Some of the big cities in South Africa are well know to many around the world. But it is the heritage and culture of the country that can best be seen in the many villages and small towns scattered in the valleys and plains of its vast countryside. Farmland, national parks, vineyards, open wilderness, mountains and the Atlantic Ocean is also the beating hearts of these small towns.
CHARMING SMALL TOWNS IN SOUTH AFRICA
Founded in 1875, the town is quite famous for one attraction namely “The Owl Museum”.Inspired by biblical texts and poetry the recluse outsider artist Helen Martins who inherited the house from her parents, collected statues of and other animal and decorated the house with them. As to her last wishes the house remains open for visitors. It is a great place to come for something that isn’t hiking or wine tasting.
Located in the Free State province, the town is named after the Swiss town of the same name. The prominent Transvaal Republic president was in self-exile in the town. The Rooiberg mountain range and the purple and blue Maluti mountains is surrounding the village, making for a particularly picture-perfect setting in verdant countryside. With the discovery of many dinosaur fossils the town is a great place to come to learn about dinosaurs and the geology of the Earth millions of years ago.
As one of the oldest fishing villages in the Western Cape, the town is known for its lobsters, white-washed fisherman’s cottages, and the dramatic beach – considered one of the most beautiful on the country’s West Coast. Visitors can snorkel, kayak, scuba dive and kitesurf, among other activities. The nearby lighthouse at Cape Columbine is South Africa’s last manually controlled lighthouse, which is a rare sight anywhere in the world.
Located at the foot of the Langeberg in the Western Cape and described as a haven of residential perfection, the town was founded in 1851 on a farm called ‘Uitvlugt’. Visitors can visit the whitewashed houses, the photogenic Dutch Reformed Church and the Montagu Museum which was founded in 1907 and is itself a National Monument. The rock formations make it very popular with rock climbers and hikers alike.
The town is located 90 minutes drive from Cape Town in the Riversonderend Mountains. Originally called Baviaanskloof and was built up around the site of the oldest mission station in South Africa, the Moravian Mission Station which was founded here in 1738. Visitors can visit the historic square and mission and step back in time by wandering around in the small little town.
Surrounded by the Bulshoek and Clanwilliam dams in the Olifants River Valley, Western Cape, the small town dates back to the 1660s when Dutch pioneers named the Olifants River after the numerous elephants they discovered on its banks. The first famers arrived in 1732 when the town was known as Jan Disselsvlei. During the early 1800s the name changed to Clanwilliam when the British colonists arrived. Clanwilliam is known for its cluster of pretty buildings, including the 1864 Dutch Reformed Church, its rooibos tea, and the prime hiking in its nearby hills.
The town is known as the prime surfing location in the Eastern Cape province. Visitors can visit the Surf Museum, complete with exhibitions and surfboard displays, tracing not only just the history of the sport but the development of surfing in the town itself since the 1960s. The town is on of the fastest growing urban areas in the country. A must visit for surfers!
The town is located in Mpumalanga province - a very charming place to visit. You can learn more about the gold rush in South Africa, which attract prospectors to find their fortunes in 1873. Not very much has changed here, the town is practically a living museum, but there are also some quirky things to see here such as the Royal Hotel, with a bar located in an ex-church which was transported here from Cape Town.
Founded in 1762 and located on the edge of the Great Karoo. The vast wilderness area like Australia’s Outback has a long history and fine examples of Cape Dutch, Karoo and Victorian architecture scattered around town. Visitors can visit the 13 National Monuments, Art Galleries and the famous art deco Showroom theater.
The small village situated in the Amathole Mountains in the Eastern Cape province is in prime position for exploring the surrounding area, forests, mountain trails and rivers that offer beautiful waterfalls and trout fishing. Numerous hiking trails lead through forested areas and up into the hills, making this a popular destination for outdoors types.
The best time to visit depends on where you’re going and what you’re planning to see.