10 SA city nicknames, and why they’re called that

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Cape Town - Do you know the real reason why Cape Town is called the Mother City? And did you know that Pretoria is also known as 'Snor City'? 

Here's what 10 of South Africa's cities are nicknamed, and why...


Cape Town aka 'The Mother City' 

No, it’s got nothing to do with “Jou ma”… 

Legend has it that in the 1930's a local Cape Town newspaper claimed that Cape Town was the only city in South Africa that could justly call itself a metropolis. 

The public took to this description and because the word metropolis is taken from the Greek derivative of meter or metros meaning mother and polis meaning city, the nickname of "Mother City" was born. 

SEE: Cape Town is even more spectacular from a helicopter



Port Elizabeth aka 'The Friendly City' 

This is a no-brainer. People in PE are really friendly, and you just need to visit there once to feel the love. 

READ: Port Elizabeth: SA's newest blossoming food scene

Donkin Reserve #madiba #mype #PortElizabeth #knowyourcity

A photo posted by ♠Geeman♠ (@gugu_mali) on



Port Elizabeth aka 'The Windy City' 

Regardless of how friendly these folks are, they have to put up with some annoying warm gusts blowing about dust and dirt relentlessly – especially in August. 

It’s no secret that Cape Town, with its notorious Cape Doctor, should also be called the windy city… but in Cape Town’s case the ‘Doctor’ literally blows away the dust and dirt over onto the Atlantic ocean, leaving the city clean. In PE, this is not the case, which is why the nickname of “Windy City” stuck here. 




Johannesburg aka 'The City of Gold' 

Jozie was literally found on, and because of GOLD, which is why this economical hub of SA was blessed with this appreciate and rich nickname. 

When you’re flying over Johannesburg at night, the city’s nickname comes to life in a different way as the seemingly never-ending lights beneath resembles the gold buried deep beneath the surface. 

READ: A Guide to a great places to eat in Joburg




Bloemfontein aka 'The City of Roses' 

Bloemfontein literally means ‘fountain of blooms’, and to honour this name, Bloem planted a magnitude of roses all over the city. This gave them the bragging rights to be officially called the City of Roses, and to hosts an annual, spectacular rose show. 

#RoseStad#HaPpymuch#BleSsed

A photo posted by Marlise Vorster (@marlisefoxxy) on




Polokwane aka 'The City of Stars'

Although the name literally translates to mean ‘place of safety’, this city is nicknamed because of various reasons. Firstly, the name honours the plenty of craftsmen, musicians, actors and artists to athletes, politicians, entrepreneurs and sportsmen that have hailed from this humble place of safety.

In the 2010 Soccer World Cup, too, the City of Stars was named so due to the open air stadium in which fans could watch the game under the magnitude of stars visible in this open space in SA.   




Stellenbosch aka 'Eikestad'

Although Stellenbosch is not officially a city, the nickname suggests that it is. It’s called the Eikestad, or Oak City because of the great amount of oak trees lining the town’s streets.

Some of the old oaks in Stellenbosch are protected by the heritage foundation, and legend has it that Simon van der Stel himself planted some of the oaks still standing in Stellies. 

READ: 5 Cosy spots to visit in Stellenbosch

Mooiste straat in die land #stellies #victoriastraat

A photo posted by Luan (@luanodendal) on



Pretoria aka 'Snor City'

A classic story of a younger generation rebelling against the older one in the height of the Apartheid era. The Snorre referred to the old moustache wearing lawmakers who sat in Pretoria then, but it has since be re-appropriated to resemble the trendy youth. 

With the take-off of the moustache movement on the last two years, Snor City is definitely one of the cooler capitals in SA. 

#unionbuildings #pretoria #snorcity

A photo posted by mone schalekamp (@hey.june_) on




Pretoria aka 'Jacaranda City' 

Apart from being the Snor City, Pretoria is also called ‘Jakarandastad’, referring to the plenty of Jacaranda trees that line the streets. The trees are especially spectacular during the spring, when purple blooms cover the entire city in a blanket of flowers. 

READ: Must-do Pretoria: 10 things to try




Mafikeng aka 'The City of Goodwill'

When the official renaming of the city of Mahikeng took place in 1998 an appropriate motto was chosen for the city too. The final motto was decided as ‘The City of Goodwill’, which has since stuck with Mafikeng. 

?? #Mafikeng #architecture #building #urban #minimal #street #architecturelovers #nature #beautiful #photography #style

A photo posted by Amo Donald Mere-Setlhatloso (@amo_donald) on






Do you know of any other South African city nicknames? Please share your photos and travel experiences with us at info@traveller24.com or post them on our FacebookTwitter or Instagram accounts - you could be featured on News24.
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