Within South Africa, cyclic peaks of serotype G2P rotavirus infection have been observed and these strains were prevalent in some locations. To examine the cyclic phenomenon of serotype G2 rotaviruses, historical stool collections from South Africa spanning 15 years were screened for G2 strains. Subgroup (VP6) ELISA, polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis (PAGE), and P genotyping were performed on 43 G2 strains to investigate the associated DS-1 genogroup characteristics. Antigenic variation of the gene encoding the major neutralization glycoprotein (VP7) was also investigated using G2-specific monoclonal antibodies. In addition, the VP7 gene of 14 serotype G2 strains was sequenced to examine genetic variation. Serotype G2 strains from South Africa displayed a 10 year cyclic pattern with major epidemics occurring in 1987 and 1997. Serotype G2 strains were also found co-dominant with G1 strains in 1984, 1990, and 1993. The G2 strains from the major epidemics appeared to have emerged from community strains in a manner similar to that suggested for G1 strains The serotype G2 strains displayed subgroup I specificity and short electropherotypes characteristic of DS-1 genogroup rotavirus strains but appeared to differ in the VP4 gene. Genetic analyses revealed three major serotype G2 lineages, i.e., strains isolated prior to 1987, strains isolated between 1988 and 1994, and strains isolated from 1995. The use of monoclonal antibodies and PCR primers designed against older G2 strains has resulted in the failure to serotype G2 strains circulating currently.