Must-see small Towns of South Africa

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Friday, 15th May 2015


Internationally travel bloggers are taking the travel world by storm and becoming key in the way that people research, book and enjoy their travel experiences. These well traveled people are ideally positioned to give insider travel tips which is exactly why we selected a few of our favourite South African travel and lifestyle bloggers to share with us their favourite small town in South Africa.

Read on below to discover which small towns have captured these well traveled bloggers hearts and why...



   Lana Kenney


   Favourite small town: Hermanus (Overberg)


Hermanus is a scenic seaside town with so much to see and do, a weekend here is almost never enough! I love this town because of its close proximity to Cape Town (it's just over an hours drive away) and its breathtaking beauty.

Hermanus is probably best known for its spectacular whale watching, visitors came from far and wide to view the Southern Right Whales as they come close to Walker Bay to calve. From diverse fynbos and hikes in the Fernkloof Nature Reserve to mountain biking, kayaking, zip lining, golfing and more, adventure lovers will be in their element.

The town is small enough to cover on foot and one will find a number of upmarket boutiques, restaurants and art galleries. I always love taking a drive into the picturesque Hemel en Aarde Valley and exploring the fabulous Hermanus wine route. There are a number of amazing wine estates on the route with incredible views, renowned wines and great restaurants. Just one more reason why Hermanus is not to be missed.

Click here to book accommodation in Hermanus



   Lauren & Vaughan MacShane


   Favourite small town:Paternoster (West Coast)


The entire West Coast of SA has a wildness and stark beauty to it that we never tire of- Surfing and crayfish braais at Elandsbaai, swimming in Kraalbaai's azure waters and flower season at the West Coast National Park.

The Beach Camp in Cape Columbine Nature Reserve, Paternoster is a permanent camping spot that we instantly fell in love. No electricity, only the Atlantic ocean breeze, camp fires and star gazing whilst roasting marshmallows.

Stumble out of your tent in the morning and straight into the cool water... pure magic. Then there's the fish and chips, bright boats and artisan cafes in town which all warrant bits of your time. 

Click here to book accommodation in Paternoster


   Dawn Jorgensen
   Favourite small town: Nieu Bethesda (Eastern Cape)

An alluring village in the heart of the Karoo that keeps drawing me back. One most people associate with the Owl House and Helen Martin who lived there, transforming her regular Karoo home into one dappled with colour, a home to suns and gods, worshippers and owls.

It’s this other-worldly place of concrete and glass sculptures which continues to attract intrigue as visitors come to learn more about the varied interpretations of Helen's life. In the camel yard hangs the sign that says “This is my world”, which appears to be exactly how she lived it. Yet there’s much more to Nieu Bethesda than this. Here is a place to escape and relax, one at the end of a long dirt road where goat’s and horses roam the very streets that are effortlessly cleared to host romantic country weddings.

Assorted accommodation ranges from luxury to backpacking, restaurants are good, the brewery offers a killer platter and the book shop is in a renovated garage. Local art, a rich history, the fossil trail and fabulous coffee offer more reason to extend a visit. But for me its the people that truly make it special. Judging by the Owl House and the raconteur nature of the locals I met, it appears its always been this way. I head there for the clean air and creative inspiration, as regularly as possible.

Click here to book accommodation in Nieu Bethesda



   Roxanne Reid 


   Favourite small town: Knysna (Garden Route)


Although there’s a special place in my heart for small towns in the Karoo, Knysna on the Garden Route tops my list. It has good restaurants but it’s the natural environment that makes it special.

Discover the world of Dalene Matthee’s novels along the Seven Passes Road from George to Knysna. Go birding, canoeing, hiking or mountain biking. Explore the forests, lakes and beaches in the area.

Visit the Pledge Nature Reserve just 200m from Knysna’s busy main road to find paths winding through indigenous wetland, forest and fynbos. Or drive 20km west of Knysna to the Goukamma Nature Reserve for endless beaches and huge dune fields; southern right whales visit from July to October and you may spot dolphins too.

Click here to book accommodation in Knysna



   Linda & Mike Markovina


   Favourite small town: Betty's Bay (Overberg)


Lying unassumingly along the base of the Hangkilp mountains and nature reserve is a small town that has stolen our hearts. Betty’s Bay has everything nature lovers like us hold so dear.

Spectacular beaches, hiking trails through abundant biospheres , waves and rivers to surf or play in and an ocean that always surprises us.It might not have the conveniences of larger towns,but that’s it’s charm.

Spending time with family and friends around the fire cooking and telling stories while brushing the salt out of your hair. It’s our happy place, an escape only 96k from the city centre that draws us back again and again.

Click here to book your accommodation near Betty's Bay



   Jonker Fourie


   Favourite small town: Storms River Village (Tsitsikamma)


There are so many awesome small towns in the Eastern Cape. St Francis Bay, Patensie, Graaff-Reinet, Kenton-on-Sea, Bathurst, Somerset East but my favourite small town is Storms River Village in the Tsitsikamma. Here’s why…

Storms River Village is surrounded by beautiful mountains, forests and coastline. The village isn’t a pretentious one. It doesn’t show off its famous people or what it has achieved. What you see is what you get. Friendly people, a laidback atmosphere and beautiful surroundings (but I’ve said that already). It is somewhere I can go and within a minute’s walk loose myself in the forest to replenish my soul.

You will never be bored with all kinds of adventures and activities to do – Canopy Tour, Segway Tours, forest walks, mountain biking, Blackwater Tubing plus there are great spots to enjoy something to eat and drink like the quirky Marilyns 60’s Diner (all neon and chrome and you may just bump into Elvis) and the brand new craft brewery.

Click here to book accommodation in Storms River Village


   Kate Els 


   Favourite small town: Matjiesfontein (Karoo)


My new favourite small town is Matjiesfontein, which is really more like a village.

This tiny little space in the Klein Karoo is perfect for an exclusive little getaway with the newly-refurbished Lord Milner Hotel showing off its best side, and delicious Karoo fare served in the hotel's Dining Room.

Taking a tour around the town, the shortest tour in South Africa in fact, is a hilarious exploit on an original London Bus. Guests are summoned to dinner each night by Johnny and his bugle, and don't forget to stop in at the Museum, which holds the largest private collection in South Africa. And of course, there are reportedly some resident ghosts...

Click here to book accommodation in the Great Karoo



   Kathryn Rossiter


   Favourite small town: Greyton (Western Cape)



Set against a backdrop of imposing mountains and with an interesting history, the quaint little village of Greyton in the Western Cape is my favourite small town.

I love the charming “English” country gardens with rambling roses tumbling over white picket fences. The quiet country lanes lined by the “leiwater” channels and fruit trees, the fields with grazing horses and the festive Saturday morning market all make this a place I love to return to time and time again.

I highly recommend exploring the village on foot or by bicycle - a lovely way to discover all it’s charms. Greyton is the perfect place to slow down. 

Click here to book accommodation in Greyton



   Colleen Blaine


   Favourite small town: Plettenberg Bay(Garden Route)


To most people Plett is synonymous with summer beach holidays but for anyone who has ever been to Plett out of the main summer holiday season knows that this small town has heaps more to offer. Without a doubt one of the best ocean views in South Africa, Plett also boasts a ‘French Riviera’ vibe all year round. There are plenty of trendy eateries and delightful coffee shops, handfuls of adventure activities, nature reserves and even a new wine route.

I love Plett because you can fill your days with all sorts of sights and activities or you can rent a quaint little beach house and spend your days lazing in the sun doing absolutely nothing and your evenings wining and dining. My only advice is though don’t come in December, come in February.

Click here to book accommodation in Plettenberg Bay

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