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21 of the best road trips in South Africa

 

Everyone loves a good road trip – and with a country as beautiful as South Africa, it’s easy to see why. So here we’ve collected some of our favourite road trip stories from Getaway’s years of travelling, and now it’s your turn. From barrelling across the North West province in search of the perfect beer to a pet-friendly wander down the Garden Route, what’s next on your list?

Ed’s note: some of these stories were published a year or two ago, so make sure to check the details before you hit the road!

 

1. The Waterberg

 

A Chilled Evening at Matamba Bush Campsite

A Chilled Evening at Matamba Bush Campsite

 

Just three hours from Johannesburg is a place that will make any wildlife enthusiast rejoice. Melanie van Zyl returns to her childhood stomping ground.

 

2. The Panorama Route

 

A View of the Hut-Shaped Three Rondavels in the Distance. Photo by Teagan Cunniffe.

A View of the Hut-Shaped Three Rondavels in the Distance. Photo by Teagan Cunniffe.

 

If the name hasn’t got you packing a suitcase already, then the rest of Ishay Govender-Ypma‘s story will. The sights were comparable to paradise and the imminent lowveld clouds added to the sought-after feelings of peace and isolation.

 

3. Joburg to North West (Beer Route)

 

One of My Favourite of the Trip - Lazy Lizard's American Pale Ale

One of My Favourite of the Trip – Lazy Lizard’s American Pale Ale

 

Chris Davies was determined to find a local beer that any Belgian would approve of. His trip took him through Gauteng where he tested nine microbreweries. You can bet he found a winner.

 

4. Clarens

Snow in the Golden Gate National Park

Snow in the Golden Gate National Park

 

Winter is the perfect reason to stay indoors: unless you’re Getaway’s Melanie van Zyl. She decided to break the ice and make snow the subject of her roadtrip to Clarens.

 

5. The ultimate Kruger roadtrip

 

The Ramp Leading Up the Hide That Overlooks Sable Dam

The Ramp Leading Up the Hide That Overlooks Sable Dam

 

If you’ve been dreaming of a lengthy stay at Africa’s largest game reserve, you’ll want to read about how Madeleine van Heerden pulled off 18 days at eight Kruger campsites, from north to south. There are some really useful tips and recommendations for an unforgettable visit.

 

6. Or a week-long Kruger trip

 

Kruger experts, Villiers Steyn and Tabby Mittins, devoted seven days of travelling from the south to the north of the national park on an atypical path. Moving in the opposite direction proved to be rewarding.

 

Giraffes Are Especially Fond of Knob-Thorn Trees Which are Very Common in Southern Kruger, Especially in the Vicinity of Crocodile Bridge. Photo by Villiers Steyn.

Giraffes Are Especially Fond of Knob-Thorn Trees Which are Very Common in Southern Kruger, Especially in the Vicinity of Crocodile Bridge. Photo by Villiers Steyn.

 

7. Howick

 

Portrait of Nelson Mandela

When viewed from directly in front, the cluster of columns set at different depths align to create a perfect portrait of Nelson Mandela.

 

After reading this you’ll want to do more than just pass by. Paul Maughan-Brown befriended a few of the locals to find out if there was more to the often overlooked town of Howick.

 

8. Midlands Meander

 

Cappuccino and Cheesecake is a Must at Blueberry Cafe.

Cappuccino and Cheesecake is a Must at Blueberry Cafe.

 

It seems there is a story at every turn along the Midlands Meander. Getaway photographer, Teagan Cunniffe discovered this when she spoke with a few of the locals who guided her around the place they know best.

 

9. Karoo to Durban in a campervan

 

We Loved Having a Home on Wheels and Never Having to Unpack

We Loved Having a Home on Wheels and Never Having to Unpack

 

It sounds like the plot to a family comedy but for the Rogers clan, it turned out to be a convenient way to travel. There was plenty of room to explore as they made their way from the Western Cape to KwaZulu-Natal in their hired camper van. What better way to travel than with a house on wheels?

 

10. The Karoo

Compassberg Image by Karoopark

Compassberg Image by Karoopark

 

Helen Walne offers insightful advice on how to travel with your pet from Cape Town to Cradock. With plenty of highs came hilarious lows thanks to her dog, Lily. Find out how they took on the Karoo.

 

11. The Garden Route

 

Travelling With Pets

Finding places to travel with your pets is not always easy, especially during the holiday exodus. A little bit of planning can make the journey so much more rewarding when you get to take them along for the ride.

 

Megan King and her dog set out to find pet-friendly and affordable accommodation on a meander down the Garden Route and through the Eastern Cape. Their finds were well worth the trip, not to mention the picturesque surrounds of the Garden Route.

 

12. Karoo and the Garden Route on a motorcycle

 

Parked Beside the Nelsrivier Dam in Calitzdorp

Parked Beside the Nelsrivier Dam in Calitzdorp

 

Tyson Jopson discovers what it is about the Karoo that sees him returning time and again. This time it’s on a classic motorcycle with two of his favourite people revving beside him. He found out why the magic of the Karoo never wears off.

 

13. The ‘other’ Route 62

 

Uniondale Poort

Uniondale Poort

 

Getaway’s Associate Editor, Caroline Webb resisted the urge to head to the coast from Port Elizabeth and meandered along the path overshadowed by its more famous counterpart, Route 62. These backroads took her through the Langkloof where she found many rural delights.

 

14. Lesser-known wine routes near Cape Town

 

Cape Town Wine Route

If you can’t get enough of wine but have exhausted the popular wine farms, try these new routes. This extensive list by Rachel Robinson tells you all that you need to know about from Elgin to Breedekloof.

 

15. Surf the West Coast

 

Surfers emerge from a playful session at Sunset Beach, just north of Cape Town. Photo by Justin Fox.

Surfers emerge from a playful session at Sunset Beach, just north of Cape Town. Photo by Justin Fox.

 

Justin Fox relives his days as a student and hits the waves of the West Coast – Blouberg, Melkbos and Langebaan to name a few spots. His road trip also goes beyond the surf and into the other exciting stops that you must take along the R27.

 

16. Overberg motorbike route

 

Just south of the N2, the quiet, well-graded gravel roads are perfect for biking.

Just south of the N2, the quiet, well-graded gravel roads are perfect for biking.

 

Tyson Jopson and Chris Davies tackled the gravel roads of the Overberg, trying to get as far from the highway as possible. Their goal to find the best route was challenging and unpredictable but they wouldn’t have had it any other way.

 

17. SANParks off the N2

 

Mountain Zebra National Park - Photo By Chris Davies

Each of the 19 family chalets at Mountain Zebra National Park has a wide stoep, braai place and great views. Photo by Chris Davies.

 

What’s the best way to experience wildlife? A SANParks-themed road trip of course! Chris, Tyson and Scott Ramsay spent a week off the N2 from PE to Cape Town and stopped at our best national parks along the way.

 

Outside of South Africa

 

18. Namibia

 

The Road Between Hobas and Ais Ais - Photo by Teagan Cunniffe

The Road Between Hobas and Ais Ais – Photo by Teagan Cunniffe

 

An opportunity to travel off-the-beaten track is irresistible but Chris Davies chose to stick to what he knew best when it came to the Fish River Canyon. It’s a road he’s very familiar with, but his sense of wonder was renewed as he took in the Namibian landscapes. He started his action-packed adventure from another southern African delight, the Orange River.

 

19. The best of Botswana in ten days

 

Mokoro Trips - Photo By Melanie Van Zyl

The Mokoro trips into the delta are a great way of getting to grips with the channels and spotting wildlife hiding in the papyrus. Photo by Melanie van Zyl.

 

A 10-day self-drive through Botswana is just as adventurous as it sounds. Pore over Melanie van Zyl’s itinerary to see how she pulled it off and why she can’t wait to do it again.

 

20.A baobab roadtrip

 

All that you need to know about a road trip to Nxai Pan National Park if you want to get out there to see the iconic baobabs.

 

21. Mozambique

 

Tripping Inhambane Road Trip

Here’s how you can horseback ride from bush to beach, kayak across Nhambavale Lake and eat as many prawns as you possibly can. Inhambane is the Mozambican town that South Africans love and Evan Haussmann made it his destination on a 12-hour road excursion.

21 of the best road trips in South Africa

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ABOUT AMANDA SAMPAIO

Amanda Sampaio

A bit about me: I am Rhodesian born, grew up in Zululand, South Africa. Post matriculation, I studied a 3 year Travel & Tourism National Diploma; I then spent 7.5 years (during the mid-90’s) working in various operational roles for SAA at the old Durban Airport; My husband, son & I then moved to the UK and lived in south-west London (Worcester Park) for 10.5 years – I worked for 3.5 years in Local Government (at Epsom & Ewell Borough Council) and then for 7 years for QANTAS as part of the Cabin Crew Ground Management Team based at Heathrow and later with Qantas Corporate Sales based in their London Hammersmith office. My family and I have been back in South Africa for almost 3 years now (having missed too much of our family, SA sunshine and braai’s) and during our time back, we are also delighted to have welcomed our 17 month old baby girl into our family! Travel is definitely my passion and is in my ‘blood’ as I am firmly back in the travel seat with my current role within Sales and Marketing at iGo Travel and look after this for our newly launched brand ‘iGO Africa’.