Amidst the many, many troubles of South Africa; poverty, violence, crime, corruption, racism and economic crisis, a lot is needed to make people’s life bearable and fun, but for those who in one way or the other have decided to have a good life irrespective of all the issues that are out to weigh them down, very little is really needed to make a happy life in the country and it’s all within the boundaries of the small towns in the nation. Here are the best top 25 of such towns, you can rightly term them best tourist towns of South Africa. According to the inhabitants, they’re living a very simply, remarkable, fun, satisfied and happy life.
Tourist Towns in South Africa
As one of the oldest small town located in the Western Cape province of South Africa, the town is crowned “food and wine capital” of South Africa. Franschhoek is not only graced with the top restaurants in the country but is as well-recognized as the location of one of the top 50 restaurants globally. According to a report, “the ideal summer weather, snowy peaks in winter and proximity to Cape Town have turned Franschhoek into one of South Africa’s most sought-after residential addresses…”
In Namakwa District Municipality Northern Cape province, you’ll find Nieuwoudtville at the Bokkeveld steep descent. Few kilometres north of the town is the renowned Nieuwoudtville Falls on the Doring River. The beauty of Nieuwoudtville is at it’s best when you get to sight water, fall 100m down from the deep narrow rocky surface passage, to form a pool beneath.
3. Pilgrim’s Rest
The history of Pilgrim’s Rest is undoubtedly peculiar to such extent that the town was sold to the government as a national museum. Pilgrim’s Rest is a small town located in the Mpumalanga province. The town is a visual tale about the activities of the gold rush era as its original architecture remains largely unchanged since the town was declared a National Monument.
Montagu is situated at the meeting point of the Keisie and Kingna rivers in the Western Cape province of South Africa. The town is known for its picturesque mountains, springs, rock formations and agricultural products. Vineyards, local herbs, and orchards are a common view in Montagu, just as ‘Koo’ the farming site is appreciated for its quality peaches, apricots, apples, pears and other products. Meanwhile, the town is among the famous rock climbing sites in South Africa, and a scenic route in the town, snake to the famed Robertson Wine Valley.
Resting on the banks of the Sabie River in Mpumalanga is Sabie, a popular tourist destination located about 64 kilometres west of the eminent Kruger National Park, and recognized for its attractive waterfalls. Sabie is also known for its forestry. In fact, the plantations surrounding Sabie is acknowledged as one of the world’s largest forests created by humans. Among the many attractions of the town is the Lone Creek Falls, Sabie River falls, Maria Shire, Maria Shire, and Horseshoes.
Nieu-Bethesda is the Afrikaans way of saying “New Bethesda”. Your guess is right, the town’s name is of biblical origin which literally means “the place of flowing water”. Nieu-Bethesda is located at the foot of the Snow Mountains, “Sneeuberge” in the Eastern Cape province. Nieu-Bethesda is known for the “The Owl House” museum and Compassberg – the peak of the Snow Mountains regarded as the highest point in the Eastern Cape province.
7. St. Lucia
In KwaZulu-Natal province of South Africa, at Umkhanyakude District Municipality, You’ll find St Lucia, a small town which is more of a hub for the Greater St Lucia Wetlands Park; South Africa’s third-largest protected area now known as iSimangaliso Wetland Park. iSimangaliso is a Zulu word for “It’s Amazing”. And considering the species variation found in the park ranging from Nile crocodiles to hippopotamus, whales, dolphins, marine turtles, elephants, leopards, black and white rhinos, and buffaloes visitors always summarizes their conscious understanding of St. Lucia as “amazing”.
8. Port St. Johns
With three nearby beaches, Port Saint Johns is known as the centre of tourism on the Wild Coast famous for sea fishing and shore angling. Also famed are the Pondoland National park and the end of Mzimvubu River which flows through the “Gates of St John” into a large body of water traced to the Indian Ocean. Port Saint Johns is situated at the mouth of the Mzimvubu Rivers on the Wild Coast in the Eastern Cape province of South Africa.
As one of the oldest towns in South Africa, Riebeek-Kasteel was crowned in 2009, one of the three most beautiful towns in the Western Cape by “Rapport” newspaper. The town which is also the home to the oldest hotel of South Africa – “The Royal Hotel”, have overtime attracted some of most famed South Africa’s painters due to its aesthetic beauty and rural atmosphere.
10. Prince Albert
Originally known as Albertsburg, Prince Albert is a small town rooted at the base of the Swartberg mountains in Western Cape towards the southern edge of the Great Karoo; the semi-desert natural region of South Africa. Prince Albert is primarily engaged in farming and tourism. The former is obvious with the many export fruit farms in the town, the sheep, and olive farms. And in terms of tourism, the town has many genuine Cape Dutch, Karoo and Victorian buildings, thirteen of which are National Monuments.
Sutherland is said to be the coldest town in South Africa. That, however, haven’t discouraged the Capetonians buying property in the town, and others visiting on weekends and vacations. Known as a tourist destination where many sheep farmers are residing, Sutherland lies at the western Roggeveld Mountains in the Karoo located in the Northern Cape Province.
12. Nottingham Road
The town is located south of Mooi River, in KwaZulu-Natal and is a popular tourist destination amidst the well-known Midlands Meander famous for its “collection of arranged routes that offer visitors hospitality in beautiful surroundings, outstanding accommodation, conference and wedding facilities, fascinating local events, fabulous cuisine and restaurants, revitalizing outdoor activities and over-the-top adventure sports, historic landmarks, wildlife conservation, and best of all “shop-till-you-drop” unique arts and crafts.”
Tulbagh is attractive, but appeals more to LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender) for the town is regarded as one of the most LGBT-friendly destinations in South Africa. Tulbagh is friendly to all, blessed with numerous wine estates, graced with many animals and is situated in the Tulbagh basin also known as the “Land van Waveren” mountain in Western Cape. Many have described Tulbagh as a “peaceful town”
As the fourth oldest town in South Africa, situated on the banks of Sunday’s River in the Eastern Cape Province, Graaff-Reinet has more national monuments than any other town in South Africa. Both the inhabitants and visitors of Graaff-Reinet loves “The Valley of Desolation”, “The Camdeboo National Park”, “The Reinet House Museum” and the many other tourist attractions. From their ceaseless smiles, you’ll know they do.
Villiers drops is a small town located in the Overberg region of the Western Cape province, glamorized with fruits and wine farms. Villiersdorp is part of the famed Worcester Wine Route, owns the Theewaterskloof Dam and is home to famous artists.
You’ll find Clanwilliam situated at an elevation between the western slopes of the Cederberg mountains and the east bank of the Olifants River enclosed by the Clanwilliam Dam. Clanwilliam is located in Cederberg Local Municipality, at the Olifants River valley in Western Cape. The peaceful atmosphere of Clanwilliams has seen the town welcome many South Africans in search of a quiet home, Just as its numerous attraction like Bulshoek Dam, beautiful old Cape Dutch buildings, Old Gaol museum and Ramskop Wildflower Garden enthral visitors.
In the Mzimkulu River valley of KwaZulu-Natal is Underberg, a cattle-farming town resting at the foot of the “place of echoes” within the foothills of the southern Drakensberg. Underberg is known for its tour activities which include an annual outdoor music festival. Also, tourists are always advised to stay in Underberg for some days before they proceed their tour of the Southern Berg.
18. Coffee Bay
This is probably the smallest town on the list. You’ll find Coffee Bay in the southern city of Durban on the Wild Coast of the Eastern Cape Province adorned with close-by lodges, bars, and hotels. Also, aside “the hole in the wall” which is a popular tourist site in South Africa, there are other attractions like beautiful beaches and holiday resorts that collectively ensured Coffee Bay is listed here.
In the Eastern Cape Province, in the Amathole Mountains, lies Hogsback. The calm, town is well-known for its forests, waterfalls and trout fishing. The path to the Hogsback ecoshrine, the Hogsback ecoshrine and the Hogsback-Pass in the Tyhume valley are exceptional features of this town.
The seaside town on the Garden Route in George Municipality, Eden District of Western Cape has attracted much attention for its long white sand beach and lagoons. Wilderness has been the ideal destination for holidays for many South Africans and foreigners, renowned for the beauty of its surrounding areas. It’s hard to give a satisfactory description of the beauty of the town. Wilderness is breathtakingly beautiful beyond description.
Dullstroom attracts people from all over South Africa every July during its Winter Festival that brings the town’s people together. Also, know as Emnotweni, Dullstroom is a well-known fly-fishing spot in South Africa located in the Mpumalanga province. Dullstroom is also admired for its spectacular railway structures, and the town is the only place in South Africa where beech and elm trees grow.
22. Gariep Dam
Within Xhariep District Municipality, in the Free State Province of South Africa, you’ll find this settlement on the northern bank of the Orange River with an excellent road network that links the town to the Eastern Cape, Namibia, and Botswana. Among the many attractions of this town like “Forever Resorts” and the town’s nature resort, it’s Dam, the man-made Gariep Dam known as the largest dam in South Africa is probably, the most popular.
Clarens, referred to as the “Jewel of the Eastern Free State”, is known for its amazing atmospheric conditions and wondrous sandstone mountains. Clarens is recognized as the best Trout Fishing waters in South Africa and is undoubtedly listed among the most scenic locations in South Africa. The small town is found in Free State Province at the foothills of the Maluti Mountains with the Golden Gate National Park some kilometres away.
You’ll find Greyton in the Western Cape of South Africa in the region of the country, resting towards the east of Cape Town and beyond the Hottentots-Holland mountains. Much of the charm of this town is attributed to the retaining of its Cape architectural constructions based on local needs and reflecting local traditions. It’s needless to emphasize that Greyton is a popular holiday destination for visitors who enjoy a combination of the “ancient” world and contemporary conveniences. The numerous visitors visiting Greyton have validated that fact.
Kakamas town, as a leading producer of table grapes, is located on the banks of the Orange River in the Northern Cape. The fertile valley in Kakamas is graced with vineyards, cotton, and fields. The landscape is beautiful, and the town is generally peaceful.