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The country produces some exceptional cricket grounds in spectacular surroundings and it’s now time to look at cricket stadiums in South Africa.
How Many International Cricket Stadiums are in South Africa?
A total of 16 cricket grounds have hosted the sport at international level in South Africa. Not all of those stadiums will be in use moving forward while others are no longer used for cricket at any level.
At the start of 2023, international cricket is mainly rotated around five of those cricket stadiums.
Cricket Stadiums in South Africa with The Highest Capacity
Wanderers Stadium, Johannesburg
The cricket ground with the highest capacity in the whole of South Africa is the Wanderers Stadium in Johannesburg. It can hold up to 34,000 spectators and those are levels that are much higher than in many other countries around the world.
The Wanderers opened in 1956 and hosted its first test match in December that year as it welcomed visitors England. In the present day, it will host games in all three international formats while providing a domestic home to the Highveld Lions and the Joburg Super Kings in the SA20.
Kingsmead Cricket Ground, Durban
The Kingsmead Stadium is another big venue and it can hold up to 25,000 spectators. It first hosted international cricket in 1923 and it later made its mark in history as the venue for the longest ever test match.
Back in 1939, the touring England team played a game here that lasted for ten days in the era of timeless tests. The game only finished as the touring party’s ship was leaving for home. In more recent times, Kingsmead continues to host international cricket, while providing a home stadium for Kwazulu-Natal Dolphins and Durban’s Super Giants.
Newlands Cricket Ground, Cape Town
This is arguably the most photographed ground in the whole of South Africa and one of the most spectacular from around the world. Newlands Cricket Ground in Cape Town is the one that offers Table Mountain as its stunning backdrop.
The ground has great historical significance and it hosted its first test in 1899. South Africa’s first ever series as a test nation took place in that year and England visited on that inaugural tour.
In the present day, South Africa’s international sides regularly use this venue, while it’s also home to MI Cape Town and Western Province.
Centurion Park (SuperSport Park), Centurion
Originally known as Centurion Park, but now named after its current sponsors, SuperSport Park has a capacity of 22,000 and it is one of the more recent cricket stadiums in South Africa.
It started out as home to Northern Transvaal from 1986, while it began to host international cricket following South Africa’s readmission. The first test match at SuperSport Park was between South Africa and England in 1995 and it’s since become a regular venue for the home country.
The advent of the SA20 competition in 2023 means that Pretoria Capitals are new tenants here, along with Northerns and Titans.
Mangaung Oval, Bloemfontein
While it hasn’t hosted an international match since 2002, the Mangaung Oval in Bloemfontein remains as one of South Africa’s biggest and most impressive cricket stadiums. The venue opened in 1989 and it can hold up to 20,000 spectators.
The Mangaung Oval was more widely used when South Africa were first readmitted to international sport. The first major game here was an ODI against India in 1992. It was also one of the host venues for the 2003 World Cup.
While this attractive Bloemfontein location waits for its next international, it is still used domestically by Free State and the Knights.
Willowmoore Park, Benoni
Willowmore Park was founded by a group of English miners in 1924 and was named after the willow trees that circuited the ground. This is another venue that hosted matches at the 2003 World Cup but has since been relegated to the fringes of South African cricket.
With a capacity of 20,000, it should still be useful moving forward and Willowmoore Park in Benoni offered a neutral ground for Tanzania and Uganda when they played a T20 international here as recently as September 2022.
St Georges Park Cricket Ground, Port Elizabeth
Over in Port Elizabeth, the St George’s Park Ground will forever hold its place in cricket history. This was the venue for South Africa’s first ever test match when they hosted England in March 1899.
It’s one of the oldest sporting venues in the country and has been home to some of the most memorable moments in South African cricket. If you can’t remember seeing the St George’s Park Cricket Ground, you will almost certainly have heard it. This is the place where the big brass band assembles and accompanies the cricket for most of the day.
The ground’s current capacity is 19,000 and, along with tests and limited overs internationals, St George’s Park also hosts domestic cricket for Eastern Province and Sunrisers Eastern Cape.
Senwes Park, Potchefstroom
Senwes Park has so far had the honour of hosting just one test match. South Africa and Bangladesh faced off here in 2002 and the ground in Potchefstroom has also hosted 16 One Day Internationals, with the last of these taking place in 2020.
The ground has an impressive capacity of 18,000 so a return for international games cannot be ruled out. For now, Senwes Park has to be content with hosting domestic cricket for North West and the Lions.
Buffalo Park, East-London
Home of the Warriors in domestic cricket, Buffalo Park in East London is another ground that has hosted international cricket in the past, but is now off the radar. Only one test was held here, between South Africa and Bangladesh in 2002, while a brief run of Limited Overs Internationals ended in 2020.
With a capacity that can stretch up to 20,000, this is another venue that could conceivably return to the circuit in the future.
De Beers Diamond Oval, Kimberley
The De Beers Diamond Oval is another ground which seems to have fallen off the radar of Cricket South Africa. It has hosted One Day Internationals and T20is but hasn’t been included on the senior men’s team’s circuit since 2018.
The ground was opened in 1973 and has a current capacity of 11,000. The first international game to take place here featured Pakistan versus Sri Lanka and Pakistan’s prolific batsman Inzamam-ul-Haq marked the occasion with a century.
Women’s internationals have also been hosted at the De Beers Diamond Oval while the ground is currently home to the VFB Knights and Northern Cape.
Other Iconic Cricket Grounds in SA
Lord’s Durban, Durban
It isn’t a coincidence: This ground really was named after Lord’s in London and it was an important venue in the early days of South African cricket. It was opened in 1888 and hosted four test matches between 1910 and 1921. It was also home to the Natal domestic team.
Nobody seems entirely sure of its location but it is believed to have been built on a site where railway tracks currently lead into Durban station. Sadly, the South African version of Lord’s was demolished in 1922.
Old Wanderers, Johannesburg
As you will have already guessed, the Old Wanderers ground in Johannesburg was a predecessor of the New Wanderers Stadium. It was opened in 1888 and subsequently hosted its first test match, between South Africa and England, in 1896.
Between that first game and the outbreak of the Second World War in 1939, the Old Wanderers hosted 22 tests in total.
City Oval, Pietermaritzburg
The City Oval was traditionally one of the most picturesque grounds in the whole of South Africa. Parts of this stadium were based on the design of the Queens Park Cricket Ground in Chesterfield which is a particularly attractive location in the UK.
The venue was used for the 2003 World Cup and it hosted its two ODIs during that tournament. In India’s heavy win over Namibia, Sachin Tendulkar and Sourav Ganguly scored the only international centuries on this ground.
The City Oval in Pietermaritzburg opened in 1888 and it had a capacity of 12,000 at its height.
We’ve probably all watched a lot of cricket from around South Africa, even if we haven’t yet been lucky enough to visit any of these spectacular grounds. It may, however, be surprising to find out just how many stadiums have been open for international cricket in this country.
Newlands is my personal favourite, simply because of that incredible view of Table Mountain. While the weather can be unpredictable at times, it’s great to watch on TV when the sun is shining and some top class cricket is showcased at some stunning South African grounds.