City nicknames in SA and across the world

Cape Town – Each city around the world has been given a nickname to make it sound catchy or reflect the city’s features. Whether it is the Big Apple or The Mother City – each has their own unique style and characteristics that showcase their given title.

READ: Cape Town among best cities in the world to spend a weekend recently took a look at the international nicknames across the world – some may surprise you and even have you packing your bags to explore them but we thought we'd take a look at why South Africans have given their cities quirky and interesting names – check out why these cities have been given these aliases. 

Local Lingo

1. The Mother City

Cape Town

Cape Town as we know it or as the ‘mother’ of South Africa is also dubbed the Tavern of the Seas.  It has been known as a pit stop for sailors since the 1600s and functioned as a trading port.

The origins of Mother City are still a debatable topic but it may be due to the 1930s label of metropolis that was bestowed upon the city in a local newspaper. Metropolis has Greek origin and directly translates into metro meaning ‘mother’ and polis meaning 'city' producing Mother City .

2.The City of Gold


Johannesburg is the hub of economic development in South Africa and was founded on the gold production and mining industry – it comes as no surprise that under the sunset sky the city lights up with a golden hue.

3. The Friendly City

Port Elizabeth

There is no arguing that Port Elizabeth has some of the warmest and welcoming locals in South Africa – why not take a trip to the city and feel the love.

4. Durbs


The second largest city in South Africa is home to the ideal surfer and laid back lifestyle.  Durbs is short and sweet but let that not fool you as everyone has a slow and mellow feel – it may be the ocean breeze or the sand between their toes but Durbs is a perfect name.

5. The Sleepy Hollow


Resonating with comfort and a cozy shelter, The Sleepy Hollow has been provided the label due to its quiet nature. The city is developing and may soon be the sleepy hollow no more.

#oldbuilding #pietermaritzburg #exploring

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10 International City nicknames 

1.The Rose City

Camrose, Canada.

A small town nestled in the lush green land of Alberta – known for its friendly and warm locals, according to tourism Camrose. The surrounding parklands of this area are littered with roses and they are known for their bright display of color.


2. The City of Wrestlers

Kolhapur, India.

In Kolhapur, wrestling is revered as an ancient discipline that practices martial arts, music, and spirituality. Wrestlers can be viewed in action at the century- old wrestling arena, known as Rajarshi Shahu Khasbaug Kusti Maidan or at one of the 40 training institutes that are around the city.


3. The City of Goldfish

Yatomi, Japan.

According to Yatomi City , goldfish production began over 150 years ago in the city and in 1975 the number of goldfish reached 71. 75 million. The city is still the pinnacle of goldfish production, regardless of a drop in numbers in the recent years. One can visit goldfish farms and attend a goldfish auction while touring the city.


4.The Windy City

Chicago, USA

The origins of the windy city could stem from the frigid breeze that blows off Lake Michigan and sweeps into the city. It is one of the largest cities in America and is a must -visit destination.


5. Cottonopolis

Manchester, United Kingdom

The industrial revolution is rooted within Manchester and is upheld as the home of the cotton industry. Although the industry may not be functioning – the infrastructure of production makes up the landscape of the city, from the mills, canals, and railways.


6. The Gong

Wollongong, Australia

Wollongong is located in the Illawarra region of New South Wales, Australia and is named after an Aboriginal word, ‘woolyungah’ – which means five islands or ‘seas of the south’ according to visit Wollongong. It is well known for its chain of ideal beaches to catch a wave and tranquility.


7. The City of Lilies

Florence, Italy

Since the 11th century, the emblem of Florence is a red lily on a white field and is known as ‘fleur de lis flowered’  and a popular theory to explain this dates back to the Roman period.  The Romans founded the city and connected it to the celebration of the goddess Flora.  There is still speculation as to whether this is true.


8. The City of Light

Paris, France

Although we may like to call it the city of love – Paris is better known as the City of Light. The origin of the moniker is debatable but relates to the 1860s era of illumination as over 56 000 gas lamps were installed across the city to end nighttime crime. It may still be the city of love in our hearts but it sure is bright.


10.The City of Eternal Fog

Curitiba, Brazil

The city is home to around two million inhabitants and is known for its large number of green spaces and parks but it is also known for its wet and foggy climate. The City of Eternal fog is a misleading label as the city is an epicenter of culture – from the Wire Opera House and Oscar Niemeyer Museum.


11. The end of the World

Ushuaia, Argentina

Heralded the end of the world due to its location – Ushuaia is the Southernmost city in the world and is surrounded by sub-polar forests. The city is very windy and cold but is a picturesque city and there is a lot to do, from hiking, skiing, and kayaking. 


What to read next on Traveller24:

- Cape Water Crisis: Water-shedding is now a reality ahead of peak holiday season 

- WATCH: #Trending on Traveller

- Colombia withdraws visa-free travel for SA citizens

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