At a time when many South Africans are negative about their country and emigration figures are peaking in a bid to find a safer place to live, it is comforting to know that there are places in South Africa where crime is rare and neighbours care. 

A ‘dorp’ so small there isn’t even a Spar

After seven years in Cape Town and another eight in Durban, I have found myself in Mooi River, a tiny town in the KZN midlands, on the picturesque Midlands Meander. And when I say tiny, Iâ??m talking about a real South African â??dorpâ??, a place so small there isnâ??t even a Spar â?? and that alone is a rarity in this country. However, it must be said, that between the local supermarket and the hardware store, if they donâ??t have it, theyâ??ll find it for you…and do it with a smile. 

A safe and wholesome lifestyle right here in South Africa

My husband was recently offered a job at a boarding school, complete with a house on the school premises and the chance to walk my daughter to school, have lunch together every day, ride bicycles to visit friends and feed ponies in the afternoons. Having agreed years ago, when we first met on a kibbutz in Israel, that we would find a wholesome, safe environment to raise our children, we jumped at the opportunity for a lifestyle like this, without having to leave South Africa. 

Mooi River is a culture shock if youâ??re used to the big city lights, decaff cappuccinos and sushi, but the kindness, trust and honesty of the inhabitants more than makes up for what they lack in sophistication. I didnâ??t know that a world still existed where the local SPCA came to you when your cats needed their stitches removed, the pharmacist operated on a â??sort me out when you feel betterâ? policy, grocery packers carried your food to the car for you, and the local computer store made 10 phone calls to find the right ink cartridge for your printer… 

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Friendly locals and kind neighbours are what small towns are all about

It was a pleasant surprise to have dinner brought to us by kindly neighbours for three nights when the whole family was man down with flu â?? back in the city our neighbours would not have known if we had died inside our home â?? and weâ??re still trying to get through the tins of homemade biscuits (people actually have time to bake here) that greeted our arrival three weeks ago. 

And if we occasionally feel that we canâ??t live without a glass of chardonnay, some trout pate, a good draught or even a platter of oysters, then the world of stud farms, health spas and excellent restaurants of Nottingham Road is only a 15 minute drive away, with cheese and wine tasting, chocolate dipping and antique furniture shops galore to stop off and sample on the route….but thatâ??s another story for another time…