South African routes
Did you know?
There are scores of petroports along South Africa's major routes, offering travel information and refreshments.
If you like wide-angle skies, the open road before you and drifting through a land of surprise and diversity, then South Africa beckons.
More than 750 000 kilometres of highways, farm roads, dusty lanes and mountain tracks make up the fun of South African routes, with an adventure at every turn.
You've spent a few days in one of our cities, taking in the sights, seeing the shows and meeting people from more than a dozen different cultures. Now you're ready for the tourist routes in South Africa, the countryside awash with colour and the small towns where traditions and heritage rule. Welcome to Slow Living, South Africa.
South Africa's routes expose you to the best in crafts, recent and ancient history, farm life, adventure experiences, gentler outdoor pastimes and the delicious pleasure of relaxing in one place for a couple of days and doing as little as possible.
Seasonal overland self-drives yield the best travel results. If it's spring in South Africa, you should be among the blooming daisy fields of Namaqualand in the west of the country. In winter, the log fires, the after-supper stories around a glass of sherry and the flaming aloe trees of the Eastern Cape await you.
Autumn in the Lombardy poplar groves and the sandstone cathedrals of the eastern Free State is an unforgettable experience. Then there is the promise of a hot summer night at the beach, with waves crashing in the distance, a glass of cold white wine and a crayfish feast being prepared.
Tourism information offices in most towns are there to help you in all kinds of circumstances. South African tourist routes have been specifically themed, so all you have to do is work out what appeals most - and chances are, the journey you've always wanted is waiting out there for you.
One really lovely route is the Cape Country Meander, a 100km stretch starting in the Elgin Valley in the Western Cape. It takes you through lush farmland and towns such as Bot River, Caledon, Genadendal, Greyton, Riviersonderend, Tesselaarsdal and Villierdorp, following the route taken by the Boer pioneers who wound their way in ox-drawn wagons.
Here, adventure activities abound. You can enjoy fishing, river barging, hiking, abseiling, rock climbing, quad biking, jet skiing, canoeing, waterskiing and more. Summer is the best time to do the route when there are more daylight hours and little rain.
For those who love back roads, wild flowers, cranes, fly-fishing, hiking, star gazing and cliff climbing, the Highlands Meander in Mpumalanga is a wonderful outdoor adventure that starts in Belfast and moves through the Kwena Basin to Emgwenya (Waterfall Boven) – a rock climbers’ paradise. This is fly-fishing territory at its best, and you’ll also find three crane species. Summer is the best time for wild flowers and birding. Winter is also good but can be cold.