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7 SUBLIME SMALL TOWNS IN SOUTH AFRICA

Posted on Monday, 27th Jul 2015

Certain places in South Africa have famous tourist attractions, big monuments and towering structures. You won’t find those things here, this list is for when you have had enough of the bustling crowds, when you need to retire to the charming countryside, immerse yourself in the calm of nature and explore the lesser known corners of South Africa. There is still so much to be seen in the verdant and slow-moving “old-world”. We hope you decide to investigate these idiosyncratic and unique small towns.

Clanwilliam

Only a two hour drive from Cape Town, and considered one of the Cape’s best kept secrets, Clanwilliam is a suitable leisure destination for the young and old alike. With the picteresque backdrop of the Cederberg mountains and the Clanwilliam and Bulshoek dams families can come together to explore and participate in fishing, waterskiing, hiking and rock-art viewing.

Clarens

Known as “the jewel of the Free State”, Clarens is an idyllic refuge for artistically inclined and food-loving people, with mild weather patterns and beautifully outstanding views . Nestled in the foothills of the famous Maluti mountain and a short distance from the Golden Gate National Park. There’s a smattering of art galleries dotted around the village square, continuously filled with visitors from far and wide.

Coffee Bay

Classifying Coffee Bay as a “town” would be a bit of a stretch as it is tiny, but due to it’s popularity and stark natural beauty we just couldn’t leave it out. Located on the Wild Coast, “Koffiebaai” is completely untouched by industrial development. The Hole in the Wall, a spectacular rocky archway in the sea, is a popular tourist attraction and the Mdumbi beach has been voted one of South Africa’s best beaches. The town is named after the hundreds of coffee trees which grew from beans either scattered by a shipwreck or by plunderers.

Dullstroom

Dullstroom, also known as Emnotweni, is one of South Africa’s premier fly-fishing destinations. The fresh air, tranquility and magnificent scenery of the village make it the perfect getaway to take your mind off things and relax. The scenic hikes, horse riding trails and picnic spots beside breathtaking waterfalls are wonderful day activities to keep you busy. You will want to cosy up next to a fireplace in the evening as Dullstroom is one of the coldest towns in South Africa, it is also the only place in the country where beech and elm trees grow; planted by Dutch colonists.

Franschhoek

Known as the good food and wine capital of South Africa, the laid-back atmosphere and impressive mountain surrounds see visitors returning time-and-time again. Franschhoek is notable for having some of the top restaurants in the country within its borders. The strong wine culture, and pristine natural and architectural beauty has made Franschhoek into the ideal country retreat.

Gariepdam

The Gariep Dam area is known for its quiet and relaxed atmosphere, fresh air and beautiful stars at night. Gariep Dam is the biggest dam in South Africa and attracts watersport enthusiasts, nature lovers, fishing fanatics and boating buffs. An archipelago of islands surrounded by nature reserves teeming with free roaming wildlife add to the extensive awe of this inconspicuous town.

Graaff-Reinet

Graaff-Reinet is South Africa’s fourth oldest, and arguably best-preserved, town. The leafy streets and quaint restaurants give it that small town atmosphere. Stretch’s Court is a restored street of Karoo cottages with brightly painted shutters and doors and the Reinet House Museum is an old Cape Dutch building, both safeguarding the history of the town. There are stark scenic contrasts on the outskirts of the town where you can find The Valley of Desolation, a geological wonder of dolerite pillars overviewing the Karoo plains, and the Camdeboo National Park with its interesting flora and fauna.

Posted in Jewels of Southern Africa

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