If you’re looking for a country that is the melting pot of many cultures forming one nation, book a flight to South Africa. A developing country with a flourishing economy and a diverse population, it offers some of the most beautiful landscapes and resorts in the world. And if you’re a homesick American residing in this country for work, you can easily receive goods from home, thanks to an efficient package forwarding service that ships from the U.S. to South Africa.
But the absolute best thing to do in South Africa is to go on a road trip. Cooped up in your vehicle, you’ll experience many scenic routes, pass through heart-stopping bridges, stopover mountain tops with glorious views, and encounter some fascinating wild animals.
You can book a road trip through a tour-guide company, or rent a vehicle that you yourself will drive so that you can explore the country with more spontaneity and thrill. Whichever you choose, this article has got your itinerary covered.
Without further ado, here are the best road trips in South Africa, and the best vehicles to drive:
Best Road Trip Routes
1. The Garden Route, Western Cape (289 km, approx. 4 days)
All articles about South Africa travel always name the Garden Route as one of the best road trip itineraries in the country. Indeed, it is South Africa’s most popular route, famed for its rich and varied vegetation, with easy access to divine beaches, dense mountain forests, mystifying lagoons and lakes, and a range of outdoor activities. Talk about adventure!
2. The Wild Coast (350 km, approx. 7 days)
The route will take you to the picturesque rolling hills of East London in the south of Eastern Cape, to the border of Kwa-Zulu Natal in the northeast. You’d see plenty of turquoise rondavels, which are lovely round huts with thatched roofs, and small pastoral farming plots.
But the best parts of the Wild Coast route are the rutted dirt roads that lead to the desolate coastline. Backpackers will have the time of their lives in the small town resorts and coastal villages, both of which offer superior tranquility. You’d definitely need that after the long drive.
3. The Waterberg to Meander (350 km, approx. 5 days)
This route may not be as popular, but that’s what makes it extra special. It’ll let you experience the peak of mountains, sandstone rock formations, golden savannah plains, lush riparian forests, and exhilarating river valleys. It’ll also take you close to several cultural attractions and lodges, which aren’t a far drive from the city.
4. Cape Town to Nambia (679 km, approx. 10 days)
If you can stay in the country longer, definitely choose to try the Cape Town to Nambia route. Divided into seven hours of road trips, you’ll get to see and experience small-town culture and lots of coastal adventures. It’s not far from the city, but you’ll also stop by isolated areas such as Bitterfortein, Garies, Hondeklip Bay, and Kammieskroon. You’ll also pass a dirt road, but the bumps will be worth it.
5. Route 62 (782 km, approx. 3 days)
For a quick but eventful South Africa road trip, Route 62 should be your pick. It is named after the R62 road that passes through the wonderful vineyards of Cape Winelands, and into the heart of Little Karoo, a rural town with livestock farms and open scrublands.
Needless to say, this route is perfect for wine-lovers and countryside enthusiasts. In fact, Route 62 is named the longest wine route in the world, which means you’ll never experience anything better than it.
But of course, it won’t rob you of the chance to see the breathtaking landscapes and coastal towns of South Africa. You’ll also pass and stop by those, with the added perk of enjoying a glass or two in every destination.
Best Cars to Drive in Your South Africa Joyride
1. Jeep Grand Cherokee
South Africa’s tarmac terrains are no match for the Jeep Grand Cherokee. Its four-wheel drive capabilities make this beast of an auto ideal for off-roading. The interiors are comfortable, making you barely feel the bumps on your way.
2. Ford Mustang
For those who like to travel in style, Ford Mustang is your perfect road trip buddy. It makes long drives feel like a stroll, guaranteed to relax you as you gaze at the scenic views and colorful buildings.
3. BMW M4
The BMW M4 has it all. It can drive on rough terrains without struggling, and offer comfort as you would expect from a luxury car. Its headlights also adapt to the brightness or dimness of the place you’re in, securing your safety.
South Africa has loads more to offer, so quickly include it in your travel bucket list now. It may take a while before we can trot the globe again, but the wait will be worth it.