Whether you plan to stay long-term or just pass through, here are 5 essential towns to visit in South Africa.

1. Knysna, Western Cape

Knysna is located along South Africa’s famed Garden Route in the Western Cape province. The town is famous for its oyster festival, warm people and the most magnificent views from Leisure Isle to the Knysna Heads.
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WHAT’S HAPPENING

The Knysna Oyster Festival takes place in July, generally for 10 days or so.

2. Franschhoek, Western Cape

Franschhoek is renowned for having some of the top restaurants in South Africa. This, and the quiet town’s natural beauty, strong winemaking heritage and exquisite architecture, have helped make it what many describe as the ‘food and wine capital’ of South Africa.

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WHAT’S HAPPENING

The Franschhoek Bastille Festival occurs annually in July. Other popular events are the Franschhoek Cap Classique and Champagne Festival that takes place in early December, and the annual literary festival in May.

3. Stellenbosch, Western Cape

Stellenbosch is internationally renowned for its beautiful environment, wine farms, street cafés, restaurants, quality wines, historical buildings and its famous university.

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WHAT’S HAPPENING

The annual Stellenbosch Wine Festival usually takes place in July. The Spier Performing Arts Festival occurs annually in February or March.

4. Pilgrim’s Rest, Mpumalanga

Pilgrim’s Rest is situated on the magnificent Panorama Route of the Mpumalanga province. The entire village is a tourist attraction and was declared a National Monument in 1986. Today, Pilgrim’s Rest is a living monument to the feverish gold rush days of the late 1800s.

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TOURS TO DO

The Friends of the Pilgrim’s Rest Museum offer a five-hour interactive tour through the village.

5. Groot Marico, North West

Settle in to a genuine South African experience in Groot Marico. It’s no wonder that so many of Herman Charles Bosman’s tales featured this part of the country. With its enchanting atmosphere and warm hospitality, the Groot Marico offers you a culturally rich holiday that will be both relaxing and entertaining.

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WHAT’S HAPPENING

In October every year the town honours the man who made it famous by means of the Herman Charles Bosman Festival. For the fitness fanatics the challenging annual Marico Mountain Bike Classic takes place annually, usually in July. There are four trails from 23km to 61km to choose from.