6 Tourist Towns in South Africa worth exploring
Knysna A South African Tourist Town

Frequently on the list of the most beautiful countries in the world, there is no excuse not to head off and explore the best Tourist Towns in South Africa. Make a flask, grab the kids, and lock the doors behind you. Time for a road trip. Wherever you go next, make sure you explore these 6 towns listed below:


A picturesque town nestled between the Rooiberge and the Maloti Mountains is famous for all it’s tourist attractions and activities. A town with a real poker face. You think you’ve seen it all and the next time you visit it reveals another great hand. There is always something to do in Clarens, bring your camera.

Where to Stay: Castle in ClarensAfriski Mountain Resort (come ski here in winter)
Where to eat: Barrel & Beef Family Restaurant
What to do: White water rafting, Zipline, Paintball, Quad Bikes, Abseiling, Bent Stick Archery, Fly Fishing.
Look out for: Winterfest 23-26 Aug 2018, Lush Festival watch out for the 2019 Festival.


Someone please pass the wine! Cheers to the wine producing town, and the next stop on our list of the best Tourist Towns in South Africa. Apart from all the wine farms one can visit, make sure you sit down for a meal at the many top-notch and celebrity-chef restaurants. Franschhoek has claimed the Cullinary Capital of South Africa and it’s not unfounded. With a growing demand for Franschhoek’s Wedding and Function Venues, remember to book early if you want to create those unforgettable memories.

Where to Stay: Angala, Mont Rochelle
Where to eat: Franschhoek CellarLe Petit Manoir, Reuben’s Restaurant and Bar, Foliage, Bread and Wine
What to do: ALL the wine farms, sorry, Haute Cabrière, Moreson, Rupert & Rothschild Vignerons, Chamonix Wine Farm.
For a Wedding: The Conservatory Franschhoek, Grande Provence Heritage Wine Estate.
Look out for: Clash of the Chefs 25Aug 2018, Franschhoek Cap Classique & Champagne Festival 1-2 December 2018.


An easy drive from Johannesburg and Pretoria, Dullstroom claims the Trout Fishing Capital with pride. If you’ve ever had a pancake at Harrie’s Pancakes then you’d probably add Pancake Capital as well. Dullstroom has a significant arts community and the spectacular surroundings have surely inspired many to create originals.

Where to Stay: Walkersons Hotel and Spa, Dunkeld Estate, Family Luxury Villa, Treeferns Trout Lodge.
Where to eat: Harrie’s Pancakes, Mayfly Restaurant and Cocktail bar.
What to do: Wild about Whisky, Mavungana Flyfishing, Highland Golf and Trout Estate.
Look out for: Dullstroom Country Festival 4 Aug 2018.


A river runs through it.
Walking is the only way to explore Breë- and Water Streets, the main “arteries” of the town. Like many other Tourist Towns in South Africa, Parys with it’s natural beauty quickly became a hub for well-know artists and craftsmen. Eat local, get a spa treatment overlooking the mighty Vaal river, or let the kids stalk a lantern. It’s easy to fill up a long weekend get-away, and it’s only an hour’s drive from Johannesburg.

Where to Stay: Parys on Vaal, Sunwa, Le Grand Chateau.
Where to eat: Pont De Val, O’s Restaurant
What to do: Dog and Fig Brewery, Koepel Mega Zip Adventures, Parys River Rafting, River Spa
Look out for: SA Boerboel Championships, Vredefort Dome (impact crater).


Whale away time in Hermanus. Time to pause, let go and take in the fresh sea air. Jump in a boat and touch a whale or watch it from the shore while sipping a glass of champagne. With over 300 activities in Hermanus there is no reason why you can’t convince yourself to try something new.

Where to Stay: Whale Away, Whale of a Time
Where to eat: Burgandy Restaurant, Origins, Fusion Restaurant, La Vierge Restaurant and Venue
What to do: Whale Watchers, Heart of Abalone, Paraglide SA, Tree Top Tours, Whale Coast Mall.
Look out for: Whale Festival 20-30 September 2018,  Hermanus FynArts 7-17 June 2019


The Garden Route, a 300km stretch at the Southern tip of the African continent hosts our last town on our list, Knysna. Arguably the most beautiful town on the Garden Route it’s also home to the only forest elephants in South Africa. With the town nestling around Lagoon, the town fathers have ensured that many generations will enjoy this protected marine reserve.

Where to Stay: The Turbine Boutique Hotel, Milkwood Bay Catering Villa, Cliffhanger Cottages, Knysna Quays Accommodation.
Where to eat: Tapas and Oysters Restaurant, Sirocco, Butterfly Blu Restaurant, East Head Café.
What to do: Springtide Sailing Charters, Knysna Elephant Park, Bungie Jump Storms River.
Look out for: The Knysna Oyster Festival, ABSA Cape Epic, Pink Loerie Mardi Gras, Knysna Forest Marathon.

A honourable mention also goes to Plettenberg Bay that came up just short of our list. But it’s a quick drive while you’re in Knysna.
Go local, our country is beautiful. If we’ve missed any Tourist Towns in South Africa worth exploring, please comment below.

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Jeanine Malan
Jeanine Malan


I wrote a travel guide on Stellenbosch a while ago.