The 5 Best Online Dating Sites in South Africa

Due to its history, South Africa is known as a “Rainbow Nation.” Having lived in South Africa as an expat, I can tell you that you will find beautiful black people, white people, Indian people, and coloured people. And while South Africa definitely can’t compete with Brazil when it comes to beautiful people, you might be able to find some diamonds in the rough, especially in the big cities of Johannesburg, Cape Town, Durban, and Pretoria where the hotties tend to hang out.

You can always check out the normal places to meet people (bars, clubs, church, mutual friends, supermarket, organizations, etc.). However, the best and most efficient way to meet new single people is to do online dating. The benefit of doing online dating is that you will find large numbers of available single men and women who are ready to date and find love. You can also check out their interests and profile before making a connection.

Without further ado, here is the quick list of the top five dating sites in South Africa. I’ll go into more detail below.

  1. Afrointroductions.com
  2. SouthAfricanCupid.com
  3. Matchmaker.co.za
  4. OKcupid.com
  5. DatingBuzz.co.za
Miss South Africa - Megan Coleman

South African Model – Megan Coleman (source: Wikimedia Commons)

1. Afrointroductions.com

When you are a foreigner in a new country, it can be really tough to meet members of the opposite sex.  A buddy of mine told me about a website called AfroIntroductions, so I signed up for a subscription and used it with a lot of success during the year that I lived in Johannesburg. I also used their popular Brazilian-based site, Brazilcupid.com, when I was in Brazil.

afrointroductions

AfroIntroductions.com

Launched in 2002, AfroIntroductions is a rare gem for meeting singles whether you are in South Africa, the United States, the UK or other African countries. Dating online can be sketchy sometimes, and you can run into people who are not so genuine. But, for the most part, AfroIntroductions has plenty of eager singles ready to meet up.

Sign up Process

The sign-up process is like most other dating sites. You are required to fill out your information such as your age, gender, who you are looking for, etc.

Next, you will need to talk about you. Fill in some information such as your favorite color and places you might want to visit in the future. Don’t forget to mention the type of person you are looking for, whether you want them tall or short, athletic or a gamer. This helps to narrow down your searches later on.

Every so often, if your profile is not 100% complete, AfroIntroductions will request more information about you, but the questions are easy to answer and will only help narrow down your dating preferences.

How to Locate Potential Matches

On AfroIntroductions, there is the option of searching for a potential date by their motto or blurb. Some people like this because it gives them an idea of their personality whether they are funny, serious, or a little in between. You also have the option of scanning through profile photos (I prefer this one).

AfroIntroductions has an advanced search feature that enables you to filter by a number of characteristics, including body type (e.g. muscular, average build, etc.), smoker vs. non-smoker, wants children vs. doesn’t want children, and even zodiac sign.

How to Communicate with Other Members

AfroIntroductions has a simple but effective messaging system. As a premium member (Gold or Platinum), you can use audio and video chat. Similar to Skype, this feature enables you to “meet” someone without having to go out. In my experience, those first few moments will tell you right away if you have a keeper or not.

Unique Site Features

AfroIntroductions is straightforward. It is easy to navigate and browse profiles. There is a counter at the top that lets you know how many people are available at any given time.

A unique feature of this site that makes it different than other dating sites are Reverse Matches and Mutual Matches. These searches provide you with profiles of people like you based on your criteria, which makes it easier than ever to find someone you are going to like.

What is Included for Each Membership Level

  • Standard: Search for matches based on your preferences, send interest to any member, read messages from paying members
  • Gold: Communicate with all members, audio/video chat, Instant Messaging, ad-free browsing, anonymous browsing
  • Platinum: Higher ranking in searches, more profile space, extensive search features, message translating, VIP profile highlighting

 

2. SouthAfricanCupid.com 

sa_cupid

South African Cupid

SouthAfricanCupid.com is under the same Cupid Media family as Afrointroductions.com I described above. SouthAfricanCupid doesn’t have near the user base that Afrointroductions has, but it is still worth setting up a profile.

SouthAfricanCupid is an online veteran, bringing compatible matches together since 1999. As a branch of the Cupid Media Network tree, this site does benefit from Cupid Media’s established website design, premium member options, and overall quality in terms of genuine profiles. This is a great website, however be advised going in: SouthAfricanCupid’s members seemed more seriously focused on long-term relationships than other sites I’ve been a member of.

Sign up Process

This site’s sign-up process is quick and easy, requiring you only to enter your name, gender, email and a password to start. After that, briefly describe yourself (traits, lifestyle, hobbies, etc.) and the kind of partner you’re looking for, and you’re finished.

Now, it’s up to you to decide whether you want to take the time to finish your profile or continue on to use the site and start the search for your perfect match. If you do end up going straight to browsing with an incomplete profile, every once in a while you’ll have to answer a couple more questions to continue with what you were doing.

How to Locate Potential Matches

When browsing matches, you have four display options for the profiles: photos only, photos with basic information, photos with basic information and a short blurb about them, full profile. For a more targeted search, you have a number of criteria you can specify: age, location, and education, body type, ethnicity, lifestyle choices (smoking, drinking, etc.), marital status, whether they have kids, religious views, even their star sign.

How to Communicate with Other Members

SouthAfricanCupid’s basic messaging system is easy to use, with a number of different options for communicating. You can click a heart icon on any profile to “show interest”, or add them to your favorites. SouthAfricanCupid will tell you when other members are online, and when they are you can start Instant Messaging chats.

Audio and video chat is also available, which can be extremely useful tools to ensure you are compatible with another member before you decide to actually meet them in person. As a Standard member, communication with premium members is unlimited. To send messages to or read messages from fellow Standard members, you’ll have to upgrade to Gold or Platinum.

Unique Site Features

A unique feature of SouthAfricanCupid is the option verify your profile. To do this, you upload a copy of an official ID, like your passport or driver’s license. Once uploaded, SouthAfricanCupid will compare your identification to the information you provided when filling out your profile and verify your name, age, gender and other details. While this is not mandatory, verifying yourself in this way will set you head and shoulders above the competition as a genuine, trustworthy profile.

What is Included in Each Membership Level

  • Standard – Craft customized searches, browse recommended matches, send interest, communicate with premium members
  • Gold – All of the above, plus: Communicate with all members, audio/video chat, Instant Messaging, ad-free browsing, anonymous browsing
  • Platinum – All of the above, plus: Higher ranking in searches, more profile space, extensive search features, message translating, VIP profile highlighting

 

3. Matchmaker.co.za

matchmaker_za

Matchmaker South Africa

I’ve used Matchmaker in the past, but, frankly, I had to spend a lot of time messaging a lot of women to get any response. I had a couple of dates through there, but it was only after A LOT of effort. 

Sign up for this one only if you have lots of time. 

Sign up Process

In order to register, select a username (screen name or alias) and set up a profile describing yourself and the type of person and relationship you are looking for. You can search the site without setting up a profile. However, to view full member profiles you need to become a member and set up a profile. 

Once you upload a photo, you are good to go. Note that it could take up to 24 hours for your photo to be approved by the site’s admin team.

How to Locate Potential Matches 

You can do a basic quick search or an advanced search. You can filter based on age, hair color, smoker vs. non-smoker, location, etc. 

If you do the advanced search and find that it doesn’t turn up any search results, select less search criteria.

How to Communicate with Other Members

In order to communicate with another member, click their ‘Contact Him (or Her)’ link, enter what you want to say into the message box, and then click send. If you are a premium subscriber, the person you sent the message to will be able to reply to you.

Unique Site Features

I like the notes feature. With each profile, you can include a note and star rating that will enable you to keep track of everyone you come across on the site.

What is Included in Each Membership Level

  • Free – Create a profile, view two-way matches, see who has viewed you, read unlimited messages
  • Standard – Send unlimited messages, view private invitation-only photos, sort search results, search messages by keyword
  • Premium – Everyone can reply to you

 

4. OKcupid.com

okcupid

OKCupid

OkCupid is popular in South Africa, as well as around the globe. The site takes online dating to a whole new level with complex algorithms to find the perfect match. With so many members, the chances of finding at least a date are fairly high. 

Of course, there are a number of bad apples in the bunch, but what do you expect from a free online dating site? With this site, you can find anything from a serious relationship to a fun one-time date and everything else. Although this is a dating site, it is a great place to find new people to hang out with, grab a bite, or hit up a movie without ever getting serious.

Sign up Process 

There are several ways to sign-up, from using your Facebook account to entering everything in manually. You will be requested to come up with a password as well as a username or nickname for the site. 

Next, you will need to answer a few questions about yourself and like three profiles to set the boundaries for the system to get you set up with potential matches. Once all the basic information is set up, you are ready to go and start browsing through the profiles. 

The entire sign-up process could take you 5 to 30 minutes depending on how much information you want to give to OkCupid. You can upload photos, enter all your basic stuff like height, age, occupation, etc. You could fiddle with the question and answers aspect of the system and basically write your autobiography if you wanted. Or, you can come back later to fill all that stuff in and just start your hunt to find your better half. 

How to Locate Potential Matches

OkCupid is set up to help you find your best possible matches quickly with several different filters to choose from. When you first begin browsing, you will see the person’s image and username along with where in the world they are.

You will also notice a percentage that Cupid has come up with telling you whether or not you are compatible, and by what margin. You will notice right away whether that profile is completely wrong for you by the Enemy percentage. To make things easy, OkCupid has a QuickMatch that allows members to like or dislike a profile and notifies both members if there is potential.

How to Communicate with Other Members

This site allows for two ways to communicate. You can “like” someone, or you can send them a message. Both ways of communication are free which makes this site so popular. However, you can’t see who has liked your profile unless you sign-up for a premium membership.

There is, of course, an option for those who are shy and that is by visiting someone’s profile. OkCupid will send a message each and every time your profile is viewed, as well as every time you view someone else’s.

Unique Site Features

The best thing about this site, besides that fact, that it is a free online dating site, is the question matching system. There are a ton of questions that narrow down your personality and match it to others who are like-minded.

The questions range from whether you are a morning person, or if you have a particular fetish. The questions are fun to answer and help bring you closer to someone who may end up being “THE ONE.”

The more questions you answer, the more profiles you will see that are catered to your preferences. Every time you answer a question, OkCupid creates a broader profile for you telling others more about your personality and whether you are adventurous and outdoorsy, or kinky and spontaneous.

Membership Fees and What is Included in Each Membership Level

  • Free – Create a profile, browse, Like, and message other users
  • A-List – Advanced search options, invisible browsing, message filtering, extra message storage, ad-free browsing, username changes, see who has liked you, and see when someone has read your message
  • Incognito Mode – Lets you Like and visit profiles invisibly, hides your profile from searches.
  • Profile Boosts – Appear more often in searches and at the top of the list in Quickmatch.

 

5. DatingBuzz

Dating Buzz

Dating Buzz

DatingBuzz.co.za is a South African focused dating site. It was launched in 1997 and was rebranded and went international in 2002. These days there are DatingBuzz websites for most of Europe, the U.S., India, Singapore and a few countries in Africa, and you have access to all of these members on DatingBuzz.co.za.

DatingBuzz has an understated, classy visual design that pleases the eye and doesn’t overwhelm. The layout of the site is not my favorite, and I would have liked to see some stronger communication features, especially audio/video. But all-in-all, using DatingBuzz was an easy, pleasant experience for me.

Sign up Process

To sign up, either link your Facebook profile or manually enter your gender and the preferred gender and age range of your ideal match. Continue with your birthday and a username, password and email. Click the link in a verification email and continue with more basic information.

To view matches or make any searches, you’ll have to complete at least the ‘About Me’, ‘My Ideal Match’ and ‘In My Own Words’ sections of your profile. Beyond that, there is a lot more to fill out if/when you choose.

How to Locate Potential Matches

For a Basic Search, you can filter by gender, match gender, age range and location. Advanced search ups the filter possibilities to include photo status and any of the criteria you selected when filling out your own profile. You can also search by keyword and username, browse members who are new, currently online, and popular, and those who have birthdays or have recently modified their profile.

Head to the Connections section of the site, and you can browse 100 of your two-way matches (1000 as a premium subscriber), where each of you fit the other’s specified ideal match criteria. You can also see members who you have rated or added to your favorites in this section, as well as those who have viewed your profile or favorited you.

For every profile you view, DatingBuzz will give you a match compatibility percentage, the average of how much you are a match for him/her and vice-versa. Scroll down and you can see exactly which criteria from the Ideal Match section each of you fits or doesn’t fit.

How to Communicate with Other Members

Click on a profile you like and you can reach out in a couple ways. Start easy by sending them a virtual gift, or adding them to your favorites. You can also invite them to view your private photos, and send a basic message. Messages are text-only, and only available for premium subscribers. Free members can send “quick, snappy” One-Liners however, but only if you have fully completed your profile and it’s been approved by DatingBuzz.

Unique Site Features

DatingBuzz makes it easy for you to help out your lonely, single friends with the aptly named Tell a Friend feature, easily accessible on every profile you visit. Click this button, enter your friend’s name and email, and DatingBuzz will send them an email with a short summary of the profile in question, including a short personalized message by you if you choose.

What is Included in Each Membership Level

  • Free – Create a profile, upload photos, reply to messages
  • Subscribe – Read and send unlimited messages, send virtual gifts, view up to 1000 matches, view private photos, see who has viewed your profile, sort your search results, search messages by keyword

 

Honorable Mention: There are some others out there if you do a search. One that comes to mind is Flirtbox. I’ve used it before, but I am not really a big fan of the interface, and the response rate is incredibly low. I think one has to send out over 1,000 messages to get an inkling of a response on this site.

Online Dating Strategy: 

  • A lot of what I learned while dating online was through trial and error, planting a lot of seeds in order to get success…learning what works and doesn’t work and refining my approach along the way. You might have your own online dating strategy, and that is cool, but if you don’t and need a starting point, go and buy my e-book, Online Dating Success: How to Find Love Anywhere in the World. In the book I go into detail about how to set up a profile, what I recommend writing for your initial and follow up messages, when to ask the woman/man you’re interested in to go offline for a date, and more.

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If you plan to go to South Africa, be sure to check out my South Africa Travel Guide for in-depth information on traveling to the country.

Further Reading

  • Worldwide Online Dating Site Reviews: Be sure to check out my country-by-country reviews of the best online dating sites in the world.

  • Worldwide Moving Guide: Everything you need to know in order to plan your move to 65+ countries around the world.

  • Worldwide Jobs Guide: If you are interested in working in this country, be sure to check out my posts on how to find jobs in this country and other countries around the world.

  • Worldwide Apartments Guide: If you are interested in renting an apartment in another country, take a look at my articles on how to find an apartment in various countries around the world.

About Addison Sears-Collins

Hey! I'm Addison Sears-Collins, the founder of Visa Hunter. My dream is for a border-free world. I seek to destroy the barriers that prevent people from traveling or living in another country. You can learn more about me here. Join me in the border-free movement by liking my fan page on Facebook, connecting with me on Twitter, or adding me to your circle on Google+.

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