There’s something special about a road trip. The freedom of the open road, the ability to explore new places at your own pace, and the opportunity to bond with your travel companions – all while taking in some of the most incredible scenery on earth. South Africa is a country that was made for road tripping, with an incredible diversity of landscapes, cultures and activities to enjoy.
Here are our top picks for the best road trips in South Africa:
The Panorama Route
For those who prefer their road trips with a side of adventure, the Panorama Route in Mpumalanga is not to be missed.
This scenic route takes in some of South Africa’s most incredible natural sights, including the Blyde River Canyon – the third largest canyon in the world – as well as God’s Window, a lookout point with sweeping views of the Lowveld.
The Panorama Route is also home to South Africa’s highest waterfall, the Tugela Falls, which plunge 948 meters into the valley below.
The Garden Route
One of the most popular road trip routes in South Africa, the Garden Route runs along the country’s southern coast, offering stunning ocean views, luscious greenery and plenty of opportunities to stop and smell the roses – or, in this case, the proteas.
The Garden Route is also home to some of South Africa’s most popular tourist destinations, including the whale-watching town of Hermanus, the surfing mecca of Jeffrey’s Bay and the wildlife-rich Tsitsikamma National Park. PS: When renting a car in South Africa, always make sure to follow the speed limits for that area to avoid getting in any trouble.
The Wild Coast
One of South Africa’s most remote and rural regions, the Wild Coast is a true off-the-beaten-track destination. This pristine stretch of coastline is characterized by its unspoilt beauty, traditional Xhosa villages and rugged cliffs that plummet into the sea.
The Wild Coast is also one of the best places in South Africa to spot whales and dolphins, so keep your eyes peeled for these magnificent creatures as you explore this special part of the country.
The Drakensberg Mountains
For those who love nothing more than getting out into nature, a road trip through KwaZulu-Natal’s Drakensberg region is a must.
This spectacular mountain range offers hiking trails galore, along with opportunities for rock climbing, abseiling and horse riding. And if you’re looking to cool off after a day spent exploring, there are plenty of rivers and waterfalls to take a dip in.
The Drakensberg region is also home to Sani Pass – one of South Africa’s most challenging (and rewarding) 4×4 routes.
The West Coast
The West Coast region of South Africa is a true feast for the senses. With its wildflower-covered landscapes, unspoilt beaches and crystal-clear waters, this part of the country is a nature lover’s paradise.
The West Coast is also home to some of South Africa’s most famous wine estates, so be sure to stop for a tasting (or two) as you make your way along this stunning stretch of coastline.
Specific places in the West Coast that are worth a visit include the small fishing village of Paternoster, the historical town of Clanwilliam and the coastal resort of Langebaan.
So there you have it – our pick of the best road trips in South Africa. Whether you’re looking to explore the country’s stunning coastline, get out into nature or simply take in some of its incredible scenery, there’s a road trip here that’s sure to suit your needs.
So what are you waiting for? Start planning your next adventure today!