Did you know?
Open Africa showcases 63 routes, which in turn employ more than 28 000 people in jobs revolving around tourism.
There are well-trodden tourism paths in South Africa – and deservedly so. But there are also the little-known back roads less travelled; routes exploring intriguing aspects of the country’s past and its astounding biodiversity.
These are the trips you take in a self-drive car with an open mind. Your guide and inspiration? The Open Africa website, which offers dozens of interesting routes.
Perhaps a West Coast kayaking trip appeals? Or the Ribolla Open Africa route, which showcases some of the country’s best sculptors at their homes in the hills of the Limpopo province? You may be looking for a scenic and interesting road between Bloemfontein and Kimberley, in which case the Horizon Route will alert you to the attractions and guest houses.
Sometimes the names of the routes alone make you dream – the Land of Legends route, and the Route of Lost Kingdoms.
There are food and wine routes, ones that showcase species like blue cranes, and others that concentrate on rock art.
Open Africa was founded in the 1990s by Noel de Villiers, who also started one of South Africa’s best-known car-hire companies. He is passionate about Africa and how this continent touches the souls of so many people.
How best to showcase it? How best to alert people to its hidden corners and wonders? These kinds of questions are behind Open Africa, which has as its tagline: 'Life-enriching journeys.'
The way it works in practice is that Open Africa identifies a potential route and then works with everyone along it – tour operators, guest houses, artisans, guides, food outlets, and entrepreneurs.
You make up your own itinerary, contacting the operators via their contact numbers on the route.
By far the majority of routes are in South Africa, but Open Africa has also expanded across borders to include Swaziland, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia and even Zambia.