best universities in africa

Comprehensive List of The Best Universities in Africa [Updated]

Have you ever been in a situation where you find it hard to choose which particular university to apply to? That situation could be overly overwhelming and time-consuming. But not to worry, in this article, Expaat reviews and lists the best universities in Africa.

It is very important to calmly and carefully carry out research on the various universities so as to determine which of the best universities in Africa is most suitable for you to attend, as this plays a vital role in the kind of job offers you will get after graduation.

1. University of Cape Town


Founded way back in 1829, as the South African College, which was simply a high school for men, the University of Cape Town has metamorphosised into the very best among the various universities in Africa.

The drastic change began when gold and diamonds were discovered in the north, which ultimately brought about a high need for skilled mining personnel. The then high school introduced a small tertiary-education facility to teach interested individuals all as regards mining and continued growing less as a high school and more as a university. 

The continuous growth has made it not just one of the best universities in Africa, but the very best university in Africa.

The Univesity of Cape Town has six (6) faculties which include; Engineering, Health Sciences, Humanities, Sciences, Commerce, and Law. the six faculties further spread its wings into fifty-seven (57) departments. 

In terms of facilities, no university comes close to the University of Cape Town, this is evident in its rankings in world universities rankings. For instance, its faculty of Law attained a global rank of 40 in the most recent QS world university rankings by subject. It is currently on the number 109 spot among the best universities in the world, the highest for any African university.

The university has also produced worldwide recognized alumni and staff such as Christian Barnard who successfully performed the first human heart transplant as well as Ramphele Mamphela who is the managing director of the first bank.

University of Cape Town Tuition Fees

The tuition fee for a single academic year at the University of Cape Town is between $2,500 – $4,500 for undergraduates. Postgraduates’ fee is a little higher and is between $2,700 – and $3,000.

This is the general tuition fee but differs based on the programs you’re offering.

2. University of Witwatersrand

University of Witwatersrand

Founded in1896, Wits University as it is commonly called is generally known for mining. It was formerly called the South African School of Mines in Kimberley and it is the third oldest South African university that’s still operating. Its continuous exponential rise in growth and development says it all as to why it is on this list of the best universities in Africa.

Wits have five major campuses; East Campus, West Campus, Wits Education Campus, and Wits Medical Campus, with the East Campus being its main administrative campus which encompasses the faculty of Science and Humanities, the University Council, as well as the Senate and Management

The west campus consists of various faculties which include Engineering, Built Environment, Commerce, Law and Management. The school of education can be found in the Wits Education Campus (WEC) which also houses three female residents while the Wits medical campus is the home of health sciences.

Other attributes of the University of Witwatersrand as one of the best universities in Africa include its state-of-the-art research centres, nine libraries, and science laboratories.

To solidify its stance as one of the very best universities in Africa, it came 201st globally and 2nd nationally in the 2019 Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU), and was also in the top 1.3% list of the Centre for World University Rankings (CWUR) of 2019.

To add to that, the renowned university has produced four Nobel Laurette Prize Winners; Aaron Klug; who won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry, (in the year 1982), Nadine Gordimer the 1991 Nobel Prize in Literature winner, Sydney Brenner, who won the 2002 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine and of course the 1993 Nobel Peace Prize winner, the great  Nelson Mandela, who attended but did not graduate from the university.

Attending such a university can only mean one thing, which is the road to success if of course you diligently put your pen to paper.

University of Witwatersrand Tuition Fee

At the University of Witwatersrand, the tuition fees are payable for each course for which a student is registered. For a comprehensive list of the tuition fee check the University Fees Book

3. Stellenbosch University

Stellenbosch University

​​With just 503 students and 40 faculty members on April 2, 1918, the University of Saskatchewan has grown into a thriving global community with 10 faculties (which include; AgriSciences, Medicine and Health Sciences, Economic and Management Sciences, Military Sciences, Arts and Social Sciences, Science, Law, Engineering, Education, and Theology.) and more than 35,000 people scattered over five campuses, all hailing from all corners of the globe.

On the basis of research production, student pass rates, and the number of scientists considered outstanding, the University is one of the best universities in Africa.

Stellenbosch University is considered a leader in the fields of biomedical tuberculosis research and management, wine biotechnological, animal sciences and mathematical biology thanks to the NRF South African Research Chairs Initiative (SARChi). 

4. University of Pretoria


Established in 1908 as the Pretoria campus of the Johannesburg-based Transvaal University College, the University of Pretoria has metamorphosised into one of the best universities in Africa today. From a mere 32 students in its early days to over 53,000 students today with over nine faculties taking up as much as 3,000 acres of land.

The University of Pretoria is regarded as one of the best Universities in Africa due to a lot of reasons which include; its library system, digital institutional repositories, campuses, research institute, alumni, faculties, and scientific laboratories, as well as student structure.

5. University of Cape Coast

University_of_Cape_Coast_entrance - one of the best universities in africa

Located in the historic city of Cape Coast is the great University of Cape Coast, which was established in 1962. In Ghana and West Africa at large, the University of Cape Coast holds the number one spot. It is globally known for its research influence, making it fit to be on the list of the best universities in Africa.

The University Cape Coast prides itself in having a wide range of departments and high scientific degrees.

6. Cairo University

cairo university - best universities in africa

Located in Cairo, Egypt’s magnificent capital city, the Egyptian University, and afterwards the King Fuad I University, were previous names for this institution. It is one of Egypt’s greatest public institutions and is rated 392 globally and 5th in Africa. Thus, being eligible to be on Expaat’s list of the best universities in Africa.

It was in 1908, that Cairo’s first university, which is the University of Cairo, was founded. It is home to three institutions and twenty faculties and is one of the world’s top 50 academic hotspots.

As one of Africa’s earliest medical institutions and a top law school, the College of Medicine and College of Law are both notable achievements and stands out as one of the best on the continent.

7. University of KwaZulu-Natal

University of KwaZulu-Natal

One of the best universities in Africa, this South African institution is ranked 371st worldwide and 4th in its region. A province in South Africa called KwaZulu-Natal, it was established in 2004 when the University of Durban-Westville combined with the University of KwaZulu-Natal

“Inspiring Greatness” is the motto of the University of KwaZulu-Natal. Red and black are the primary colours.

There are four colleges at the University of KwaZulu-Natal.

Postgraduate and undergraduate degrees are available at the University of KwaZulu-Natal.

Students at this university participate in a wide range of extracurricular activities, such as film, painting, and writing, all of which contribute to the campus’ calm atmosphere.

8. University of Ibadan

University of Ibadan

With respect to global university rankings, the University of Ibadan (generally simply called U.I) comes in at number 425 and is clearly among the best universities in Africa. The school is located in Oyo State, Nigeria, and serves as a hub for higher education. In 1963, it achieved its full status as a university.

The University of Ibadan awards postgraduate and undergraduate degrees in numerous fields, including medicine, humanities, and natural sciences. It is also one of Nigeria’s top research institutions.

The University of Ibadan has gone on to produce two of Nigeria’s most influential men with one being a Nobel Prize Winner; Wole Soyinka and Dr Chinua Achebe; the writer of a worldwide respected book titled “Things Fall Apart”.

9. University of Johannesburg


On this list of best universities in Africa, this happens to be the youngest institution. Around eleven years ago, three South African post-secondary institutions merged to form this new entity: Rands Afrikaans, Technikon Witwatersrand, and Vista.

The main campus is located in the township of Soweto, which has a student population of around 50,000.

On four campuses, the university is divided into nine faculties that offer a wide range of undergraduate and graduate programs in a wide range of subject areas, including the humanities as well as the social sciences.

The list of the faculties includes;

  1. The College of Business and Economics (CBE)
  2. Faculty of Art, Design, and Architecture
  3. Education Faculty
  4. Faculty of Engineering & the Built Environment
  5. Health Sciences Faculty.
  6. Faculty of Humanities
  7. Faculty of Law
  8. Johannesburg Business School
  9. Faculty of Science

10. University of Nairobi, Kenya


The University of Nairobi, a body corporate founded by an Act of Parliament (Cap 210 of the Laws of Kenya) is the first institution of higher learning in Kenya. It is also the largest university in the country. For a long time, the University of Nairobi was the only institution of higher learning in Kenya. 

In response to the nation’s, regional, and African high-level manpower training needs, the University of Nairobi developed and evolved strong, diversified academic programs and specializations in sciences, applied sciences, technology, humanities, social sciences, and the arts, among other disciplines. Approximately two hundred programs are currently available, representing a significant increase from previous years.

Its continuous growth pace has earned it a spot on this updated list of the best universities in Africa.

Some of the other best universities in Africa;

  1. Aga Khan University.
  2. Helwan University
  3. Star Media Institute
  4. Université Cheikh Anta
  5. Strathmore University
  6. Kenyatta University
  7. University of Namibia
  8. Zagazig University
  9. Addis Ababa University
  10. Al-Azhar University
  11. University of Benin
  12. Tulane University
  13. Université de Mostaganem
  14. Obafemi Awolowo University
  15. Babcock University
  16. South Valley University
  17. Zambia University
  18. University of Lagos
  19. Ilorin University

Frequently Asked Question on The Best Universities in Africa

Which university is the best in Africa?

The University of Cape Town is arguably the best university in Africa.

Which African country has the best university?

The African country with the best university in Africa is South Africa. They have more universities appearing in the top ten list of the best universities in Africa.

Conclusion on the Update List of The Best Universities in Africa

South African universities get to appear more in this list of the best universities in Africa. This shows just how much the country invests in its educational sector. 

Having more than three universities in this updated list of best Universities in Africa is not by chance. The level of standard of these universities speaks for itself.

So finally, with this updated list of the best universities in Africa, you can easily make your choice.

Feel free to drop your comments below and keep coming back for more here on

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