Top universities in Africa | Top Universities

Top universities in Africa

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Craig OCallaghan

Updated Feb 19, 2024



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If you decide to study in Africa, you’ll find plenty of opportunities to explore different cultures, landscapes, sights and general adventures in this huge and diverse continent.

A total of 41 African universities are featured in the QS World University Rankings® 2024, with the majority located in either Egypt (15) or South Africa (11).

Read on for an overview of the top universities in Africa this year, including information on each university’s location and other details.

QS World University Rankings 2024

Top universities in Africa

Africa rank

Global rank





University of Cape Town

South Africa



University of The Witwatersrand

South Africa



Stellenbosch University

South Africa



University of Johannesburg

South Africa



University of Pretoria

South Africa



Cairo University




The American University in Cairo




University of Kwazulu-Natal

South Africa



Ain Shams University




North-West University

South Africa

10. North-West University

Located in the South African city Potchefstroom (referred to as Potch by locals), North-West University is home to over 35,000 students most of whom are studying at undergraduate level. In addition to being ranked among the top 10 universities in Africa, North-West University is also ranked within the QS World University Rankings by Subject for two subjects: medicine, and agriculture & forestry.

9. Ain Shams University

Ain Shams University

The Egyptian Ain Shams University is based in Cairo and was established in 1950. It is a very large institution, hosting approximately 180,000 students across 15 faculties.

8. University of Kwazulu-Natal

University of Kwazulu-Natal

The South African University of Kwazulu-Natal is a young university, formed only as recently as 2004 by a merger of previous institutions. Today it has five campuses around the KwaZulu-Natal province in the south-east of the country.

7. The American University in Cairo

American University in Cairo

Next in our look at the best universities in Africa is the American University in Cairo which this year is ranked joint 415th in the world. The university teaches in English and possesses Egypt’s largest English-language library collection.

6. Cairo University

Cairo University

Egypt’s Cairo University is ranked within the top 400 of the overall world rankings this year. Despite the name, its main campus is actually in Giza, 20km southwest across the Nile from Cairo.

5. University of Pretoria

University of Pretoria

Ranked joint 323rd in the world this year, South Africa’s University of Pretoria is one of the largest universities in the country, with over 52,000 students at seven campuses. 

4. University of Johannesburg

University of Johannesburg

Ranked 306th this year, the University of Johannesburg is one of the youngest universities in South Africa to feature in the QS World University Rankings, having been formed from a merger of earlier institutions as recently as 2005.

3. Stellenbosch University

Stellenbosch University

Stellenbosch University is placed 283rd in the world this year. Founded in 1918, the university is located in the town of Stellenbosch, 50 kilometers east of Cape Town.

2. University of the Witwatersrand

University of the Witwatersrand

Ranked joint 264th this year, the University of the Witwatersrand (often called Wits for short) is another South African institution, with five campuses in urban and suburban Johannesburg, the country’s largest city. The university has around 39,950 students and, according to the university’s website, 97 percent of its students find employment within six months of completing their studies.

1. University of Cape Town

University of Cape Town

Leading the way for the top universities in Africa is South Africa’s oldest university, the University of Cape Town, ranked joint 173rd in the QS World University Rankings 2024. The campus sits upon the slopes of Table Mountain’s Devil’s Peak, offering fantastic views. 

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