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Road Trip in South Africa: Best Routes

From visiting spectacular cultural and historic gems, as well as fantastic casinos dotted around the major cities to paragliding over pristine Garden Route beaches, we take a look at some of the best South African road trips to add to your bucket list.

First things first: South Africa should be on your bucket list, no question about it. We’re going to flood you with a lot of information and a number of options, but no matter how you slice it, you’ll have a fantastic time. Any type of trip to SA post Covid-19 and beyond is a good one, whether a tour, a city escape, or a DIY road trip. 

We’re here to help you put form to the last one, the South Africa road trip of a lifetime

There’s so much to see and do, that you can only really do it justice if it’s you who ultimately decides how to play it. Of course, money and time (darn employee holiday constraints!) may limit you, so we’ve put together a small yet varied selection that will work for many types of trips. 

The Panorama Route 

It’s all in the name, right? This is a high-performance drive that will take you on a high-altitude trip you will never forget. The natural features are just absolutely stunning. 

Your family may not like you going this far up, with eagles soaring above you and hikes along the way that will slightly push your limits. And Instagram doesn’t have enough hard-drive space to store all of the photos you can take. 

You can also visit some interesting historical towns, including Pilgrim’s Rest. This is a living monument to the gold-rush era that gripped South Africa in the late 19th century, where the average employee sought to grab a payday by striking it lucky. 

The route runs from Long Tom Pass to Echo Caves and is just over 120 miles. Else, you can try numerous excellent paragliding sites, one of the best known being Cloud 9 in Sedgefield.

The Pigrim’s Rest was declared a National Monument in 1986 as a living memory of the early gold rush days in South Africa during the late 1800s.

The Casino Route 

Most of us think of Las Vegas when we think of gambling, with an Arizona or Nevada road trip tagged on as an afterthought. However, for those of you who like a punt on the roulette wheel, why not combine them? 

South Africa has some fantastic casinos dotted around the major cities. You could start off at GrandWest Casino and Entertainment World in Cape Town, then take a coastal route to Garden Route Casinos, Hemingways Casino, and Sibaya Casino & Entertainment Kingdom. All of these companies offer everything you’d expect from a modern establishment, including wide food/drink options and friendly employees. End your trip at the fabulous Gold Reef City in Johannesburg. 

Of course, if this is just a tad too rich for your blood, you can always opt for online alternatives while taking other road trips. You won’t get the same gambling experience, but there are advantages: online casinos tend to offer more generous bonuses (fewer overheads!), the minimum bet amount is lower on the whole, and no need to get out of your PJs! 

Sani Pass 

It’s short, but oh so sweet. It’s 8 kilometers of 4×4 goodness, with a rocky and gravel-filled road requiring more than your average Ford Fiesta. Don’t let the short distance fool you, this is a challenging drive. You’re going to come across hairpins, switchbacks, a distinct lack of guardrails, and some water crossings. 

However, the views are just mind-bending. Once you reach the top of Lesotho, the views will more than make up for the pulsating drive you’ve just had. Do remember to take your passport, but rest assured that your South African rand will be accepted as payment. 

We recommend stopping at the Sani Mountain Lodge, which lays claim to the title of Africa’s highest pub. It offers some great meals and well-deserved ales in a cozy setting. 

The Joburg to North West Beer Route 

For those of you who like to spend your wages on beer, you can’t go far wrong with this road trip. Whether you’re a lover of lagers or a connoisseur of the ale, this trip will delight the senses across nine microbreweries, each of these companies with a distinct identity. 

Your first stop is so good, you’ll be tempted to stick around. Get the tasting tray, which consists of 8 (!) different beers; of course, be careful about your performance behind the wheel, go with the company, and take turns driving!). Bonus: Brauhaus am Damm is perfect not just for beers, but also for classic German snack delicacies, including pretzels and wurst. 

You’re going to need some money on this route, as you’re going to need to pay for all of these beers somehow, right? So, set aside some of your salary and if you can, time. Because you’re going to want to take your time at these great little beer miracle-makers! 

Route details: (1) Copperlake Brewing Co, Broadacres, (2) Gilroy Brewery, (3) Brauhaus am Damm, (4) Thirsty Falls Guest Farm, (5) White Dog Taproom, (6) Black Horse Estate, (7) Chameleon Brewhouse, (8) The Art Guesthouse, (9) Lazy Lizard Brewhouse, (10) Ale House, (11) Capital Craft Beer Academy. This is the route that promises a good time. 

This is just a small selection of everything South Africa has to offer. But there’s so much more. The Wild Coast, for instance, will give you unique ocean views and gorgeous nature reserves. The Garden Route is popular amongst those looking for flora and fauna. No matter what you want out of a road trip, this gem of a country will deliver (and then some!). 

Temoso Mokoena
Temoso Mokoena
Temoso Mokoena is a tech and sneaker enthusiast who likes to stay neutral in all things.
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