“Drive slow and enjoy the scenery – drive fast and join the scenery.” – Douglas Horton
Do you know how much time you spend in a car per day? According to a Harvard Health Watch study, the average American spends 101 minutes per day driving. This may vary from country to country, or state to state. But, one thing is certain, we spend a large part of our day either stuck in traffic or commuting.
With all this time spent in the car, do we ever stop to look outside or, rather, take that scenic trip we know will leave us feeling revitalised? You know what they say, it’s not about the destination, it’s about the journey.
South Africa has countless long, winding roads just waiting to be explored. Adventure could be right on your doorstep.
Here Are Some Of The Best Road Trips In South Africa
Possibly one of the most eye-catching roads around the Atlantic Coast, this world-renowned scenic drive is like a dream to drive. Be sure to really take in your surroundings.
If you are stuck behind the wheel and are missing out on the amazing views, park your car at one of the many picnic and viewing spots dotted along the way.
Chapman’s Peak Drive winds its way between Noordhoek and Hout Bay with incredible 180° views.
The Garden Route is the name given to the stretch of forested and coastal area between Mossel Bay and Port Elizabeth.
As you leave Cape Town, the N2 will carve its way through the scenery as it heads towards Port Elizabeth.
Your first stop between Cape Town and Mossel Bay will be Swellendam. This small town is topped with more than 250 years of history and is as quaint as can be. With its wide streets and small town charm, it is a must when you need to stretch your legs on your roadtrip.
Once you have reached Mossel Bay, welcome! You have reached the start of the Garden Route.
Play a round of golf on the well-known Pinnacle Point Golf Estate. With views to die for and the sunshine on your back, this is something you don’t want to miss.
Other points of interest along the way include peaceful and secluded Wilderness, the unofficial capital of the Garden Route, Knysna, party capital, Plettenberg Bay, mountainous Tsitsikamma and finally, Port Elizabeth.
Round up your trip with a bit of wildlife as Port Elizabeth is home to the Addo Elephant National Park and Shamwari Game Reserve.
When it comes to scenic roadtrips in the Northern Cape, you are really spoilt for choice. From July to September the
transformation from a sandy and dry terrain to a lush and colourful countryside carpeted with wildflowers is simply indescribable.
Seeds shed at the onset of winter, lay dormant until the first rains of spring stir them from their slumber and they come out in all their magnificence. Naturally, the amount of flowers on show is dependent on the amount of rainfall that year.
NOTE: Gravel roads will form part of the trip.
If you are a keen motorbike enthusiast that loves taking roadtrips, visit Saloon Route 66 in Hartebeespoort dam for a delicious brekkie. The trip itself is not too far and, if you are heading from Four Ways, you simply need to get on the R512 (from Cedar Road) and put foot until you see the familiar view of ‘Harties’.
After a satisfying meal at Saloon 66, head to Magaliesberg from the R560, which is part of the Magalies Meander for a scenic route. Then, if you’re feeling adventurous, on to the Cradle of Mankind. To get home, simply take Satellite Road, which will send you on your way back to Lanseria Road and then onto the highway.
The journey from Johannesburg to Hartbeespoort involves curving roads that hug aloes in bloom in the winter months. The dam offers a range of watersports, a local bird sanctuary, and both challenging and relaxing walks.
There is little to no introduction needed for this route best known for its dramatic views, fresh mountain scenery, and panoramic views over the Klein Drakensberg escarpment. Stop at God’s Window and Wonder View to take in all the beauty.
Other places of interest include Sabie Falls, Lone Creek Falls, Berlin Falls, Bridal Veil Falls, Mac-Mac Falls, Jack of the Bushveld, Pinnacle, Lisbon Falls, Bourke’s Luck Potholes, Blyde River Canyon, Three Rondavels, Echo Caves, Long Tom, and Sudwala Caves.
There are historical and cultural sites as well as landmarks aplenty. Find these treasures in Lydenburg, Sabie, Graskop, Pilgrim’s Rest, and Kiepersol.
The Free State Highlands are a spectacle unto themselves and the Maluti Route is no exception. The route starts in Harrismith, goes through the Free State and across to the Eastern Cape over the Orange River, to the Wild Coast.
This route is naturally dominated by the Maluti Mountain Ranges and offers the traveller a variety of experiences ranging from art, culture, history, rock art sites, and spectacular scenery over and above the host of cultural experiences.
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