Hepatitis E virus (HEV) infection is a major cause of acute hepatitis worldwide. This infection causes major water-borne outbreaks in low- and middle-income countries, whilst in industrialised countries this infection is zoonotic. These differences in epidemiology are related to different HEV genotypes. HEV genotype 3 is a zoonotic infection, whilst genotype 2 causes large outbreaks. This study determined the seroprevalence of HEV in blood donors from the Western Cape. Anti-hepatitis A virus (anti-HAV) antibody was detected in 184/300 (61%) donors. Antibody to HEV (anti-HEV) was detected in 78 of 300 donors (26%). It was highest in mixed race donors (62/100), followed by white donors (23/100) and lowest in black donors (19/100) P = 0.019. Since it is thought that genotypes 1 and 2 predominate both viruses would be acquired by the oro-faecal route, it is surprising that HEV seroprevalence does not mirror that of HAV. We postulate that this may reflect differences in socio-economic status and consumption of dietary meat. So the marked divergence between HEV and HAV seroprevalence may be the result of different routes of transmission. Further data are needed to explore the risk factors associated with HEV infection.