South Africa is a great country to drive around because of excellent roads and infrastructure. So get hold of a new user-friendly book that suggests some great road trips – all perfectly manageable in a sedan – and discover some new destinations.
Road Tripping South Africa (MapStudio), available at good book stores nationwide, suggests some fascinating off-the-beaten track detours that will give you the opportunity to discover a South Africa away from the regular tourist destinations. Written by a number of top local travel writers, each ‘journey’ is divided into useful sections that give you information on everything from driving time, distances and maps, to highlights and all the necessary tourism contact details.
The book also suggests what to pack (you’ll learn an essential Afrikaans word, ‘padkos’, which literally means ‘road food’), from a fully charged mobile phone, to water, toilet paper and a sat nav (most rental cars have them).
Maybe you plan to drive from Johannesburg to Cape Town? Instead of zooming along the N1 – the major national road – take your time and enjoy some of the many potential detours along the way.
What about a picnic in the Golden Gate Highlands National Park; a visit to St Augustine’s Priory; soaking up the Karoo landscape; stopping for a night at the Mountain Zebra National Park and going hiking; goggling at South Africa’s oldest grapevine in the historical town of Graaff-Reinett (buy some hand-knitted or hand-woven mohair goodies here); enjoying some of the world’s finest stargazing at Sutherland (but be warned, it’s freezing in winter); and lots more scenic, historical and culturally fascinating places, before you finally roll into the Mother City?
If it’s wildlife you’re after, you could choose the Ultimate Safari Route that takes you from St Lucia in KwaZulu-Natal, through Swaziland to the Kruger National Park. On this route you can go from one game reserve to another (with no boring bits in between) for 10 whole days. Other options include a golf road trip; a surfing road trip; Route 62 and some of the country’s most wildly scenic passes; a tour around Mpumalanga’s Panorama Route; admiring glorious scenery and swimming in as many waterfalls as possible; a journey along the Eastern Cape’s Wild Coast (some of the most beautiful and deserted beaches in the world); or an Anglo-Zulu Battlefield route.
Handy tips are given for each route, helpful historical nuggets, and an ‘On the Side’ box for each route that suggests even more things to do and places to go.
All the information you need to know about driving conditions, pet- and child-friendly ratings, the best time to visit and some suggested background reading is also provided.
So as we say in South Africa, ‘put foot’ – in other words, foot down on the accelerator and off you go…
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