1. Garden Route
The Garden Route, a coastal run up the N2 between Mossel Bay and Storms River, takes in some of the most beautiful scenery in the country. Here you'll find indigenous forests, inland lakes and coastal lagoons, mountain hideaways and more. No wonder so many creative people are drawn to this magnificent stretch of coastline.
2. Panorama Route
So named for its stunning vistas, the Panorama Route in Mpumalanga, which lies roughly between the town of Graskop and the Three Rondavels in the Blyde River Canyon, is a scenic rush offering breathtaking views over the Lowveld. The highlight is the many views over the world's third-largest canyon.
3. Namaqualand daisy route
At least once in your lifetime, make a resolution to experience a Namaqualand floral display in the Northern Cape, when a parched and barren landscape literally springs to life with carpets of wild daisies and other flowering plants. Head for Springbok up the N7 out of Cape Town if you want to see this spectacle, but be aware that nature works to its own timetable, so check first whether the daisies are in bloom yet.
4. Midlands Meander
Starting around the KwaZulu-Natal city of Pietermaritzburg, the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands are often likened to England with its rolling green hills and fertile countryside where dairy cows and misty forests predominate. Explore this meandering route, which offers delectable country treats in the form of comfortable B&Bs, farm-style food and rustic charm.
5. Route 62
Popular with road-trippers, in particular motorcyclists, Route 62 traverses the semi-desert landscape of the Little Karoo, through vineyards that yield delicious fortified wines, spectacular mountain passes and the ostrich-farming country of Oudtshoorn.
There are many battlefields in South Africa, most famously in KwaZulu-Natal, the Free State and the Northern Cape. Here history buffs can visit sites where a fierce war was waged between the British and Boers (the Anglo-Boer or South African War) at the start of the 20th century, and even earlier battle sites in the epic Anglo-Zulu conflict of KwaZulu-Natal.
7. Waterberg Meander
In this malaria-free zone in Limpopo province, about three hours' drive north-west of Johannesburg, is a mountainous area where people, conservation and culture all merge. Here you'll find private game lodges, cultural villages, craft projects and a national park within what is known as the Waterberg Biosphere.
8. Green Kalahari
The Green Kalahari in the Northern Cape refers to the area around the mighty Gariep (Orange) River that is an oasis in the desert, providing life-giving water to the farms that cluster around the river, where grapes and date palms are the order of the day. This area has a reputation for hospitality, outdoor adventure activities (particularly on the river) and the majestic Augrabies Falls in a national park of the same name.
9. Wild Coast
Renowned for its pristine beaches, the Wild Coast is a rugged stretch of largely undeveloped coastline. Roads down to the sea are far and few between, but those who wish to experience this untrammelled beauty should sign up for a Wild Coast hike or horse ride along the coast. Inland at Qunu is the birth and resting place of former president Nelson Mandela, well worth a detour.
The eastern Free State is famed for its spectacular sandstone rock formations, part of the impressive Maloti-Drakensberg mountains that form the border between South Africa and the mountain kingdom of Lesotho. From the landscape painters of Clarens to the Basotho cultural villages and the vast network of rock art by the San in Lesotho, it's an unbeatable experience.