I have always struggled to answer the question “What is the best city in South Africa?” This question does not have a universal answer. What you think is the best city depends on who you are and what you are looking for in the city. How you view a place can be influenced by a number of factors, such as your background and current life circumstances. People of different nationalities, professions and age groups have different preferences.
The top three largest cities in South Africa are Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban. I cannot talk much about Johannesburg because I have never lived there. I have only visited it three times. However, most of my friends who live there think Durban and Cape Town are better holiday destinations compared to Joburg.
There is no ocean in Joburg and it is not among the most beautiful cities in South Africa. However, it does have many tourist attractions and is a very vibrant city. The place is always teeming with people and is the largest city in South Africa. Most South African celebrities live there. Joburg is an ideal place for business. It’s where things are happening. Although there are many unemployed people in Joburg, the city has more job opportunities than all other South African cities.
For the past ten years, I have lived in Durban and Cape Town. I have spent five years in each city. It was always my dream to settle down in Cape Town. As a nature lover, I was fascinated by Table Mountain and the city’s natural beauty. So five years ago I packed my bags and left Durban for the Mother City. During my first year in Cape Town I had no car so I didn’t travel a lot. I lived in Crawford, a few kilometers from Hanover Park. I went to places like Canal Walk, Camps Bay and the V & A Waterfront a few times. I greatly enjoyed that and looked forward to exploring the rest of the city. During my second year, I bought a car, which enabled me to visit all the other tourist attractions Cape Town has to offer. Surprisingly, I wasn’t impressed.
The beauty of some areas in Cape Town can be exhilarating. It has several breath-taking views. The city center is also very clean. The place has many tourist attractions that can keep a visitor happy for a few days, weeks, or months. However, living in Cape Town for a couple of years is a different story. In general, it is the most quiet city I have been to and I found that extremely boring. Perhaps my being bored was exacerbated by the fact that I don’t drink. Some friends of mine who drink enjoy spending late nights at the clubs and bars in Long Street, the busiest street in Cape Town, and they think the mother city is the most awesome place to be in South Africa.
According to my experience, Capetonian life is a bit too slow and the people of Cape Town are not that friendly. If one is from Durban or Joburg, one cannot stay for too long in Cape Town without feeling bored and depressed. The beauty of the Atlantic Seaboard area seems to be the only main thing that Cape Town has to offer. When you explore other parts of the City, you realize that it isn’t really the most awesome place to live in here in South Africa. There are many informal settlements in the fringes of the city. In my view, Cape Town is a bit overrated. I have also noticed that its CBD is really small. One can easily count the number of high-rise buildings (skyscrapers) and walk around the whole city in just a few hours.
Cape Town is ideal for the elderly and the rich who want to live a quiet and luxurious life. It is a good place to retire if you have money. Couples on honeymoon can also have a great time in the Mother City. It is the perfect city for romance. Going to the movies and doing night shopping at the Waterfront or Canal Walk can be very enjoyable if you have the right company. However, to someone who wants to live a vibrant urban life I wouldn’t recommend Cape Town. I would recommend Durban and Johannesburg. I find these two cities much more lively and friendlier than Cape Town.
Nonetheless, people who love nature might prefer Cape Town over Durban or Johannesburg. Although there are many leafy suburbs in Durban and Johannesburg, I think Cape Town is greener than the two cities. However, Durban has the best beachfront in South Africa, with several piers extending into the ocean. There are many games that children and adults can play on the beach. Then there is the Golden Mile, a stretch of beachfront that runs from South Beach to North Beach. Taking a walk along the Golden Mile near sunset is a very awesome experience. Most of Cape Town’s beaches are natural. There aren’t any games one can play at the beach. So, if you want to entertain your kids at the beach, go to Durban. Among many amenities the city has to offer, it also has Gateway, one of the largest malls in South Africa. To know what your best South African city is, you should come and spend some time in each city. Personally, in my biased opinion, I think Durban is the number one City in South Africa.