Sibongile Mafu

Small towns are the new sexy

2013-12-19 13:54

Big cities. Bright lights. They’ve always been alluring and have had the pleasure and sometimes displeasure of the masses flocking to live in them, or as close to them as they possibly can. But what if things are starting to turn around and people are abandoning the big city life to retreat to smaller, quainter locations?

What if Aliwal-North is the new sexy?

Now, I studied in a small town for four years, Grahamstown, and as much as it is a charming little place after the first two years you do start getting a bit stir crazy, but it still a place I think of fondly, and look for opportunities to visit. Living in a bigger city, like tourist draw card Cape Town, makes me appreciate more and more the uniqueness and tranquility small towns offer. You may think that sentence doesn’t make sense but hear me out.

You have time to slow down, read that book that you’ve been meaning to read, sip your wine slower, because it just seem like you have more time. Small towns offer you more than 24 hours in a day – I believe it. They should put that on a poster.

And as the year draws to a close, many people will be escaping the stress of their big city life, for someone else’s big city life. Joburgers migrate to Cape Town and other coastal cities, Capetonians to well, Cape Town, and the folk of Port Elizabeth to, well anywhere else really. But there are those who make their way to tranquil environments, small towns with guesthouses and pubs and breakfast made by a tannie - nice small town folk who look after them like they’re their own family.

Small towns really are like a home away from home, and they are the new sexy. At some point you’ll run out of big cities to explore in South Africa and the next logical step is to find a small town to escape to. Now this is the part where a travel writer would give you their top small town picks, but I won’t. Just explore the ones close to where you live first.

For New Year’s I will not be attending a big street party in the city CBD, something I would have wanted to do last year or the year before that. This year, I’m escaping to a small town with mountains and trees that look like a storybook.

Living in the Western Cape has made me realise the incredible level of amazing small towns that the province has, and how I’ve never really take the time to pack a bag and go. I think it will be something I do every two months. The Eastern Cape is also a place where I feel like this. You can get into a car and go.

This is my festive season advice for you. Explore this beautiful country of ours. The nooks and crannies will surprise you and enlighten you. Leave the big malls that burst at the seams behind, pack your family in a reliable family car and hit the road.

Wishing you all a great festive season ahead.

- Sibongile is a videographer, blogger and social media enthusiast who would be nothing without her thumbs. Follow her on Twitter: @SboshMafu.

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