I can’t wait to get my hands on a copy of Jacques Marais’ new book, “Doing the DORP Thing“. With camera in one hand and pen in the other, Jacques seems to manage to be everywhere in South Africa at once! Following him online on social media alone is a treat as he explores our land on foot, bike and car (I sometimes suspect on wing too sometimes as I can’t imagine how else he gets around so fast laden with his gear).


Please allow him to introduce his latest book:

I apologise profusely. In advance. I’m doing this because I know I’m bound to get some major flak from the many deserving dorps left out of this book. From Aurora to Zoar — with Bitterfontein and Koekenaap and Prieska and a whole scattering of towns in between A and Z — could have featured, if only we had an unlimited page count for DOING THE DORP THING.

We live in the real world though, and several factors therefore contributed to our selection process. Most importantly, I tried to focus on Dorps both featuring on the South African public’s collective radar and which I had actually visited. In the few cases where this was impossible, I tried to collaborate with colleagues who knew these tiny towns well enough to give an informed opinion on the destinations.

The inner financial workings of the great publishing machine also necessitated the inclusion of larger destinations such as Knysna, Kimberley and the likes, although they certainly no longer qualify as Dorps. And finally, our final list had to be trimmed and adjusted to reflect the lack of feedback and cooperation from some of the Tourism Offices who saw it fit to ignore dozens of emails and telephone calls.

That said, the majority of Tourism Tannies and Ooms — especially of a community-oriented rather than governmental ilk — deserves a pat on the back. They could not do enough to help in supplying information and feedback, and I hope their dedication and commitment do not go unnoticed.

And speaking of dedication and commitment, a huge thank you is also due to my sister, Lize-Marie Marais, whose impeccable research, writing and translation contributed enormously to making this publication possible. People say you should never mix business and family, but in this case I certainly could not have hoped for a more efficient and effective co-worker. My thanks also go to Nicky Swanevelder who covered a few Gauteng dorps.

thing-to-do-in-a-dorp-jacques-maraisSo, after a few months of burning the midnight oil, I believe DOING THE DORP THING is the perfect book for those of you who prefer back roads to highways. Keep it in your cubby-hole or backpack, and check out the establishments listed on these pages … I bet you won’t be disappointed. Keep in mind, however, that there is a massive waiting period between doing the research to getting a book on-shelf, so best contact the mentioned establishments to ensure all details are still correct as at the time of going to press.

OK, time to skip across the boring bits and check out the many Dorps out there just waiting to be explored. We’ve categorised them alphabetically, starting with 4-pager towns, then double-pagers and finally single-page dorps. The handy map spread on page XX will allow you to find dorps in a specific region, while the small Locator Maps on every page will help you find your way.

Happy Dorping!

Jacques Marais

Jacques Marais is one of South Africa’s leading travel and adventure authors and photographers, and has published a range of guides to the great outdoors. His other titles cover activities as diverse as hiking, mountain biking, adventure racing and trail running. Follow him on Twitter @jacqmaraisphoto

  • 150x Dorps, throughout South Africa’s nine provinces
  • 1500+ Things To Do, including places to eat, trails to explore, museums to visit and game reserves to experience in and around each dorp
  • Listings of favourite Local Events and Festivals
  • Handy Maps to help you make the most of your trip
  • Full-colour Photos of towns and their surrounds
  • ALL the Tourism Contact Details!

By David

Outdoor adventure enthusiast living on the Garden Route.

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