Adventure Nature

Road Trips in South Africa to Start Off Your 2024 Adventure

Road trips in South Africa
Written by Abraham Odhiambo

With so many routes to choose from, it can be difficult to identify the best road trips in South Africa. South Africa is a country blessed with stunning landscapes, abundance of wide open spaces, pristine coastlines and quirky small towns making it rank among top destinations in Africa for road trips. The well-maintained roads also make most parts of the country accessible than many of its neighbours.

So, pack your bags and get ready to explore the best that South Africa has to offer. From long distance drives to shorter but rewarding drives, here are our picks for the best road trips in South Africa to start off your 2024 adventure.

Table of Contents

1. Garden Route

Garden Route

The Garden Route shows some of the best coastal landscapes South Africa has to offer. Photo/ Just Globetrotting.

The Garden Route is South Africa’s most famous self-drive route, and not without a good cause. The 200 kilometres stretch starts at Mossel Bay in the Western Cape and ends at Port Elizabeth in the Eastern Cape, or vice versa.

It is well known for its gorgeous scenery, sublime beaches and picturesque lagoons. And if that’s not enough, you’ll also come across the bird-filled wetlands and the enchanting Knysna Forest, which is home to forest elephants and a popular spot for mountain biking, hiking and camping.

2. Whale Coast

The Whale Coast route is a road trip that winds its way along the rugged coastline of the Western Province offering travellers some of the most spectacular scenery in the world. Here, you’ll come across charming fishing villages, rugged cliffs, pristine beaches and coastal towns.

Well, if you thought that’s it then you are very wrong because the main attraction on this route are the Southern Right Whales which are viewed from various vintage points. They migrate to this region every year and can be seen on land and boat. The Whale Coast route is a must-visit for nature lovers, adventure seekers and even for those who just want to take a few days off and see what South Africa has to offer.

Whale Coast Route

A road trip on the Whale Coast Route offers you the opportunity to see the Southern Right Whales. Photo/ andBeyond.

3. North West Province Route

This is one of the best road trips in South Africa for someone seeking adventure with their family. The North West Province is a peaceful province with a year round sunny climate, exciting wildlife destinations and various cultural and historical attractions.

Some of the most popular destinations in the North West include Pilanesberg National Park, Madikwe Game Reserve and Rustenburg.

4. Wild Coast

The ruggedly beautiful Wild Coast route runs from the coastal city of East London and goes all the way to the South border of KwaZulu-Natal. It covers around 350 kilometres and is characterized by rolling green hills topped with colourful rondavels (round huts topped with thatched roofs) and brilliant blue seascapes with majestic rocky cliffs.

Popular holiday destinations on the Wild Coast route include Yellow Sands, Cintsa, Hole in the Wall, Morgan’s Bay, Wavecrest, Lubanzi, Coffee Bay and Umngazi. The region was known as the Transkei homeland during the apartheid and produced icons such as Steve Biko and Nelson Mandela.

5. Drakensberg Mountain Route 

Drakensberg Mountain Route is rarely mentioned by other sites but it actually deserves a spot in the list of the best road trips in South Africa. This stunning route, which is named after the popular Drakensberg Mountains, takes you through some of the most breathtaking landscapes in the world.

The Drakensberg Mountain Route is over 1,000 kilometres long and stretches along the eastern boarder of South Africa. Along the way, you’ll encounter many hiking trails, sparkling streams and cascading waterfalls. You can also interact with the locals by visiting some of the traditional Zulu villages.

Drakensberg Mountain Route

Drakensberg Mountain Route. Photo/ SA-Venues.com.

Conclusion

In conclusion, South Africa is truly what it seems to be when it comes to road trips. With each kilometre you cover in one of the open roads, there is something that will capture your attention. South Africa deserves more than just a day of exploration which is why if you need to have the best experience, take at least a week. Road trips in South Africa can be planned at anytime of the year.

About the author

Abraham Odhiambo

Abraham Odhiambo is a writer with interests in nature, travel, African safari and sports. I'm pursuing a bachelor's degree in Media and Communication at Egerton University.

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