There’s nothing like small town living, but if you can’t live in a small town, visiting one is the next best thing.

South Africa has a rich and interesting history. While the cities have been somewhat washed of this history, through the use of modern architecture, the small towns around the country have held onto their old world charm and have become tourist hotspots. With incredible hospitality, wonderful accommodation, and plenty of interesting things to do, from Mpumalanga, down to the tip of Africa in the Western Cape, these are some of the fantastic small towns worth spending some time in.

  1. Barberton, Mpumalanga

Home to the first gold rush and today a small town with a cosy culture, Barberton is a must visit. It is almost completely surrounded by towering mountains, and with some of the most incredible hiking trails in Mpumalanga, a trip here will be unforgettable.

  1. Franschhoek, Western Cape

Most of the Western Cape of South Africa is winelands and the towns here are heavily influenced by a colonial past, although it is a predominantly French past, which is evident in the majestic architecture. Franschhoek is very old school and it is one of the oldest towns in the country. One of the best things to do when visiting here is to go on a tour of the vineyards and taste some of the wines on offer.

  1. Machadodorp, Mpumalanga

A town that might not have all that much charm, at least not like the other towns on this list, Machadodorp is still worth the visit, especially if you are keen on exploring the great outdoors. Close to this town, if your mission is to get out there and get back in touch with nature, you will find various hiking trails that will take you through the mountains. Some of the best hiking trails in the area are those at Bermanzi, which also offers great accommodation in Machadodorp.

  1. Genadendal, Western Cape

If you are looking for a touch of small town Europe, this is the place to go. Genadendal is not the best known small town in the country, but perhaps that is a big part of the appeal. With its dirt roads and surrounding mountains which are so often shrouded in mist, when you arrive in the town, you would not be the first person to feel as though you are taking a step back in time. But despite its old world feel, the town is well kept.

  1. Hogsback, Eastern Cape

Hogsback has stolen many hearts. With its rather whimsical feel, the town and its surrounds are absolutely beautiful. The town is home to all sorts of interesting things, but if it is nature you yearn for, the hills, forests, mountain trails, and rivers offer a lot. And a trip to the town is an absolute must if you are a Lord of the Ring’s fan, as it was a source of inspiration for J.R.R Tolkien’s famous novel.