Best regions to explore by car in South Africa

With South Africa’s incredibly rich and diverse landscape, the journey to your destination could well be the most beautiful part of your trip. Taking the scenic route allows you to see the country with all its contrasts. Here are some of the best regions in SA to explore by car.

The Limpopo Valley Route

Baobab tree with mountains in background, Mpumalanga, South Africa

Starting in the north of the country and bordering SA’s neighbours – Botswana, Mozambique and Zimbabwe – is the Limpopo region. It’s lush with vegetation in every direction and has a cultural heritage that’s as lively as the region itself. The best route to take to soak it all in by car is via the Limpopo Valley Route, which is runs along the Great North (N1) Road to Zimbabwe, which has endless views of the Limpopo River in the Vhembe region. While in the area, take a quick drive through the Kruger National Park, via one of its nine gates accessible to visitors, to spot the Big Five.

The Garden Route

The Garden Route, Western Cape.

The Western Cape is home to one of the country’s most beautiful, romantic routes. The Garden Route offers majestic mountain views, fabulous hiking trails, secluded beaches, delicious wines and beautiful flora. This drive along the south-western coast of South Africa on the N2 will indulge all your senses. Make a few stops along the way to enjoy activities such as hiking and horseback riding, and to saviour the local flavours in Mossel Bay, Franschhoek or George. You’ll find the Garden Route National Park between the Tsitsikamma National Park and the Wilderness National Park, for its tranquil lakes and endless fields of fynbos.

The Drakensberg

Drakensberg mountains, Kwa Zula Natal, South Africa.

Start your journey in Durban or Johannesburg on the N3 and make your way through magnificent mountains, calming waterfalls and unparalleled views of the countryside. Thrill-seekers can make a stop for a mountain bike ride, while lovers of art and history can take in the more than a 1 000-year-old Bushman rock art.

The Eastern Cape 

Cows standing on the beach in the Wild Coast, South Africa.

To really enjoy the splendour of the Sunshine Coast, as its known, by car, follow the route from Jeffery’s Bay to East London starting on the N2 then taking the R72. The Eastern Cape boasts some of the most beautiful beaches not only in the country but in the world. You may even have a once-in-a-lifetime chance to see cows taking an early morning stroll along the shore. And don’t miss the chance to see the Big Five on a safari drive through the Addo Elephant National Park, in all its untouched beauty.

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