South Africa’s 10 most charming towns

Posted by Anita Froneman on 22 November 2019

Not everyone is keen on the big city life. Tourists flock in their thousands to the well-known capitals like Durban and Cape Town. Sometimes, though, getting off the beaten path ends up being the time of your life.

A travel website, Travelmag recently interviewed more than 100 writers, travel bloggers, photographers and other professionals who have spent time in South Africa to pick the ‘most charming’ small towns in the country.

All destinations with populations of less than 500,000 were considered in the survey and hence, most of them are are not well-known which adds to the charm. We picked our top 10 from the results:

1. 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

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

Also read23 things to do in Riebeek-Kasteel


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I fell in love with the beautiful town of Riebeeck Kasteel and the greater Swartland. #riebeekkasteel #swartland

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3. Nottingham Road, Kwazulu-Natal

This well-known Midlands road is a must on any traveller’s list. Especially popular for trout-fishing, it’s a nature lover’s paradise. Interestingly, it’s also home to one of the 6 paranormal pitstops in SA.

4. Hogsback, Eastern Cape

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?

5. Franschhoek, Western Cape

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.


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Sunny skies ☀️ and magnificent views 👀 over the Franschhoek Wine Valley!

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6. Clarens, Free State

Located in east 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.

7. Barberton, Mpumalanga

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.


8. Betty’s Bay, Western Cape

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 but a few of its features, along with the friendly penguins you can visit in the nature reserve.

9. Hermanus, Western Cape

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.

10. Kimberley, Northern Cape

Known for the 19th century diamond mines, Kimberley is great for historians and curious passers-by alike. In fact, the Big Hole is the largest man-made excavation in the world!

Image: Instagram/Franschhoeksa

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