Best Roadtrips For Small Cars In SA
It’s that time of the year again, folks! With the June/July holidays coming up for students, many families are starting to plan some amazing roadtrips. If you don’t know where to start, take a look at our top three choices. The best part about our choices is that they’re perfect for compact cars! You don’t need to have a 4x4 to be able to drive some of the most beautiful roads in South Africa. So, in no particular order, here are our top three picks for 2019.
The Garden Route
You’ve probably seen it mentioned in every single SA road trip article or magazine. There’s a reason for that. The Garden Route is one of the most beautiful, scenic drives SA has to offer. Unlike the Namaqualand Flower Route, this trip is the same year-round – incredible.
Clocking in at around 200 km from Mosselbay to Storms River, it’s not too far. You’d be able to finish it in about a day if you’d like. If you’d like a weekend break-away though, we’d suggest you start your trip in Cape Town and work your way to Port-Elizabeth. There are so many memorable stops in between that you’d need a week to full experience them all. Some of our go-to activities are:
- Swellendam: Visit the Drostdy Museum or if you have the time, take a hike in Langeberg.
- Mosselbay: Take a walk on Santos Beach or visit the Bartholomeu Dias Museum.
- Knysna: Walk through the famed Knysna forests and go have a luxurious dinner at the Heads.
- Plettenberg Bay: Monkeyland, Jukani, and Birds of Eden all offer a great day out for the whole family.
- Tsitsikamma: Volunteer at the Timber Wolf Sanctuary and howl with the wolves. You can also go on breath-taking canopy tours.
- Port Elizabeth: You can take the family to Bayworld for an informative and interesting day. Make sure to stop by the Seabird Rehabilitation Centre as well!
This trip is perfect for those with smaller cars or hatchbacks. Other than the ones we mentioned, there are countless interesting sights and towns to see along the way.
The Namaqualand Flower Tour
Namaqualand is beautiful year-round, but it becomes a different world from July to September. Bright flowers stretch under endless blue skies as far as the eye can see, and if that’s not enough to make you fall in love, the tiny towns along the way just might. The trip from Cape Town to Port Noloth is about 800 km. Keep in mind that there are some gravel roads in this tour but they’re not a deal-breaker. Make sure to visit the following towns for exciting experiences:
- Richtersveld: Some of these dirt roads are not for the faint hearted, so 4x4 at your own risk. If you’d like relax, you can also take a swim in the Orange River.
- Springbok: Spend a day fly-fishing and have dinner at the Tauren Steak House later.
- Niewoudtville: You haven’t anything like the Wild Flower Reserve. But don’t take our word for it, go see for yourself.
- Clanwilliam: Marvel at the wonders of the Sevilla Rock Art trail.
- Citrusdal: The Wolfberg Cracks and Arch make for impressive photo opportunities.
The Panorama Route
Some would say that this route is even better than the Garden Route (we’re still on the fence), thanks to its awe-inspiring waterfalls and quant little towns. The trip from Johannesburg is said to be around 450 km, but if you start your trip in Nelspruit or Whiteriver, you could make it to most of these amazing sites in less than a day. In no particular order, you should definitely visit:
- God’s Window (and maybe stop for a pancake or two at Harrie’s after your hike)
- Blyde River Canyon
- Lisbon Falls (it’s fairly hidden, but you should be able to find it on the road to Sabie)
- Pilgrim’s Rest (Try to find Robber’s Grave – if you dare)
- Bourke’s Luck Potholes
- Macmac Falls
- Berlin Falls
The best part of the Panorama Route is getting to meet new people. Make sure to strike up a conversation with the locals and you might find yourself taking a detour to hidden gem in the area.
There you have it! Make sure to let us know if you’ve visited or are planning to visit any of the mentioned areas. We’d love to share your stories and photos. Write to us in the comments below with your own road-trip suggestions and tips. Drive safely!