When you think about South Africa, you probably only think about safaris and wine tastings and perhaps the awesome city of Cape Town but did you know that South Africa has an amazing infrastructure with fantastic roads that are just waiting for YOU?
Road Trips in South Africa
Having lived in South Africa for the last 15 years and being passionate about this entire country, I grab each opportunity to explore and visit new places. The first 10 years I did it solo or with friends, and the last 5 years I’ve been adventuring together with my daughter. She went on her first overnight trip with me when I had just adopted her and she was 4 months old.
What can you expect from a South African Road trip? Well, the first things that comes to mind is incredible vistas, beautiful nature, gorgeous coastal routes and picturesque rural areas. Although I had to get used to driving on the left side of the road, it doesn’t take very long to get accustomed to this. Once you’re out of the city there’s no traffic.
South Africa has 9 provinces and they each are different with regards to the landscape varying from mountains, sub-tropical like KwaZulu-Natal, lush like Johannesburg to semi-desert like the Karoo.
Amongst our favorite South African Road trips are a trip along the Wild Coast of the Eastern Cape and a stunning trip deep into the rural areas of Limpopo where we visited artisans like a pottery and a famous wood carver. However, living in Cape Town gives us the opportunity to go on many 1 day or weekend road trips.
In a radius of 3 hours from Cape Town you can visit: the West Coast National Park with a stunning lagoon. During the Wild Flower season in August and September you can admire a tapestry of wild flowers. The Cape of Good Hope National park, whale watching in Hermanus, the Cape wine lands with lovely villages like Stellenbosch, Franschhoek and Wellington.
We enjoy from camping to glamping to 5 star and anything in between. South Africa offers a wide range of accommodation so there’s something that will suite your wallet and family. There are a lot of self-catering options which is great with children because you can bring your own food. South Africans are BIG on ‘braai’ (= BBQ) so you will find a BBQ next to each cottage or on each camp site.
The most recent 10 day road trip we did was from Cape Town up the Garden Route. We stayed in 9 different accommodations and only had a few days where the drive was 3 hours or more. Our first stop was in Kleinmond where we stayed with friends. We then continued to Wilderness which is one of my favorite spots because of the national park where you can walk up to the waterfalls. We then carried onto Knysna where we stayed 2 nights and explored a lot of things to do in the area.
If you drive from Cape Town straight to Knysna, it will take you 6 hours so that gives you an idea. From Knysna we headed back to visit 3 different safari reserves and our last stop was close to Swellendam.
It was the first time I took my daughter by myself on such a long road trip. The other trips we had done, we always were together with another parent and child. It all went super well and we had a fabulous time. You can read more detailed about our Garden Route trip here: https://planetpilgrims.com/the-perfect-garden-route-itinerary-south-africa
Guest blogger Jessy and her daughter are PlanetPilgrims, www.planetpilgrims.com who enjoy exploring as much as school holidays and weekends allow. They’re always out and about and love road trips into the bush, camping under the starts and the occasional indulging in 5 star deluxe lodges. They reside in South Africa and their dream is to travel for 1 or 2 years when Rosie is a little bit older.