With all the long weekends having recently passed us by, most of us are pretty regretful that we just ended up staying at home. All the while, family and friends keep throwing back to their amazing weekends away and all you can do about it is, like, maybe comment if you’re feeling generous, and scroll on.
If this is you, what you need is a guide to the little towns in South Africa that will make for the best weekend away. By keeping it local and “little”, there will be no need to break the bank just to get away. And it can be your turn to make the world jealous.
And why a little town? Many people need a break from all the work and home drama which is why a little town where no-one knows you is ideal. And, well, you’ll know for yourself after you’ve experienced it.
Headed to KwaZulu-Natal, we have the Drakensberg mountain range where people love to get away and relax in the quiet mountains. Waterfalls, rock pools, rivers and famous peaks are found and loved in these mountains. And if you’ve never understood the wonders of the night sky, you haven’t seen the stars while tented up in the mountains.
The silence you experience almost hurts your ears at first, but once you’ve been there, you’ll be making trips out there more regularly. The Drakensberg area isn’t quite a town, but we had to put it on the list of best weekend getaways.
If you haven’t experienced the beauty of the Namaqualand region of the Northern Cape yet, you really need to. In the springtime, it becomes a valley of blossoming flowers pretty much as far as the eye can see. When you’re surrounded by flowers and mountains, it’s instinctual to relax and be transported by the nature in the environment.
Book yourself a room at the Springbok Inn and spend a few days in the tranquillity of Springbok. Bring along your mountain bikes or hiking shoes and you can follow some trails through the floral kingdom.
In the Western Cape, along the West Coast of South Africa, there is the super small fishing town of Paternoster. Many people don’t even realise they’re driving through the town on their way to Tietiesbaai. It’s that small.
But if you enjoy the sound and smell of the ocean, with practically no other sounds at all, then Paternoster is where you need to be. There are a variety of little beach houses you can stay at and the cutest little stores with homemade and baked goods for sale. Don’t miss out on having a meal at the Voorstrand restaurant right on the beach or a visit to the unique Junk & Disorderly restaurant and store.
If you’re coming from Port Elizabeth or East London in the Eastern Cape, you may want to look to Hogsback (Qabimbola) for a weekend getaway. Especially if you’re on the lookout for a place that is both unique and tranquil.
In the Amathole mountains, among the forests, Hogsback can be found and enjoyed. It’s the place to go to when you want to get away from the rush of city life and relax in the peace that nature brings. There are more activities to do here than you would expect from such a small community and they’re all focused on the surrounding nature.
Alternatively, if you’re in the Eastern Cape and looking for a seaside getaway as opposed to a forest and mountainous one (such as Hogsback), then you’d prefer to head to Kenton-on-Sea. Beaches, rivers, game reserves and a floating restaurant are the selling points of this underrated little town.
The Indian Ocean will provide refreshing summer swims at the beaches that form part of the Sunshine Coast. And the Boesmans River will provide kayak and cruise activities. It’s a great place to take the whole family or spend some quality time with your significant other because there is a little bit of everything for everyone to enjoy.
If you’re up in Limpopo or even Johannesburg and are looking for a getaway for a long weekend (keep travelling time in mind when planning a weekend away), make Hoedspruit a little town on your list.
It’s relatively close to the Kruger National Park where you can spend one of your weekend-away days, or there are other game reserves surrounding the town as well. It’s situated in the land of African Lowveld landscapes with Acacia trees and wildlife almost all around. It’s small, it’s quiet and it’s a great roadtrip route from Johannesburg. To be fair, you couldn’t expect less from a town in the Blyde River Canyon region, anyway.
So, start looking out for when the next long weekend is or pick a place to visit over a normal weekend. You don’t always need an excuse to get away.