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Picturesque, packed with character and history, and brimming over with old world charm, South Africa is home to some really unique small-Town getaways. If you’re looking to escape the madness of city life and enjoy a more laid back pace, then look no further than these magical small town destinations!
Greyton, Overberg – Western Cape
This beautiful little town in the Riviersonderend Mountains, with easy access from the Overberg N2, combines all the charm of small town life with the comfort and amenities of the 21st century. Quaint cottages, dirt roads and old world charm reside happily alongside excellent shopping and medical facilities – and the Saturday morning market is a must for visitors seeking delicious local produce, homemade goods and yummy nibbles!
Greyton accommodation comes in all shapes and sizes, whether you’re traveling solo or in a wedding party, as the town can cater for up to 300 people a night. The area is famous for its hiking trails and birding opportunities, wild flowers and even hidden waterfalls! Greyton is just a 90 minute drive away from Cape Town, and is the perfect spot for horse riding, mountain biking, enjoying the Caledon hot springs or just relaxing in nature.
Clarens – “The Jewel of the Free State”
Situated in the foothills of the majestic Maluti Mountain, Clarens is within easy driving distance from Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal, Limpopo, Mpumalanga and North West Province, which makes it a popular destination for many South Africans. The gorgeous setting and clean mountain air make it a particularly popular wedding destination, and it’s easy to see why! Mostly a farming and art community, Clarens is surrounded on all sides by beautiful, natural scenery and interesting sandstone rock formations.
Adventurers will also find a lot to keep them entertained, as the area is famous for its hot air ballooning, white water rapids, trout fishing, and cultural tours. Those looking for some real excitement might be keen to try Sky Adventure’s helicopter flights, tandem or solo skydiving, gyro-copter, microlight and paragliding experiences! Art and wine galleries, miles of beautiful walking trails, quaint stalls, pubs and restaurants make this an iconic small town experience.
Hermanus, Walker Bay – Western Cape
Despite its international reputation as the best land-based whale watching destination in the world, the residents of Hermanus have worked hard to make sure their beloved village retains all its old-world charm. The most famous residents of all, the Southern Right Whales, begin to make their appearance each year in June, when they relocate from the cold Antarctic waters to mate, give birth and raise their calves. The whale watching season runs from June until December, and 12 kilometers of seaside and cliff-top hiking trails allow visitors the opportunity to come within just a few meters of these majestic creatures – which can be as large as 12 elephants! You’ll quickly get to recognize the sound of the famous Whale Crier, blowing his kelp horn to alert visitors to the presence of whales along the cliff path.
Dolphins and sharks are another marine attraction in the area, and guests also enjoy taking part in horse riding tours, abseiling, treetop tours, quad biking and the 27-hole Hermanus golf course. Specialty shops and boutiques, the wine and art route, Fernkloof Nature Reserve, countless seafood and local fare restaurants are sure to keep you entertained! A variety of accommodation is available, from luxury hotels to backpacking establishments – making a stay here accessible whatever your budget.
Pilgrim’s Rest, Panorama Route – Mpumalanga
Often described as a ‘living museum’, you can’t help but feel you have stepped into the past when you visit this beautiful mining town! It’s the perfect educational holiday with the kids, or to explore leisurely with your loved one. Beautiful architecture abounds in the form of local churches, and the digging museum and historic cemetery are a must-see. The Mount Sheba Nature Reserve offers beautiful walking trails, and Ponieskrantz Stables offers day rides as well as overnight camping rides of the escarpment on horseback.
The entire town of Pilgrim’s rest has been declared a national monument to preserve this special place for future generations, and it’s an amazing opportunity to experience a slice of South African history.
Franschhoek – Western Cape
One of South Africa’s oldest towns, Franschhoek was once the home of the French Huguenots, and today, the Huguenot monument and museum still stands proudly at the top of the village. Often spoken of as the most beautiful wine valley in the world, this picturesque village boasts more than 40 extraordinary wine cellars, and has some of the best gourmet chefs South Africa has to offer. This is truly a destination to delight every one of your senses!
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