11 min read

The 10 Best Small Towns to Move to in South Africa in 2024

Havana Dauncey
· February 16, 2024
The 10 Best Small Towns to Move to in South Africa in 2024

Are you looking to escape the crazy city life and find your ultimate South African safe haven? Then it might be time to semigrate to one of South Africa’s best small towns.

If you’re looking to uncover one of South Africa's hidden jewels and become a small-town local, then you won’t be the only one. South Africa has had a great semigration over the past few years out of the city and into the peaceful countryside and coastlines. And with many people continuing to work from home after COVID, many are choosing to move away from the big cities, slow things down and do their work with the backdrop of some of the country’s most spectacular views. Who can blame them!

To get you started on your small-town adventure, here are the top 10 small towns in South Africa that are capturing South Africans' hearts.

1. Franschhoek

Small towns FranschhoekNestled in the heart of the Cape Winelands, Franschhoek is one of South Africa’s oldest towns and the perfect new home for any wine lover looking to escape into the countryside.

Cradled by mountains and hills and surrounded by a patchwork of vineyards, Franschhoek is known as the good food and wine capital of South Africa with the backdrop of breathtaking mountains and traditional 17th-century Dutch architecture. The town gets its name from the Dutch ‘Fransche Hoek’ meaning ‘French Corner,’ since many French Huguenots ended up settling in the area around 1688.

Franschhoek offers locals a chic cosmopolitan lifestyle with restaurants, art galleries and an exquisite mix of traditional and modern residences with a peaceful and picturesque setting outside of Cape Town’s busy city.

Location: Cape Winelands

Average property price: R5.8 million

Population: 17 500

Distance to nearest major city: 1h drive to Cape Town (75km)

Attractions: Wine tram, wine farms, hiking, Huguenot Memorial Museum, world-famous restaurants and art galleries

2. Langebaan

Small towns LangebaanKnown as the Jewel of the West Coast, Langebaan enjoys almost year-round sunshine and boasts crystal blue waters, white sands and unbelievable natural beauty.

The white sand beaches surrounding the clear waters of the Langebaan Lagoon are very popular, and the mild climate and protected waters of the lagoon make it the perfect location for many water sports, including sailing, kayaking, kitesurfing and fishing. In winter it is never very cold and the long summer days are never unbearably hot.

Langebaan boasts a variety of property options, whether it’s directly on the beach or up in the hills, a choice of restaurants, a golf course, tennis courts, a bowling green, a yacht club and all the shopping you need. Plus, surround yourself by the gorgeous nature of the West Coast National Park which boasts a variety of fauna and flora, especially during the spring flower season in August and September.

Location: West Coast

Average property price: R1.85 million

Population: 3000

Distance to nearest major city: 1h30m drive to Cape Town (135km)

Attractions: Water sports, fishing, Club Mykonos, beaches, West Coast Fossil Park, West Coast National Park

3. George

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Hiking South Africa (@hiking.southafrica)

Considered the Heart of the Garden Route and capital of the Southern Cape, George is the ideal hub from which to explore the diverse scenery and natural wonders of its surrounding areas. George sits at the foot of the Outeniqua Mountains and right on the stunning coastline, providing a low rainfall Mediterranean-type climate with activities to keep you busy all year round.

While George is known to many as a holiday destination, many families have relocated to this most beloved town. George, as the largest of the Garden Route towns, is also considered the industrial and business hub of the Southern Cape Region. With easy access to both Cape Town and Port Elizabeth (Gqeberha) through the N2, plus its own international airport, George serves as a vital central point and convenient location.

It’s also very difficult to get bored in George as home to 2 of the top 10 golf courses in South Africa, theatres, a wide expanse of forest, rivers, mountains, some of the best beaches and the Indian Ocean on your doorstep. The moderate climate makes George ideal for adventure all year round and plenty of outdoor activities.

Location: Cape Garden Route

Average property price: R1.9 million

Population: 220 000

Distance to nearest major city: 5h30m drive to Cape Town (430km) or just over 1h drive to Gqeberha (330km)

Attractions: Fishing, diving, water skiing, cycling, canoeing, hiking, sailing, windsurfing and surfing

4. Swellendam

Small towns SwellendamPerfectly positioned halfway between Cape Town and the Garden Route is Swellendam, in the middle of the Robertson Valley wine-producing area.

Swellendam connects the Overberg with the Garden Route and sits at the base of the Langeberg mountains near the R62’s Tradouw Pass. Swellendam’s central locations give locals access to explore the surrounding areas, including Montagu, Robertson, Bonnievale and more. As South Africa’s third oldest town, Swellendam is steeped in history with its historic buildings such as the Drostdy and the majestic Moederkerk, both of which are well-known landmarks in the town.

There is a kaleidoscope of flora and fauna providing great photographic opportunities. The three reserves that are near Swellendam are the Bontebok National Park, Marloth Nature Reserve and the expansive De Hoop Nature Reserve. Outdoor adventures and activities include backpacking in the mountains, touring the wine route of the Breede River Valley, Montague and the Klein Karoo, golf with magnificent views of the Langeberg Mountains, plus canoeing, water-skiing and the “watersnake” on the Buffeljachts Dam.

Location: Overberg

Average property price: R1.7 million

Population: 40 000

Distance to nearest major city: 2h40m drive to Cape Town

Attractions: Hiking, wine tours, Drostdy Museum, Breede River, Buffeljachts Dam, golf and restaurants

5. Plettenberg Bay

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Plett Tourism (@pletttourism)

Plettenberg Bay, or ‘Plett’ as it’s locally known, is a beach paradise with its mountains, white sand and crystal-blue water. It has become one of the country’s top local tourist spots and an increasingly popular new home for South Africans looking to semigrate.

The town has miles of sweeping golden beaches, the dramatic Robberg Peninsula, intriguing lagoons and estuaries, indigenous forests and unpolluted rivers and sea to entice visitors. From Keurboomstrand to the Robberg Peninsula there are 15 kilometres of beaches disrupted only by the river mouth and an island. The river, lagoon, bay and beaches are an absolute paradise for fishing and boating enthusiasts and the area offers the best shore-based whale watching in the area.

Location: Garden Route

Average property price: R3 million

Population: 50 000

Distance to nearest major city: 2h30m drive to Gqeberha (230km) or 5h45m drive to Cape Town (520km)

Attractions: Hiking, mountain biking, abseiling, bungy jumping, skydiving, marine safaris, boutique shopping and wine tasting

6. St Francis Bay

Small towns St Francis BayDiscover the jewel of the Eastern Cape, St Francis Bay, home to whales, waves and winding trails through fynbos-covered dunes.

The pretty waterside holiday village comprises a series of man-made canals and waterways, ideal for boating, swimming, paddling and other water sports. You can even find yourself a property right on the marina and on the many canals.

Surfers flock here, as they do to most of this part of the coast, for its waves. And the fabulous beaches are surrounded by nature reserves. St Francis Bay is home to not 1, but 2 world-class Golf Courses. St Francis Bay Golf Club and the prestigious Links Golf Course. St Francis Links played host to the Sunshine Tour’s PGA Championship for the third year in a row this year.

Location: Garden Route

Average property price: R1.2 million

Population: 10 000

Distance to nearest major city: 1h10m drive to Gqeberha (103km)

Attractions: Windsurfing, kite surfing, jet skiing, canal cruising, whale and dolphin watching, fishing both off and onshore, golfing, safari, hiking and bungee jumping

7. Nottingham Road

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Nottingham Road Tourism (@nottinghamroadtourism)

In the rolling green hills of KwaZulu-Natal and the heart of the Midlands Meander, lies the charming village of Nottingham Road. An art-lovers paradise, Nottingham Road has rural living charm and an abundance of natural scenic beauty.

Renowned for prestigious schools like Michaelhouse and Hilton College, this village offers proximity to the Drakensberg and has become a sought-after weekend retreat and new home haven. The local properties include stunning estates, smallholdings and farms.

Nottingham Road locals are a friendly bunch, and there is plenty to do in the area, starting with a visit to the Nottingham Road Brewery Company — South Africa's most successful independent micro-brewery, making it the perfect place for any beer enthusiasts. There are quaint little taverns, historic landmarks, stud farms and sheep farms dating back to pioneering days. Nottingham Road plays host to several events during the year including polo matches. Trout fishing is also a big pastime for locals and visitors with well-stocked waters of different breeds of trout.

Location: KZN Midlands

Average property price: R3.575 million

Population: 1 300

Distance to nearest major city: 48m drive to Pietermaritzburg (58km)

Attractions: Fishing, hiking, restaurants, pubs and historical landmarks

8. Clarens

ClarensKnown locally as the Jewel of the Free State, Clarens dates back to the early 20th century and is named after the Swiss town. The village is surrounded by the Rooiberg mountain range and to the southeast are the purple and blue Maluti mountains, making for a particularly picture-perfect setting in verdant countryside.

It’s a place where jaw-dropping rock formations are commonplace, the verdant countryside seems never-ending and dinosaurs once roamed the land. In fact, Clarens is one of the few places in Southern Africa where you can view real-life dinosaur fossils. More than 200 million years old, numerous prehistoric remains were discovered at a nearby construction site in 2009. Clarens is a haven for the outdoors, artistic and food-loving types with its wide range of outdoor adventures, thriving art scene, numerous boutique and craft shops and even an 18-hole golf course.

Location: Eastern Free State

Average property price: R1.68 million

Population: 5 550

Distance to nearest major city: 3h drive to Bloemfontein (280km) or 3h20m to Johannesburg (300km)

Attractions: Water rafting, hot air ballooning, ziplining, mountain biking, trail running, an 18-hole golf course, Titanic Rock, the Clarens Museum, the Ash River Outfall, Mushroom Rock, Surrender Hill and Golden Gate Highlands National Park

9. Hartbeespoort

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by What's on in Joburg (@whatsoninjoburg)

Hartbeespoort, informally also known as "Harties", is a small resort town situated on the slopes of the Magaliesberg mountain and the banks of the Hartbeespoort Dam.

The beauty of Hartbeespoort Dam is what draws people here — the dam literally cradled in the lap of the mountains — and many regard this as a retreat from the concrete jungle of city life. Close proximity to Johannesburg and Pretoria and a choice of estates with luxury homes make the town a popular choice for second homes and semigration buyers. Attractions include the Magaliesberg Mountains, dam restaurants, shops and more and you are quite close to the big cities as well. Plus, it’s home to the Om Die Dam ultra-marathon of 50 km, which takes place annually in the first half of the year.

Location: Magalies Region

Average property price: R1.6 million

Population: 23 400

Distance to nearest city: 35m drive to Pretoria (35km) or 1h5m drive to Johannesburg (75km)

Attractions: Water sports at Hartbeespoort Dam, a local bird sanctuary, hiking, restaurants and the Welwitschia Market

10. Port Alfred

Small towns Port AlfredSituated in the Adventure Province and on the Sunshine Coast of the Eastern Cape, with the most sunshine hours in South Africa, Port Alfred is another fabulous small town for those wanting to make the most of summer living with its beautiful beaches that stretch for many kilometres in both directions

Port Alfred is midway between Gqeberha and East London, making it a great base for digital nomads, retirees and families relocating to the coast. The town lies around the Kowie River mouth with regular regattas and riverboat cruises available. There are excellent leisure facilities such as hiking trails, nature walks, excellent golfing, and medical and shopping amenities along with hotels and numerous restaurants.

The arts and crafts in the area are well known, with many acclaimed artists living and working here, where you can visit their studios, watch them at work or join the local art clubs. You’ll also find a few shopping centres, although not very large, cinemas, restaurants and a marketplace in Port Alfred.

Location: Sunshine Coast

Average property price: R1 million

Population: 34 000

Distance to nearest major city: 1h40m drive to Gqeberha or 1h40m drive to East London

Attractions: Quad biking, surf sailing, deep sea fishing, kite surfing, horse riding, golfing, game drives and hiking

Find the Best Movers to Take You To Any Corner of South Africa with Wise Move

No matter which corner of South Africa you choose to move to — from the middle of the city to the most remote small town — you can find the most trusted and affordable movers in South Africa on Wise Move.

Wise Move’s moving company platform connects you instantly with the best local moving services across the country so that you can find the right movers to suit you, your move and your budget. So whether you’re moving just down the road or long-distance to the other side of the country, Wise Move has the perfect moving solution for you!

Get your quote on Wise Move today and start your next adventure to one of South Africa’s best small towns!

What do our customers say?

Read reviews of Wise Move to learn stories from our customers.
R 2,800
Sophiatown, Johannesburg
Sophiatown, Johannesburg
Reviewed 21 hours ago
HUGE THANK YOU to Steve, Leon, Amos and team. The service received has surpassed our expectations. They were super careful with each and every item, so helpful, kept us guided, reassured and well informed at all times. Excellent customer service! BLESSINGS WITH THANKS TO YOU ALL for making our move run so smooth and making our day :) Really appreciate. Superb service!!! Highly recommend!!!
R 1,950
Randpark, Randburg
Blairgowrie, Randburg
Reviewed 21 hours ago
Great experience, thank you
R 1,250
Double bed, One seater couch, Two seater couch, Fridge, Headboard doub...
Cape Town
Cape Town
Reviewed 1 day ago
They were helpful, professional, confident and took great care with every single item.
R 2,000
Pretoria Central, Pretoria
Elardus Park, Pretoria
Reviewed 1 day ago
Great team. They assisted me with moving out my 2 bedroom apartment furniture all in one go. Their communication skills are top tier. Took good care of the furniture very well. They wrapped all the items that needed wrapping- just to be aware this is at an extra cost, R650 which is fixed for everything that needs to be wrapped. It was worth though because at first I was hesitant but I ended going for it and oh boy I’m happy that I did go it. It gives you peace of mind regarding your furniture. They did not scratch any of my furniture They are also very professional. In terms of punctuality- it was not that bad they only arrived 20mins later that the agreed time. I will recommend the FNK Kaya Moving company at any time. Just make sure you communicate with them the luggage you have and how many people you think might be needed. I also shared pictures of my furniture with them prior and I believe it did help them a lot Also to Thank the WiseMove software It makes finding transport for moving very easy. Thanks guys. KUDUS🔥🔥
R 6,900
3 bedroom house move
3rd Street, Hermanus
Milkwood Way, Jacobs Bay
Reviewed 1 day ago
I loved working with Brian and his wonderful team. Will use them again and recommend anytime! They were full of fun, but also very efficient! Thank you!
Are you a Transport Company? Learn More