South Africa is an amazing country to experience no matter how you travel across it – but even more so when you’re driving on the open road, with farm stall pit-stops and lush countrysides for company…
It possesses a landscape just begging you to hop in the car and put some miles behind you, with only your loved ones and some good music in toe.
So, if you’re after some road trip inspiration, here are the best South African road trips to take.
This scenic route provides travellers with a bit of everything. Think rural farming towns, gorgeous winelands, warm hospitality and delicious country cuisine… it’s definitely the best way to experience true Cape culture!
Start your journey off in pretty Paarl before making your way through Rawsonville, Worcester, Robertson, Ashton and Montagu.
Each town has something unique to offer, whether it’s delightful, roadside padstals or top, boutique wineries. If you feel like veering off a bit, head to McGregor for some charming accommodation or art. Or, carry on until you reach Barrydale, where you’ll discover some quaint Cape dorpie vibes in the heart of the Klein Karoo…
Few drives are as magical and beautiful as KZN’s Midlands Meander. Wind your way through an 80-km emerald paradise. Here you will find rolling hills, vibrant farmlands, great outdoor activities and colorful restaurants and accommodation options, as you discover the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands first-hand.
It’s the country escape we all wish we could experience, offering a slower pace of life and soothing natural beauty. And, in the process, ensuring a family-friendly road trip experience.
If you’re looking for Heaven-on-earth, then the Garden Route could just be it… Green scenery, lush forests, the stunning Indian Ocean coastline and ocean-fronting towns – like Mossel Bay or Plettenberg Bay – is what the Garden Route is all about…
For outdoor fun, head to George or Knysna, whereas if you are keen to hit the beach, then be sure to make a stop in Wilderness or Plettenberg Bay.
Wherever you travel, you’re sure to encounter some of the best natural beauty South Africa has to offer… All packed together in one picturesque road trip!
The Wild Coast
This road trip-worthy route is certainly well-named. With fiercely beautiful, untamed scenery, there is something wonderful about the Wild Coast.
As you navigate across green hills, you will pass rugged coastlines, with plunging cliff faces and frothy ocean. These hint at the idyllic beaches tucked away here in this amazing region.
With a historical background to match – especially as it’s served as the birthplace for South African icons, Nelson Mandela and Steve Biko – the Wild Coast, also known as the Transkei, blends together a patchwork land, filled with bold tales and pristine coastlines, with places like Coffee Bay or Port St Johns… sure to tempt any traveller.
The Panorama Route
For those with a fear of heights, this route might be somewhat daunting… especially considering it traverses South Africa’s highest tar road. But the scenery is worth every potential heart-in-mouth moment.
Revolving around the world’s third highest canyon, Blyde River Canyon – a sight for sore eyes, second to none – and old mining town, Graskop, the Panorama Route is famous for its dramatic scenery and, as its name suggests, panoramic vistas… it’s a freeing drive, which will leave a lasting impression on you.
These are just some of South Africa’s most famous and glorious road trip routes but don’t forget the others, like the relaxed West Coast or Overberg routes.
Guest Explorer: Lauren Manuel McShane
Editor at thetravelmanuel.com, travels the globe with her husband and toddler to bring stories, tips and guides to solo, couple and family travelers. Usually found in or near the water, this family have a soft spot of island life and the ocean.