South Africa might be home to a number of big cities with mile-long beaches, dramatic landscapes, unique architecture and outdoor adventures, but the best of South African culture and heritage can be experienced in the small towns and villages scattered across the valleys and plains. Read on and learn about some of the most charming small towns where you can learn more about South Africa.
A two-hour drive from Cape Town, Clanwilliam is a perfect weekend getaway in the Western Cape drawing a large number of visitors from far and wide. Situated in the Olifants River Valley, the town appeals with its picturesque beauty taking you back in the 1660s when the Olifants River was named after the elephants that roamed around on its banks. The major draws of this glorious holiday spot are Clanwilliam Museum, Cederberg Wilderness Trail and Velskoendraai Farmer’s Market. Besides, Doring River White Water Rafting is one experience loved by adventure enthusiasts.
One of the most famous Gauteng getaway destinations, Dullstroom is a fly fishing retreat en route to the Blye River Canyon or the Kruger National Park. The magnificent scenery and tranquillity of the town make it a relaxing haven for the visitors. Discover flat-surfaced lakes, rolling fields covered in mist, the annual Dullstroom Winter Festival in June and many wonderful dining options. Moreover, the weekends in the town are quite exciting with markets, music and a lively atmosphere.
‘The Jewel of the Free State’, Clarens is a scenic spot in the foothills of the Maloti Mountains. A few kilometres’ drive from the famed Golden Gate Highlands National Park, the town impresses with its pristine dams, rivers and streams that are perfect for fly fishing. Visitors can keep themselves busy around a number of quaint clothing stores, galleries and a famous craft brewery in the town centre. Hiking, horseback riding, abseiling, quad riding, mountain biking and golfing are some of the most loved adventures in Clarens.
Founded in 1854, Greyton is a rural chamber situated about an hour’s drive from Cape Town in the Overberg region. While the backdrop of Sonderend Mountains enclosing the town adds a fascinating appeal to it, the oak-lined lanes and country cottages scattered across the town are a sight to behold. The best experiences in the town include sleeping in a tree house, exploring the Saturday Morning Market, trying some good wine and enjoying a hike in the nature reserve.
Famed as the food and wine capital of South Africa, Franschhoek is a mesmerising tourist spot nestled between towering mountains in the Cape winelands. The centuries old vineyards and unspoiled Cape Dutch architecture make this one of the oldest towns of South Africa a charming place to explore. Here visitors can go on amazing wine tours and can learn about the history of the French and Dutch colonial settlers. The Franschhoek Motor Museum, Mont Rochelle Nature Reserve, Huguenot Monument and Haute Cabriere are some of the major tourist attractions to explore here.