10 Small But Beautiful Towns In South Africa

Here are, in alphabetical order, the 25 best small towns in South Africa:

1. Clanwilliam

With the picturesque Clanwilliam and Bulshoek dams and the spectacular Cederberg mountains in the area, this town offers the perfect weekend getaway. Two hours’ drive from Cape Town, the town is the perfect base from which to explore the surrounding area, including the magnificent, but secluded Biedouw Valley.

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With the picturesque Clanwilliam and Bulshoek dams and the spectacular Cederberg mountains in the area, this town offers the perfect weekend getaway. Two hours’ drive from Cape Town, the town is the perfect base from which to explore the surrounding area, including the magnificent, but secluded Biedouw Valley.

Things to do

The Lotz-Inn house on Bulshoek farm

The Biedouw Valley

The Kagga Kamma cave hotel

2. Clarens

Dubbed “the jewel of the Free State”, Clarens is a haven for artistic and food-loving types.  Nestled in the foothills of the Maluti mountains and a stone’s throw from Golden Gate National Park, which lies on the border between the Free State, Kwa-Zulu Natal and the mountain kingdom of Lesotho, Clarens would be a serious contender for the title of “South Africa’s favourite town”.

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Dubbed “the jewel of the Free State”, Clarens is a haven for artistic and food-loving types. Nestled in the foothills of the Maluti mountains and a stone’s throw from Golden Gate National Park, which lies on the border between the Free State, Kwa-Zulu Natal and the mountain kingdom of Lesotho, Clarens would be a serious contender for the title of “South Africa’s favourite town”.

Things to do

Clementine’s restaurant

Golden Gate National Park

Clarens Brewery

3. Coffee Bay

It may be a stretch to classify Coffee Bay as a “town” (it is tiny), but our list would not be complete without it.  Nguni cattle graze freely on rolling green hills which abruptly end to meet the ocean.  Coffee Bay is located on the “Wild Coast”, which is completely untouched by industrial development and breathtakingly beautiful.  The Hole in the Wall is one of South Africa’s most famous tourist attractions Umdumbi beach has been voted one of South Africa’s best beaches.

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It may be a stretch to classify Coffee Bay as a “town” (it is tiny), but our list would not be complete without it. Nguni cattle graze freely on rolling green hills which abruptly end to meet the ocean. Coffee Bay is located on the “Wild Coast”, which is completely untouched by industrial development and breathtakingly beautiful. The Hole in the Wall is one of South Africa’s most famous tourist attractions and Mdumbi beach has been voted one of South Africa’s best beaches.

Things to do

Hole in the wall

Ocean-side sunrises

Mdumbi Beach

4. Dullstroom

Fresh air, tranquility, magnificent scenery and the unofficial title as South Africa’s premier flyfishing destination make this village the perfect getaway and a shoe in on our list.

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Fresh air, tranquility, magnificent scenery and the unofficial title as South Africa’s premier flyfishing destination make this village the perfect getaway and a shoo-in on our list.

Things to do

Fly fishing

Whisky tasting 

The Anvil Ale House

5. Franschhoek

Known as the good food and wine capital of South Africa, this scenic gem never disappoints.  Its dramatic mountains, fusion of French and Dutch architecture and laid-back atmosphere has visitors returning time-and-time again.

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Known as the good food and wine capital of South Africa, this scenic gem never disappoints. Its dramatic mountains, fusion of French and Dutch architecture and laid-back atmosphere has visitors returning time-and-time again.

Things to do

The Tasting Room restaurant at Le Quartier Français

Haute Cabrière wine farm

Breakfast at the Mont Rochelle Hotel

6. Gariepdam

Many motorists travelling through the Free State pass this gem by without giving it a second thought, but anyone who has woken up to the sunrise from the De Stijl hotel, which overlooks the dam, will forever understand why this inconspicuous village made our list.  The many islands and bays are reminiscent of a Mediterranean archipelago, made all the more spectacular against the backdrop of the Free State’s plains.

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Many motorists travelling through the Free State pass this gem by without giving it a second thought, but anyone who has woken up to the sunrise from the De Stijl hotel, which overlooks the dam, will forever understand why this inconspicuous village made our list. The many islands and bays are reminiscent of a Mediterranean archipelago, made all the more spectacular against the backdrop of the Free State’s plains.

Things to do

The de Stijl Gariep hotel.

The tigers of Tiger Canyons

Go on a dam wall tour

7. Graaff-Reinet

Graaff Reinet is South Africa’s fourth oldest town, and arguably one of its most beautifully-preserved.  The hometown of one of South Africa’s greatest industrialists and philantropists, Anton Rupert, the town boasts with leafy streets and a treasure trove of quant restaurants and cafés.  Camdeboo National park and the Valley of Desolation, just outside town, is a wonderland of scenic contrasts.

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Graaff Reinet is South Africa’s fourth oldest town, and arguably one of its most beautifully-preserved. The hometown of one of South Africa’s greatest industrialists and philantropists, Anton Rupert, the town boasts leafy streets and a treasure trove of quaint restaurants and cafés. Camdeboo National park and the Valley of Desolation, just outside town, is a wonderland of scenic contrasts.

Things to do

The Polka Café

Camdeboo National Park

Graaff Reinet’s leafy streets

8. Greyton

Little more than an hour’s drive from Cape Town is the picturesque village of Greyton.  Founded in 1854, visitors can unwind and step back in time as they stroll through the village’s oak-lined lanes, past free-roaming cows and donkeys.  Calming scenic beauty coupled with excellent restaurants and cafés make Greyton a favourite on our list.

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Little more than an hour’s drive from Cape Town is the picturesque village of Greyton. Founded in 1854, visitors can unwind and step back in time as they stroll through the village’s oak-lined lanes, past free-roaming cows and donkeys. Calming scenic beauty coupled with excellent restaurants and cafés make Greyton a favourite on our list.

Things to do

The Rock Pools

Searle’s trading post

The Saturday Greyton market

9. Hogsback

Legend has it that Hogsback was the inspiration for the worlds J.R.R. Tolkien created in his “Lord of the Rings” and “The Hobbit” books.  There is something undoubtedly magical about this village.  The road leading to it winds steeply through lush green forests until the small town reveals itself perched atop the Amathole mountains.   With regular snowfall in winter and its pristine forests, the town of Hogsback can confidently claim to be one of the most picturesque towns in South Africa, if not the world.

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Legend has it that Hogsback was the inspiration for the worlds J.R.R. Tolkien created in his “Lord of the Rings” and “The Hobbit” books. There is something undoubtedly magical about this village.  The road leading to it winds steeply through lush green forests until the small town reveals itself perched atop the Amathole mountains. With regular snowfall in winter and its pristine forests, the town of Hogsback can confidently claim to be one of the most picturesque towns in South Africa, if not the world.

Things to do

The Enchanted Forest

The Bath at the end of the world

The 39 steps waterfall

10. Kakamas

Vineyards stretch as far as the eye can see and line the majestic Orange river as it works its way through the town of Kakamas.  The abundance of water (thanks to the river and a labyrinth network of canals), grand-scale vineyards, deep-blue African skies, quiver trees, wide-open landscapes and starry nights all combine to create this gem in the Kalahari.  Friendly, hospitable, down-to-earth people ensure that visitors are treated like royalty.  Everyone needs to visit Kakamas at least once in their lifetime.

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Vineyards stretch as far as the eye can see and line the majestic Orange river as it works its way through the town of Kakamas. The abundance of water (thanks to the river and a labyrinth network of canals), grand-scale vineyards, deep-blue African skies, quiver trees, wide-open landscapes and starry nights all combine to create this gem in the Kalahari. Friendly, hospitable, down-to-earth people ensure that visitors are treated like royalty.

Things to do

The ‘Pienk Padstal’ landmark pit stop

Find a solitary Quiver tree

The Augrabies waterfall

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