South Africa’s 10 most charming towns

Posted by Anita Froneman on 2 December 2021

Tourists flock in their thousands to the well-known capitals like Durban and Cape Town. But not everyone is keen on the big city life. Sometimes, if you venture off the beaten path, you end up having a blast.

Here’s our pick of the 10 most charming towns around South Africa.

1. Sutherland, Northern Cape

The Southern African Large Telescope (SALT) in Sutherland, Northern Cape.

This small little town in the heart of the Roggeveld region in the Karoo is known for its observatory and a marvel to many South Africans who are not familiar with snow. Here, it can get extremely cold during winter times.

2. Riebeek-Kasteel, Western Cape

Credit: Twitter/@southafricauk

Drenched in old-time beauty, this lesser-known settlement is only an hour’s drive from the Mother City and one of the oldest towns in the country.

Also read: 23 things to do in Riebeek-Kasteel

3. Hogsback, Eastern Cape

Hogback is a fairytale nestled in Amathole Mountains of the Eastern Cape. Photo by Megan King

A hiker’s haven, Hogsback is a hideout not to be overlooked. Fauna and flora abound, as do waterfalls and mountains. Did you know that it is home to the oldest forest in South Africa?

4. Franschhoek, Western Cape

Photo by Rachel Robinson

This Boland town is a wine lover’s paradise, but that’s not all. Centuries-old vineyards and Cape Dutch architecture make it a picture-worthy holiday spot. Hikers and cyclists can be spotted in the lush green fields surrounding the town centre.

5. Clarens, Free State

Timeshare at Kiara Lodge, Clarens.

Located in the eastern Free State, this sleepy town has an artsy flair and has been called the Stellenbosch of the inland. Situated at the foothills of the Maluti mountains, this countryside town reminds us of Lesotho.

6. Barberton, Mpumalanga

The Barberton Greenstone Belt is a geological Mecca, where some of the oldest preserved volcanic and sedimentary rock on Earth can be found.

The original ‘Gold Rush’ town in the 1800s, this little town is popular for its mild winters and lively summers. The numerous 4×4 trails and mountain climbing opportunities attract adventurous travellers from all over.

7. Betty’s Bay, Western Cape

Harold Porter Botanical Gardens

Harold Porter Botanical Gardens in Betty’s Bay

Situated on the Overberg coast, this little retirement village doubles as a lovely holiday destination. Breathtaking views from the botanical garden and a laid-back atmosphere are a few of its features, along with the friendly penguins you can visit in the nature reserve.

8. Hermanus, Western Cape

The Hermanus whale tail statue situated about 100m from the race finish at the Marine Hotel. Image credit: Elise Kirsten

The whale watching capital of SA, holiday-goers have an ongoing love-affair with this coastal town. Pristine beaches and award-winning restaurants are among the attractions it has to offer.

9. Rhodes, Eastern Cape

Pristine waterways offer prize trout and idyllic scenery near Rhodes; life is colourful in the foothills of the Southern Drakensberg. Credit: Anton Crone

Situated in the Eastern Cape highlands near Lesotho, this remote village has an otherworldly feel about it. In the winter, it turns into a snowy wonderland. Fly-fishing, hiking, mountain biking and horse riding are popular summer activities.

10. Graaff-Reinet, Eastern Cape

Graaff-Reinet’s spectacular Groot Kerk, modelled on the Salisbury Cathedral in England.

This Karoo-‘dorp’ is a wealth of architectural sights and museums. It’s also known to serve superb farmstyle food, and the the oldest vine in South Africa, planted in 1870. From here, you can also visit the magnificent Camdeboo National Park.

ALSO READ:

Meeting the ‘mense’ of Montagu

 

Picture: Instagram/Franschhoeksa

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South Africa's 10 most charming towns
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South Africa's 10 most charming towns
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Tourists flock in their thousands to the well-known capitals like Durban and Cape Town. But not everyone is keen on the big city life.  Sometimes, if you venture off the beaten path, you end up having a blast.Here's our pick of the 10 most charming towns around South Africa.
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