SA's best book nooks where you can hide from the sun this summer

2018-10-31 16:30 - Gabi Zietsman
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Stack of books

The coolest book nooks around SA to sort out your summer literature cravings. (Photo: iStock)

Not everyone wants to burn to a crisp in the summer sun.

While for some the holidays might mean racking up a tan to brag about when you're back at your job in January, others see the holidays as the perfect time to catch up on the mountain of books that's been piling up throughout the year - far away from the nasty sun.

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You may have enough couch-based adventures to keep you busy for most of summer, but there's also the thrill of finding new (or lived) books hiding in the nooks and crannies of corner independent bookshops in small dusty towns or in the forgotten alleys of a towering city. 

If you're road tripping and looking to find cool book nooks that will help satiate your lust for literature, here's a few to look out for on your travels.

The Book Lounge, Cape Town

While it may not be so little known, The Book Lounge is popular with book launches, talks and other intimate events that dive deep into the intricacies of the written word.

Nearby: Right across is the Kimberley Hotel, an old establishment with a classic pub where you can read your new book with a cold beer.

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Dustcovers Bookshop, Nieu Bethesda

If you're passing through the Karoo and feel like finding out more about the region, Dustcovers is a popular book lover haunt that specialises on books about the region alongside classics and books on strange subjects.

Nearby: You can't really go to Nieu Bethesda without visiting the Owl House, where you can lose yourself with a Karoo book among the otherworldly artworks.

Love Books, Melville

Looking for some classy books in the metropolis that is Johannesburg can be daunting, but Love Books will give you a curated selection alongside some wine from Joostenberg that will make a perfect cuddle buddy for a book.

Nearby: The Johannesburg Botanical Gardens is a hop, skip and jump from the bookstore, perfect for taking a picnic blanket and a nature book.

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The Treasure House, Franschhoek

If you've got the cash or want to feel like a book connoisseur, you should browse through this bookshop in the heart of this wine town. It houses books like a handwritten Ethiopian Coptic bible or the travel memoirs of voyages of discovery through the Arctic and Antarctic Seas - all with hefty price tags for book collectors.

Nearby: Nothing like drinking a good bottle of wine while reading a weird book, and in Franschhoek you're surrounded by wine farms and shops where you can pick up a bottle or two of the best wine in South Africa.

Bikini Beach Books, Gordon's Bay

Just a warning! If you aren't fond of chaos, best drive on by. However, if the challenge of finding something super special among the many crooked stacks and towering shelves appeals, you will probably be rewarded handsomely.

Nearby: The beach is right on the doorstep of this popular bookstore, so if you by chance feel like catching some rays while catching up on Mr Darcy, this should be your next stop.

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Last Chance Books, Durban

For a lovely rustic experience, you can travel to the Stables Lifestyle Market where second-hand books get their last chance to fill minds with the worlds locked inside their pages.

Nearby: Besides books, the market sells all kinds of craft, handmade clothes and food to fill the time in-between buying a book and getting home to read it.

Bibliophile, Clarens

Near the border with Lesotho you'll find a classic Free State colonial building filled with books from Africana to lighter reading material, as well as maps, travel guides and a collection of Folio Society volumes.

Nearby: Reading about dinosaurs is fun, but in Clarens you can almost touch them (or their bones) in real life on one of the town's Dinosaur Tours.

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African Flavour Books, Vanderbijlpark

This bookstore has a more modern flair compared to other book nooks, but this is the place to go if you want to get your hands on African literature not written by some dusty old white guy in the 1800s. 

Nearby: You can steep yourself in some South African history outside a book with a quick 10-minute drive to the Sharpeville Memorial, where we remember those that struggled for our freedom.

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