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SSouth Africa is made for road trips. From weekend getaways to extended holidays, there is so much to explore across the country. We’re lucky enough to have good roads travelling to most parts of the country, making for fantastic road trips.
There are literally hundreds of different road trip routes. One of the popular routes starts in Johannesburg and heads down to the Western Cape along the Garden Route. This route also lends itself to including a few other stops along the way.
Another option is to take a detour before heading to the coast and stop off somewhere in the Drakensberg. Followed by a stop along the Wild Coast before heading to the Garden Route, adding in a quick stop in Hogsback before getting to the Western Cape. Here is a two-week road trip itinerary doing just that.
Two nights in Underberg
Starting off in Johannesburg, the drive to Underberg is just over six hours. While here, book a cabin at Mkomazana Mountain Cottages. This small resort is located at the base of the Sani Pass and the cottages are cosy with everything that you need for a self-catering stay – including a small lounge with fireplace and a kitchenette. The grounds here are beautiful, with the farm featuring a small lake and river stream, ancient trees, and stunning mountain views. The property used to be a trading post dating back to the 1800’s when the Sani Pass first started being used.
While here make sure to take a trip up the Sani Pass into Lesotho. If you don’t have a 4x4 to drive up yourself, then book a tour. The managers at Mkomazana are able to organise a tour with Sani Pass Tours. The trip will cost R790 per person and includes a 4×4 trip up the Sani Pass, a quick tour to the nearby Basotho village at the top, and a lunch stopover at the Highest Pub in Africa (for own account). The tour will take most of the day, leaving at about 9am and back around 4pm.
There are also nearby hiking and walking trails to keep you busy and a few restaurants in nearby Himeville.
TThree nights in Coffee Bay
Next up, join the N2 and start heading towards the Wild Coast. Here is where you can completely chill out and enjoy the laid-back beach vibes. Accommodation is basic. For a true experience book a rondavel at Coffee Shack Backpackers.
WWhile in Coffee Bay make sure to do the day hike to Hole in the Wall. It’s about an 11-kilometer hike one-way along the rolling hills along the coastline. The hike is fairly tough, with a total of about six hills to trek up and down. The green hills scattered with the occasional colourful rondavel, the free-roaming cows along the beaches and dramatic cliff drops are a special sight to see.
There are other hiking routes to explore in the area along with great surfing conditions.
Two nights in Hogsback
After completely relaxing along the Wild Coast, it’s time to join the fairies for a bit. Get back on the N2 and later the R63 for a six-hour drive to Hogsback. A favourite accommodation choice in this magical forest town is Away with the Fairies. It’s a backpackers but has two private chalets (book ahead to get these rooms). Hogsback is all about hiking through the forests, with highlights being the Big Tree, the Madonna and Child Falls, 39 Steps Falls and the Arboretum. Later, end your day with a quick ‘bath with a view’ at Away with the Fairies, followed by a delicious pizza from their bar.
DID YOU KNOW that Hogsback is said to be the inspiration behind JRR Tolkien’s magical fantasy land in The Lord of the Rings?
One night in Jeffrey’s Bay
Finally, time to start heading towards the beautiful Garden Route. To break up the journey a bit, make a quick stop at Jeffrey’s Bay (a four-hour drive from Hogsback). It’s a relaxed coastal town, most well-known as a surfing hotspot. You’ll also find several factory shops here, so stock up on some cheap beach and swimming wear for the rest of the trip.
Book accommodation at one of the apartments along the Supertubes beach to get quick access for a sunrise surf, swim or beach walk.
Three nights in Plettenberg Bay
Plett is always an enjoyable stay along the Garden Route. It has beautiful beaches, top-class restaurants, boutique shopping, and some great accommodation options. The Robberg Nature Reserve is also the perfect spot to enjoy sundowners or perhaps a full day hike. It is centrally located to enjoy the other areas along the Garden Route, including Storms River, Bloukrans and Tsitsikamma National Park. The drive from Jeffrey’s Bay to Plettenberg Bay is about two and a half hours.
Two nights in Knysna
Just a 30-minute drive from Plett is the quaint and classy town of Knysna. Knysna is another great stop for its restaurants and scenic views. Take a drive up to see the Knysna Heads, venture into the Knysna Forest, cruise along the estuary or stroll around The Waterfront Knysna Quays.
The Turbine Hotel and Spa is a great choice of accommodation, located on Thesen Island. It offers the perfect opportunity to enjoy life on the canals – including kayaking and sunset cruises!
One night in Graaf-Reinet
Sadly, it’s time to head back to Johannesburg. Though, to break up the long drive back spend a night in Graaf-Reinet on the way back. It’s just a four-hour drive from Knysna allowing you enough time to explore the area on the same day. The main reason for stopping here is to visit the Valley of Desolation. It’s a beautiful site to see! Spend the night at Roode Bloem Farm House - is an old farm house located 10-kilometers outside of Graaf-Reinet.
After a good night’s sleep head out early to start the eight-hour drive back to Johannesburg.
Underberg offers visitors a bustling farm-town welcome in the foothills of the uKhahlamba-Drakensberg – a great base from which to explore this part of KwaZulu-Natal’s many outdoor attractions.
The uKhahlamba-Drakensberg region offers breath-taking mountain views and adventures of note: hiking, rock-climbing, paragliding, mountain-biking, abseiling, ice-climbing, horse-riding and more.
The Two Oceans Aquarium in Cape Town houses vivid and educational displays of marvellous life from beneath the waters of the Indian and the Atlantic oceans, both of which wash Western Cape shores.
South Africa has amazing trail-running terrain for visiting athletes, including mountains, forests, bushveld, beaches, savannahs and deserts – as well as some competitive runs to consider.
The Tsitsikamma Woodcutters’ Journey on the Garden Route in Western Cape takes you through pristine indigenous forests in one of South Africa’s most beautiful national parks.
Western Cape is South Africa’s premier province for fun in the sun: Cape Town is surrounded by world-class wine routes, stunning scenery and unique West Coast and Garden Route flora and fauna.
Witsand Beach in Western Cape province offers pristine white Blue Flag beaches, superb land-based whale watching, a wide variety of water sports and magnificent plants, birds and animals to view.
South Africa’s Overberg region, where mountains, fynbos and strandveld descend spectacularly to the sea on the Whale Coast of Western Cape province, is a great spot to explore on horseback.