed and where the focus is on sustaining globally competitive standards of excellence in  learning, teaching and research.

3. University of Pretoria

University of pretoria

The University of Pretoria started its activities in 1908 with a staff of only four professors and three lecturers. Thirty-two students enrolled for courses at the first campus, Kya Rosa, a house in the centre of the Pretoria. The University of Pretoria became a fully fledged university in 1930. The name Tuks, for the University of Pretoria, derives from the acronym for the College, namely TUC and the Pretoria branch of the Transvaal University College (TUC) was the forerunner of the University of Pretoria.The institution has proven its worth over the years by maintaining a high standard and world class talents.

2. University of Cape Town

University of Cape Town

The University of Cape Town is ranked number 456 among the best universities in the world. UCT was founded in 1829 and has a proud tradition of academic excellence and effecting social change and development through its pioneering scholarship, faculty and students. It is also renowned for its striking beauty, with its campus located at the foot of Table Mountain’s Devil’s Peak, with panoramic views of much of Cape Town. UCT aspires to become a premier academic meeting point between South Africa, the rest of Africa and the world. Taking advantage of expanding global networks and a distinct vantage point in Africa, University of Cape Town is committed, through innovative research and scholarship, to grapple with the key issues of our natural and social worlds.

1. Stellenbosch University

University of Stellenbosch

The Stellenbosch University is the number 1 university in South Africa and occupies the 400th position in the world in academic excellence, research, innovation and study environment. It takes pride in the fact that it has one of the country’s highest proportions of postgraduate students of which almost ten percent are international students. The University lies in the picturesque Jonkershoek Valley in the heart of the Western Cape Winelands. The earliest roots of the University can be traced back to the 17th century when a beginning was made with regular school instruction.


16 Responses to “Top 10 Best Universities in South Africa (Latest Ranking) – Webometrics”

  1. Kyle Farmer says:

    I don’t think CAPUT is a “real” uni, hence not taken into account.

  2. Judging by a lot of people’s reading abilities I’d say those that rant down here are definitely not in the best university in the country. Instead of crying about it what you could have done is read the article top to bottom, then you would come across the word “Webometrics”. This unknown word would have caused concern and you would immediately type it into Google and see that it’s a university ranking website (yep, there are more than one and yes all of them have different ratings). You would also see on Wikipedia that webometrics tries to measure the WWW for usage patterns and structures, etc. University rankings are for overall impression of the university, not the quality of education. I’m an engineering student at Tuks, and I know for a fact that we have the best engineering facilities in this country, you don’t see me crying. So next time before you post on an article about something intellectual: Read, research, think and only then write.

  3. you should know that for research purposes, wikipedia is not a realiable source of factual information.

  4. tomorrow is another day we should not speak the same thing forever!what if a student who stands 2nd if he will perform can achieve best result that of who ranked 1 therefore 2013 the best Unvercity is stellenbosch !

  5. In the next few years,NWU will be in the top 5.

  6. How can Unisa beat mainstream universities. Hahaha
    Big up to UWC

  7. We all know. But its way better than a random webpage. These rankins are false

  8. Ashley Dorrington says:

    The University of Cape Town (UCT) secured the 113th spot on the reputable global Times Higher Education World University Rankings list for 2012/2013. UCT is the academic home to more than 25 000 students. Of those, close to 20 percent are international students who come from over 100 different countries, both on the continent (over 40) and from abroad. They’re taught by close to 1,000 permanent academics employed by the university.
    Apart from offering the best sports management diploma in the world—an honor recently bestowed by the Eduniversal International Scientific Committee—UCT’s notable alumni include heart surgeon Christiaan Barnard and at least three Nobel Laureates, including biophysicist Sir Aaron Klug (also a WITS alum), the late Professor Alan MacLeod Cormack, and author JM Coetzee.

    On this list Stellenbosch is thrid, after Wits University at around 251-275 on the Times Higher Education world university rankings list.

  9. Dumisani Kunene says:

    Im from UWC but I know what Webometrics is. But you must also read the title instead of chanting here

  10. Megan Parker says:

    Firstly, nobody is disputing that UCT is a great University. Secondly, this is a web-presence and marketing ranking – not a publications ranking. Lastly, I must agree with Christiaan – Stellenbosch has been hampered by the bulk of its publications being in Afrikaans (due to its demographic focus). If you take those publications into account the picture changes radically. Case in point, last year the DHET (Department of Higher Education and Training) ranked Stellenbosch first – “Earlier this year, the DHET recognised Stellenbosch as the university with the highest weighted research output per full-time academic in South Africa.”. Just saying – apples with apples…

  11. Wes says:

    As someone who went to Stellenbosch, I find the list wholly inaccurate. No way they are #1

  12. Dominic Obojkovits says:

    Still no mate, UCT is 300 places above stellies, check any metrics

  13. David Blyth says:

    If WIts claims to be in Johannesburg, “a world class city”, then it has lost credibility

  14. Diane says:

    Total rubbish Stellenbosh lies behind UCT in first place and the Wits.

  15. James says:

    The MIT of Africa TUKS

  16. Bongani says:

    Stellenbosh should not be undermined like this, from the 17th century to this day and year of 2015 the institution still exists, UCT and Wits are performing.institutions no doubt but in this case Stellenbosh takes it, ranking number 400 in the world university ranking, thats not bad, its hope giving that one day we will be within the top 100.

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