If you wish to witness the true beauty of South Africa, head to the many villages that adorn this marvel of a country. The most beautiful villages in South Africa are scattered all over the country’s area. You will find all kinds of people living in these scenic villages. These villages are known as ‘dorpies’ meaning ‘little towns’. They are loved by the people who live in them and those who pay a visit to them. However, these villages are relatively unexplored and are some of the most tranquil places in the entire world.
Best time to visit the villages in South Africa – Throughout the year
Most Beautiful Villages in South Africa
1. De Aar
Highlights – Hospitality, Steam engine history, Infrastructure
Situated in South Africa’s Northern Cape is the village of De Aar. Though it is a pretty big village, it has a very warm culture of hospitality. It gets hot in the summers and almost freezing during winters. This feature is known as ‘Karoo’. Having wide roads, ‘De Aar’ is Dutch for ‘artery’ and refers to an underground watercourse. For over a century, the steam train ran across the junction in the middle of De Aar along the line between Cape Town and Kimberly. This makes it an important place to visit for steam locomotive enthusiasts.
Highlights – Serenity, Bird-watching, Pleasant weather
One of the most beautiful small villages in South Africa, Gillitts is about 35 kilometres inland of Durban. Home to several small rural holdings, the serenity of this village is unmatched. The residents of Durban usually visit Gillitts to escape the mainstream society’s sticky humidity. It non-functional train station is a delightful sight while the local essence is exemplified with its rich indigenous forests, grasslands, and wetlands. The perfect spot for walking and bird-watching, the beauty of Gillitts cannot be described in words.
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Highlights – Community spirit, Market days, Colonial charm, Scenic landscape
Currently popular as the village where the well-known Oprah Winfrey has her school, Henley-on-Klip is situated on the banks of the river Klip on the R59 between Vereeniging. The peaceful charm of the village in its farm-like style, a soothing colonial feel, tree-lined streets, lush gardens, and open fields decked with wildflowers attract several tourists who seek a relaxed time amid their chaotic lives. Henley-on-Klip’s indomitable community spirit is what will leave you feeling comfortable and warm. The energy of the school and market days are truly a sight to behold. As one of the best small villages in South Africa, Henley-on-Klip is truly a wonder.
4. Harfield Village
Highlights – Community spirit, Shops, Restaurants
Situated in the middle of Cape Town, Harfield Village has a very enthusiastic vibe that emanates from it. With quite a few quaint shops and restaurants, this village is a suburb of Claremont. One of the busiest but most beautiful villages in South Africa, the 2nd Avenue of this village sees the largest crowd in the area. A community brimming with cheer, a visit to Harfield Village is sure to be a very enriching experience for you.
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Highlights – Tranquility, Beautiful vista
One of the least explored small inland villages in South Africa is that of Hoekwil. Truly defining ‘inland’ to the best of extents, this village is one of the best places to visit for a truly tranquil visit. It lies 30 kilometres into the wilderness up to the Serpentine Pass in the river Touws. Described as a ‘paradise’, Hoekwil is a splendid region, a definite treat to the eyes. It is one of the most beautiful villages in South Africa. If you are touring South Africa, the superb village of Hoekwil must definitely be on your travel list.
Highlights – Clear stream, Victorian essence
One of the most beautiful small villages in South Africa, Klaarstroom abounds in Victorian styles. This village is situated against Meiringspoort. Farmers pass through this village on their journey to and from Mossel Bay. They used to stop by to wash their wool in a clean stream here, and hence the name, ‘Klaarstroom’. Away from the chaotic crowd, this village has the finest landscapes and majestic views.
Highlights – Farms, Village church, River Olifants, Matzikamma Mountains, Gifberg
Named after a wild clover that grows here during rains, Klawer is a little farm village in South Africa. The river Olifants flows here, along the banks of which there are rich orange groves and grape vines. The views of Matzikamma Mountains and Gifberg in the distance make this village one of the most beautiful villages in South Africa. A major landmark of Klawer is the village church with its prominent steeple and clock. However, the bountiful farms of this village are what draw people to Klawer.
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Highlights – Windflowers, Peace
Situated almost at the border of Namibia is the village of Nababeep. As one of the remotest villages in South Africa, peace abounds in this region. Nestled in the northwest of the country’s land, it is a gorgeous village even though it used to be mined for copper. Now, it has been left to sustain on the revenues of tourism. The perfect time to visit Nababeep is during the windflower season when the flowers are at their glorious best and the village becomes of the most precious sights that you will ever see.
Highlights – Victorian houses, A blend of civilization and wild freedom
Matjiesfontein is known to be the village that was forgotten by time. It is a hidden gem of South Africa. Described by Olive Schreiner as “a curious mixture of civilization and the most wild untamed freedom”, not much has changed in Matjiesfontein since its olden days. This village only has a row of whitewashed Victorian houses along with a hotel of the colonial times, the Lord Milner Hotel. These are located across from the railway line through which there is a passing of the Blue Train.
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Highlights – Trekking, Victorian cottages
Tucked amidst the highland mountains of the Eastern Cape is the South African village, Rhodes. Named after Cecil John Rhodes, this village has some spectacular Victorian cottages. These point to the architecture of those who first brought construction material to this area over 100 years ago. One of the most beautiful villages in South Africa, tree-lined streets have houses in which many artists live or retreat in. They are also largely used as guesthouses. Reaching this village requires a trek, fuelling the inner adventurer in you.
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11. Twee Riviere
Highlights – Victorian architectural features, Fruit orchards, River Diep, River Dwars
Located in the Langkloof, Twee Riviere is another hidden village in South Africa. Langkloof is a narrow and long valley full of fruit orchards, mainly those of apples. This village has two rivers, the river Diep and the river Dwars. Twee Riviere is said to be over 250 years old, dating back to 1765. The vast collection of Victorian-style barns and cottages, the age-old aqueduct system, and large pits with walls of stone exemplify the old-world charm of this village. With so much to explore, Twee Riviere is one of the most beautiful and most visited villages in South Africa.
Highlights – River Duiwenhoks, Tranquillity, Canoeing
Situated on the lower banks of the river Duiwenhoks, Vermaaklikheid is a well-preserved village in South Africa. Blessed with abundant tranquillity, this village is about 10 kilometres from towering sea cliffs. You can reach here by canoeing on the river’s water. When the name ‘Vermaaklikheid’ is roughly translated, it gives the meaning of ‘enjoyment’. Truly, the most popular activity to do here is to embrace the beauty of the village and relax in its soothing atmosphere.
Highlights – Rooibos, Handmade veldskoene, Adventure
Cosy amidst the distant mountains of Cederberg, Wuppertal is a tiny Rhenish missionary village. The houses here have whitewashed thatched roofs and the fantastic views of a valley. Famed for its rooibos and handmade veldskoene, this village still remains pretty isolated from the rest of the civilisation. The roads leading to Wuppertal are difficult to travel on, making it a task for visitors to pay a visit. However, for those who love anything except the ordinary, this is the journey for you.
Highlights – Picturesque walks
Situated at a little distance from its sister town, Amalienstein, on Route 62 is one of the most beautiful villages in South Africa, Zoar. Route 62 is considered to be the longest wine route in the whole world. Zoar is another tiny former mission station village in South Africa. With ‘Zoara’ translating to ‘small’ in Hebrew, this village is so little in size that it can easily be missed. However, if you are on Route 62, it will surely be worth your time to explore this village and the many walks that can be taken into the hills from here.
Highlights – Hiking
Waterval-Boven is one of the beautiful villages in South Africa above the 75-metre Elands Fall. Located on the fringes of northern Drakensburg which extend into Mpumalanga, this village is a great place for adventure lovers. A hiking mecca with challenging boulders, crags, and routes, this is where you will feel your adrenaline rush in. For a fun-filled getaway, the village of Waterval-Boven needs to be on your travel list.
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A country full of serene villages, South Africa is the ideal place for those who seek undisturbed solace and relaxation. If you are in the mood to loosen up from your routine and unwind in the lap of nature, some of the most beautiful villages in South Africa are all eager to be explored.