Best Universities In Africa, Establishment Dates, Locations and Rankings

Joseph Kanu
Posted Joseph Kanu January 22, 2023
Updated 2023/01/22 at 6:17 PM
12 Min Read
Best Universities In Africa
Best Universities In Africa

Are you searching for the best universities in Africa? Search no further as this article presents you exactly the best universities in Africa, with a focus on just 15 best among several other best and high-standard universities in Africa.

- Advertisement -

Below are the 15 best universities in Africa:

1. University of Cape Town

The University of Cape Town (UCT) founded in 1829, is a public research university situated in Cape Town, South Africa. The institution was previously the South African College, which was subsequently granted full university accreditation in 1918.

- Advertisement -

The University of Cape Town is the oldest university in South Africa and as well the oldest university in Sub-Saharan Africa in sustained operation.

The institution has a total of 57 departments across 6 faculties and offers from bachelor’s (NQF 7) to doctoral degrees (NQF 10) just in the English language.

- Advertisement -

The University of Cape Town has through the years maintained its position as the highest-ranked university in Africa in the QS World University Rankings, the Times Higher Education World University Rankings, and the Academic Ranking of World Universities.

2. University of KwaZulu-Natal

Second, on our list is the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN). UKZN was established through a merger between the University of Natal and the University of Durban-Westville on January 1st, 2004. The institution has five campuses in the province of KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa.

- Advertisement -

The University of KwaZulu-Natal is presently ranked between number 801-1000 in QS World University Rankings in 2023.

3. The University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg

The University of the Witwatersrand was established in 1896. The institution is a multi-campus public research university located in northern areas of central Johannesburg, South Africa.

Wits University as it is commonly called was founded as the South African School of Mines in Kimberley, and has a strong root in the mining industry, as do Johannesburg and the Witwatersrand as a whole. 

The University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg is the third oldest university in South Africa in sustained operation. At the 2017 Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU) Wits University was placed as the highest ranked university in Africa.

In 2016,the University of the Witwatersrand was ranked as the top university in South Africa in the Center for World University Rankings (CWUR) , and in the CWUR rankings, ranks as the top university from 2014 to date.

4. Stellenbosch University

Stellenbosch University was founded in 1864 and officially opened in 1866. It is a public research university located in Stellenbosch, Western Cape province of South Africa. 

Stellenbosch University is no doubt one the oldest South African universities and as well the oldest existing university in Sub-Saharan Africa, alongside the University of Cape Town  which got full university accreditation on the same day in 1918.

Stellenbosch University is currently ranked number 304 in Best World Universities.

5. The University of Pretoria

The University of Pretoria was established in 1908. The institution is a multi-campus public research university situated in Pretoria, the administrative and de facto capital of South Africa. 

The University of Pretoria at the time it was founded was the Pretoria campus of the Johannesburg-based Transvaal University College. It is the 4th South African institution in sustained  operation to receive a university status.

University of Pretoria ranks  number 452 in Best Global Universities. 

6. University of Ibadan

The University of Ibadan (UI) was established in 1948 as University College Ibadan. The institution is a public research Nigerian university located in Ibadan, Nigeria.

UI was one of the colleges within the University of London which became an independent university in 1962. UI stands as the oldest degree-awarding institution in Nigeria. 

The University of Ibadan emerged as the first Nigerian university to reach the top 1000 in Times Higher Education rankings, and following that, UI had always made the top 10 African Universities in Webometrics Rankings. 

Currently, the University of Ibadan ranks  No. 1 in Nigeria and 1196 globally from a reliable Webometrics.

7. Covenant University

Covenant University (CU) is a private Christian university founded around October 1999 by the presiding Bishop of The Living Faith Church, Bishop David Oyedepo. The institution is located in Ota, Ogun State, Nigeria.

The institution is affiliated to  Living Faith Church Worldwide also known as Winners Chapel and holds membership of the Association of Commonwealth Universities, Association of African Universities , and National Universities Commission.

Covenant University emerged as the first university in Nigeria to be ranked in the top 401-500 category of world universities by Times Higher Education in 2019.

8. The University of Nigeria (UNN), Nsukka

The University of Nigeria, simply known as UNN, is a federal university situated in Nsukka, Enugu State, Eastern part of Nigeria. UNN  was founded in 1955 by Nnamdi Azikiwe.

The University of Nigeria officially opened on October 7th, 1960, it has three campuses in Enugu State, Nsukka, Enugu, and Ituku-Ozalla – and the Aba campus in Abia State all in the eastern part of Nigeria. The University of Nigeria, Nsukka ranks  No. 1198 Globally.

9. Ahmadu Bello University

Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria is a federal government research university in Zaria, Kaduna State, Nigeria. Ahmadu Bello University was founded by Ahmadu Bello, first premier of Northern Nigeria for whom it was named for and  was officially opened in 1962 as the University of Northern Nigeria.

The university’s main campus is at Samaru; satellite from neighboring Kongo, and a pre-degree school in Funtua, approximately 85 kilometers (53 mi) apart. Ahmadu Bello University ranks No. 1787 globally and ranks No.2 amongst nigerian universities

10. University of Ilorin

University of Ilorin, simply known as Unilorin is a Nigerian federal university established by a decree of the federal military government in 1975 and situated in Ilorin, Kwara State, Nigeria.

University of Ilorin officially opened in 1975 as a university college affiliated to the University of Ibadan(UI), and in October 1977, University of Ilorin gained full autonomous status and got its first  Vice-Chancellor in the person of Professor O.O Akinkugbe.

Currently the University of Ilorin is ranked No.1863 globally.

11. Nelson Mandela University 

Nelson Mandela University previously known as  University of Port Elizabeth (UPE), the Port Elizabeth Technikon and Vista University’s Port Elizabeth campus, and then  Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU) was established in January 2005 by merging three institutions.

Nelson Mandela University’s formation history can be traced back to 1882, with the foundation of the Port Elizabeth Art School.

The institution’s main administrative quarters is in the coastal city of Gqeberha. Nelson Mandela University ranks No.1243 on the list of the  Best Global Universities.

Nelson Mandela has a total of 7 faculties including: Faculty of Business and Economic Sciences, Faculty of Education, Faculty of Engineering, the Built Environment and Technology, Faculty of Health Sciences, Faculty of Humanities, Faculty of Law, and Faculty of Science.

12. Makerere University

Makerere University, Kampala was established in 1922 as a technical school. The institution is the largest and oldest institution of higher learning in Uganda.

Makerere University emerged as an independent federal university in 1970, and presently the institution is composed of nine colleges and one school offering programmes for an estimated 36,000 undergraduates and 4,000 postgraduates.

Without controversy, Makerere University is one of Uganda’ s top and high-standard universities.The institution is currently ranked No. 1201-1400 in QS Global University Rankings 2023.

13. Mansoura University 

Mansoura University was established in 1972 in and located  Mansoura city, Egypt  in the middle of the Nile Delta. The institution stands very tall as one of the biggest and largest  universities in Egypt.

Mansoura University has played a major role with much impact on the cultural and scientific life in Mansoura and Egypt as a whole. From the Times Higher Education (THE) 2022 edition of universities ranking, Mansoura University ranks 401-500 globally and No. 2 amongst Egyptians universities.

14.  North-West University

The North-West University (NWU) is a public research university established in 2004, and situated on three campuses in Potchefstroom, Mahikeng and Vanderbijlpark in South Africa. 

The North-West University was formed through the merging of both Potchefstroom University for Christian Higher Education, which also had a branch in Vanderbijlpark, and the University of North-West previously the University of Bophuthatswana in 2004.

After the North-West University achieved a merged status, it emerged as one of the largest South African universities with the third largest student population both full-time students and distance education students  in South Africa.

The North-West University ranks No. 487 on the list of  Best Global Universities.

15. The University Of Zambia

The University of Zambia is a public university established in 1965 and officially began its activities on July 12th,1966.  The institution is situated in Lusaka, Zambia, and stands tall as  Zambia’s largest and oldest learning institution. 

The University of Zambia is ranked No. 6th  of the best universities in Africa from 156 universities in 20 countries by the Times Higher Education And ranks 501-600 globally. 


We believe that  you’ve been able to learn alot from this well scripted and detailed articles and that your search intent has been appropriately met. Just like we promised, we’ve carefully selected just 15 best out of the numerous best universities in Africa.

All the universities mentioned in this article are high-profile and high-standards universities that have ranked between 501-600 globally. 

Share this Article
Leave a comment