Most Popular Sports in South Africa

5 mins read

Ever wondered what are the most popular sports in South Africa? Well, we also have done the same thing and done our research here at Nerdville. So join us as we do a deep dive into the South African world of sports

Sports, according to Britannica, are physical contests that pursued the goals and challenges they entail. It is a way of uniting people, cultures and bringing people from across different seas/oceans as one. In sports, there is no racism and yes, it is very common to see fans display deep loyalty for their teams.

Most Popular Sports in South Africa
Balls from various sports.

It is estimated that there are 8,000 sports and note that this is an estimation as it could be more. Some of the most popular include, Soccer (Football), American Football, Baseball, Rugby, Wrestling, and so on.

Now, let’s talk sports in South Africa.

List of Most Popular Sports in South Africa

It is important to note that things could be tricky as soccer is more popular among black South Africans whilst Rugby is more popular amongst white South Africans. These below are the most popular sports in South Africa.


We put soccer at the top of Nerdville’s list and this is because it is the most popular sport amongst black South Africans. Blacks in South Africa account for 75% of the population and that’s a whole lot thereby placing Soccer as number one. The nickname for the South African national soccer team is Bafana Bafana. The local league in the country is called the ABSA premiership with some of the teams such as Kaizer Chiefs, Mamelodi Sundowns, Orlando Pirates and more having huge fanbases across the country. In 2010, South Africa hosted the 2010 FIFA World Cup which was a historic moment in the country.


This is traditionally the most popular amongst the white South Africans. It only has a large number of blacks following the sport also. Many argue that this is the most popular but that’s another argument for another day. There are currently more than 430,000 rugby players in South Africa as of 2021. In 1995, the country hosted the Rugby World Cup, thereby becoming the first African country to do so. The South African national team is known as the Springboks and in 2018, SIYA KOLISI became the first black man to captain the team.


When you look at the Golf courses in SA, you will understand why this sport is one of the most popular in the country. SA has some of the most beautiful golf courses in the world and apart from that, Bobby Locke was the South African who put South Africa on the world of golf map. Gary Player further cemented the country’s golfing power in the 70s. Since then, there are many other players who are notable in this field such as Ernie Els, Retief Goosen, Trevor Immelman, and more.


Holding the position as the fourth most popular sport in South Africa is Cricket. The national cricket team in SA is called “The Proteas” which is named after the national flower in the country. In 2012, the South African national cricket team became the first team to be ranked number one in all formats of the sport itself which are Test, ODI, and T20. This is a sport very popular amongst South Africans especially the South Asian communities especially Indians and Afrikaans speaking whites.


South Africa hosts the two largest individually-timed bike races in the world. The sport is also called bicycling or biking in some quarters. There are so many categories under cycling such as mountain biking, cycle polo, artistic cycling, BMX & track cycling, and so on. This is one sport that is really popular amongst South Africans.

This list of the most popular sports in South Africa was compiled after extensive research by the Nerdville Team.

Lethabo Ndlovu

Lethabo Ndlovu is a KwaZulu-Natal-born writer. He is the Editor-in-Chief at Nerdville. Ndlovu is happily married to Sarah Ndlovu with children and they both live in Johannesburg South Africa. His interests include football, writing, and trying to make himself better by reading.

Latest from Blog