Twelve plant-parasitic nematode genera and 25 species were identified in soil and root samples collected from 17 localities in the soybean production areas of South Africa during the 1995/96 season. Predominant endoparasites found included Meloidogyne incognita, M. javanica, M. hapla, M. ethiopica, Pratylenchus zeae and P. brachyurus. Meloidogyne species occurred in 91% of all root samples, P. zeae in 87% and P. brachyurus in 33%. The occurrence of the three predominant endoparasites was not restricted to sandy soil, but they were also prevalent in soils with high clay contents. Other endoparasitic nematode species were Pratylenchus crenatus, P. teres, P. neglectus, P. thornei, Rotylenchulus parvus and Ditylenchus africanus. Nematodes found in soil included Helicotylenchus dihystera and Scutellonema brachyurus, which occurred in 78 and 71%, respectively, of all soil samples. Other nematodes found in soil samples were Helicotylenchus pseudorobustus, H. digonicus, H. microcephalus, Scutellonema truncatum, Rotylenchus unisexus, Mesocriconema sphaerocephalum, Paratrichodorus minor, Longidorus pisi, Xiphinema vanderlindei, X. elongatum and Tylenchorhynchus goffarti. Highest prominence values (PV) for Meloidogyne species were recorded on cultivars Prima, Bakgat, Tamboti, Hutcheson and Knap and the lowest on cultivars PAN812, SCS1, Nyala, Gazelle and A7119. Eight nematode genera and 19 species extracted during this study are reported for the first time in association with soybean in South Africa.