South Africa has not only got talent in the singing industry. It also has talent in the tourism industry. I’m not talking about the well known tourist destinations like Cape Town, the Kruger National Park and those types of destinations, I’m talking more along the lines of small towns that we tend to forget about so easily…
This one-street-town with its old world charm is based in the Karoo – a perfect stop over and a town that will, after one visit, never slip your mind ever again. The Lord Milner Hotel hosts many a guest (and ghost) and has never ending stories to tell. With the train station just across the road, this might be the ideal opportunity to travel back in time.
A very small town in the Free State, sadly almost completely run down, seems to be a book with no ending. With so many stories to tell, this old diamond mining town has seen numerous publications – even recently – due to its rich soil. As the oldest mining town in South Africa and with the biggest hand dug hole in the world, Jagersfontein should be one of the biggest tourist attractions in our country. A town filled with stories never told; one that might just be any photographer’s dream – capturing hope in the eyes of locals, sadness in its streets and stories in its architecture.
A common name for most, this arty town nestled between the golden sandstone mountains of the Eastern Free State Highlands, lures many a weekend traveler, biker, cyclist and hiker to the most Northern part of Lesotho’s border. Home to many artists and expats, Clarens is a fun weekend destination in close proximity to Bethlehem and Golden Gate, with some of the best trout fishing waters in South Africa.
Another town for artists, based in the very versatile Western Cape. I’ve never had a better scone and cream than in this town – at the Pepper Tree Art Stable and Coffee Shop to be exact. Here I noticed the tremendous importance of educational tours. Many of this town’s people probably don’t even know the meaning of the word, but they do it so perfectly. Local artists teach you how to do pottery among other things and share their secrets and ideas with you. A true eye opener, this town, let me tell you.
With coffee shops and small local markets, this town – one of the oldest in South Africa – forms part of the Riebeek Valley in the Western Cape. This town is often referred to as the “best kept secret of the Western Cape” or even “Franschhoek fifteen years ago”. Here you can actually see and feel the effort people put into what they love: Hospitality.
So yes, I am a fan of small towns, because I believe that that is where the stories lie. Go look them up!