Along the N6 route which connects the Free State and the Eastern Cape, you will be warmly welcomed by local B&B owners, restaurateurs and residents who enjoy meeting travellers. Take the small detour to Zastron to find San engravings.

Did you know?

An ancient fossil fish, the Coelacanth, was first discovered in East London

The Friendly N6 route between Reddersburg in the Free State and East London in the Eastern Cape whisks you into a world of mountains, Basotho and Xhosa cultures, sprawling sheep farms and a coastal city that keeps the only known remaining Dodo egg in one of its museums.

If you found yourself in the small town of Reddersburg back in the 1880s, you would have been advised to keep a civil tongue. There was a bylaw against profanity, and if the good burghers of Reddersburg heard you cursing, you had eight days to leave town. Today, a more tolerant Reddersburg sports some very interesting remnants of the South African (Anglo-Boer) War.

Down the Friendly N6 route in Smithfield you will meet a charming network of artists, B&B owners and restaurateurs who always welcome out-of-towners in their midst.

Rouxville is pure Karoo in spirit and architecture. The evenings and early mornings are the best times to visually sample Rouxville – soft light makes magic with sandstone.

A small but worthwhile diversion from the N6 route takes you to Zastron, where you will find San engravings, in the shape of what appear to be dolphins. There is also a resident colony of Cape vultures in the area.

Continuing along the N6 route, you come to Aliwal North. This is a good place to base yourself for trips into the mountains. Going south, you drive between the majestic Maluti Mountains and the fringes of the Great Karoo through historic towns like Stutterheim and Queenstown.

And then you're in East London, one of the best-kept coastal secrets in South Africa. Something about the unspoilt nature of this amiable city takes you back to a more innocent era. Which is what an N6 tour is all about.

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