Charming Small Towns in South Africa You Have to Visit

A dirt road in Stanford, Western Cape
A dirt road in Stanford, Western Cape | Courtesy of Stanford Tourism and Business | Stanford Tourism and Business

Travelling to top tourist destinations is a given, but there’s so much more to see than just big cities and busy museums. From an old fishing village to an artist’s retreat surrounded by towering mountains, visit these charming small towns in South Africa and explore the other side of the country.

Clarens, Free State

Also known as ‘the jewel of the Free State,’ Clarens is a picturesque artist’s town in the foothills of the Maloti Mountains that stretch to the landlocked Kingdom of Lesotho. From galleries and quaint clothing stores to the popular craft brewery in the town centre, there’s much to keep visitors busy. A drive to the Golden Gate Highlands National Park is also not to be missed and, if you’re up for it, hike the famous Brandwag Buttress.

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CentralAmerica

GORGEOUS GUATEMALA

Gorgeous Guatemala

5 days . Mini
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1. Guatemala

An express adventure for those with limited time off. Prepare yourself incredible experiences. You will hike a volcano, visit mayan temples and witness a ceremony and take in beautiful colonial Antigua.

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CentralAmerica

BEACHY BELIZE

Beachy Belize

5 days . Mini
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2. Belize

A quick trip not too far away for those seeking a relaxing mini break. You will have plenty of free time to relax but also some awesome activities to experience the rainforest and the caribbean sea.
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CentralAmerica

COLONIAL MEXICO

Colonial Mexico

5 days . Mini
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3. Mexico

An exciting mini trip exploring the lesser known colonial towns of central Mexico. This is hte perfect trip for someone with limited time off and still wants to turn on explorer mode and do something different.
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SouthAmerica

ADVENTUROUS ECUADOR

Adventurous Ecuador

8 days . Epic
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1. Ecuador

A remarkable 8 days adventure through the Andes and the Amazon rainforest. The best choice for adventure seekers wishing to visit the 2 most iconic areas of South America, in only 1 week and no flights.

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SouthAmerica

ANCIENT PERU

Ancient Peru

9 days . Epic
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2. Peru

An alternative itinerary to classic Peru, from Cusco to Arequipa. This itinerary is great combination of highlights Cusco and Machu Picchu with the lesser known Arequipa and Colca Canyon.
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Europe

SEDUCTIVE SOUTHERN ITALY

Seductive Southern Italy

10 days . Epic
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1. Italy

The ultimate Italian experience from the vibrant streets of Naples to the breathtaking sceneries of the Amalfi Coast followed by Matera and down to Puglia with its golden beaches, intense flavours and fascinating destinations.

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Europe

EDINBURGH AND THE SCOTTISH HIGHLANDS BY TRAIN

Edinburgh And The Scottish Highlands By Train

7 days . Culture
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2. Scotland

Embark on this great adventure starting from London all the way to Scotland with a true Scottish experience made of breathtaking sceneries, whisky tasting and ..lots of fun! Ideal for train lovers and explorers.
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Europe

COMPLETE PORTUGAL BY TRAIN

Complete Portugal By Train

8 days . Culture
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3. Portugal

A wonderful train journey around Portugal, from the romantic city of Porto to the Douro Valley, to the beautiful Aveiro all the way to Lisbon and Sintra. The perfect trip to train, culinary and culture lovers.
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Asia

SOULFUL SOUTH KOREA

Soulful South Korea

10 days . Epic
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1. South Korea

Discover incredible temples, mountains and modern cities on this 10 day adventure. This trip is perfect for those seeking immersion in the cuisine, culture and natural wonders of South Korea.

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Asia

THAILAND, CAMBODIA & VIETNAM

Thailand, Cambodia & Vietnam

11 days . Epic
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2. Thailand

From Bankgok to Angkor Wat to Ho Chi Minh City and everything in between - adventure through the heart of South-East Asia. Taste the delights, see history brought to life and unwind on a Mekong River cruise.
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SECRETS OF SRI LANKA BY TRAIN

Secrets Of Sri Lanka By Train

10 days . Culture
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3. Sri Lanka

A fantastic adventure that showcases Sri Lanka's fantastic landscapes, wildlife and flavours. With 3 epic rail journeys, 3 UNESCO heritage sites and time to relax, this trip has loads to offer at a great price
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Africa

EPIC MOROCCO

Epic Morocco

11 days . Epic
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1. Morocco

An epic journey across Morocco: from Casablanca to Marrakech, through the blue city of Chefchaouen to the wonders of the desert and deep to the High Atlas Mountains - this trip has it all! Ideal for true explorers!

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Africa

ULTIMATE EGYPT

Ultimate Egypt

9 days . Epic
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2. Egypt

From Cairo to Aswan, this trip brings the land of the pharaohs to life. You'll visit the Pyramids, Valley of the Kings and Luxor Temple and cruise down the Nile in style. This is the perfect way to explore Egypt.
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Africa

IMMERSIVE KENYA

Immersive Kenya

8 days . Epic
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3. Kenya

An immersive blend of culture and wildlife for first time travelers to Africa. Learn about Nairobi, sample local coffee in the Aberdares and finish up with a fantastic safari stay in the Masai Mara.
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The mountainous landscape surrounding Clarens

Dullstroom, Mpumalanga

Dullstroom is a fly fishing haven and one of the most popular Gauteng getaway destinations. The town is also en route to the Kruger National Park or the Blyde River Canyon, and you won’t regret stopping over for a night or two. Expect rolling fields covered in mist, flat-surfaced lakes, many dining options and, of course, the annual Dullstroom Winter Festival, held at the end of June. During this weekend-long celebration, the town fills with music, markets, and a lively atmosphere, so it’s a great time to plan a visit.

Dullstroom is filled with quaint buildings

Nieu-Bethesda, Eastern Cape

Nieu-Bethesda in the Eastern Cape is approximately 50 km (31 mi) from Graaff Reinet and the perfect detour when in the area. With a population of only about 100 people, the small town seems stuck in a bygone era, complete with a quirky bookshop and donkey carts. Nieu-Bethesda’s growing reputation as a place to unwind makes it a great stopover when travelling through the Karoo. The main attraction has to be Helen Martins’ magical Owl House, a living museum that retraces the artist’s life as an outcast.

Nieu-Bethesda

Cullinan, Gauteng

Cullinan is only a short drive from Pretoria and is where the largest ever uncut diamond was found. The gem was discovered in 1905, measuring a remarkable 3,106 carats, and is now part of the Crown Jewels of the United Kingdom. Today, the small town boasts a bustling street lined with cafes and restaurants and, surprisingly, some of the best Greek food you’ll find this side of South Africa. An underground tour of the diamond mine is a popular option when visiting, or you can opt for a relaxing lunch on a day trip from the big city.

Cullinan boasts many eateries and attractions including a small museum

Prince Albert, Western Cape

In the foothills of the Swartberg Mountains in the Karoo lies the charming town of Prince Albert. From arty shops and great restaurants to adventure activities, this town has everything and more. There are numerous galleries and artist studios to visit, and if you want to relax, join a yoga class at Saffron Healing or get a massage at Health Haven.

The town is surrounded by vineyards as well as olive and fruit farms

Stanford, Western Cape

Stanford, a tiny riverside village, lies just 16 kilometres (10 mi) east of the whale-watching town of Hermanus in the Western Cape. It’s surrounded by farms, vineyards and boasts beautiful houses with perfectly kept gardens. Visit the Klein River Cheese Farmstead and get your fill of delicious cheeses and local wines while picnicking under the lush willow trees.

A Dutch Reformed Church, completed in 1926

Paternoster, West Coast

The old fishing village of Paternoster on the West Coast is home to one of the most beautiful stretches of beach in the country. This is where you’ll find the best of the best when it comes to seafood restaurants and traditional Cape cuisine. And to top it all off, the views from most spots in town are out of this world. There are also many quirky shops and galleries scattered all over.

Paternoster beach at sunset

Parys

Parys is situated on the banks of the Vaal River near the Vredefort Dome, the largest impact crater on the planet and a UNESCO World Heritage site. It’s less than an hour’s drive from Johannesburg and has become synonymous with antiquing due to its many quaint stores. The largest wild olive forest in the country is also nearby, and activities are plentiful – from river rafting and bird watching to stargazing and archery.

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