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Off the Beaten Track Travel

Top Off-the-Beaten-Track Routes in South Africa (And How to Plan Your Trip)

If you want an affordable trip where you’ll be able to get up close to the lions, hyenas, elephants, relax in a hut in the middle of a jungle, enjoy enormous feasts days in days out, and get to taste some exotic wines, you definitely need to come to South Africa. The country offers a diverse landscape that changes dramatically when the season changes. After arriving by plane, the best way to explore the country is by car. A well-planned South Africa road trip will offer some of the best moments in your life.

What makes South Africa a great destination for a road trip?

For the intrepid travelers, getting in a car and drive from one point of interest to the next is the joy of the journey. You can drive from Johannesburg to Cape Town and visit countless points of interest on the way, such as the Wild Coast, the Drakensberg Mountains, or Kruger National Park. Road condition is generally good here, and traffic jams are minimal, with the exception of Cape Town.

The best road trips in South Africa

With its changing landscapes, wide-open spaces, and abundance of quirky towns, South Africa will never disappoint you on your South Africa road trip. Here are the top 5 road trip routes in South Africa for your reference.

The Garden Route

The Heads at the entrance to Knysna Lagoon, South Africa, looking north towards the town.

This is by far the most famous road trip route. Tackling the picturesque 200km stretch from the Western Cape to the Eastern Cape means you’ll have plenty of opportunities to enjoy the numerous sublime beaches, beautiful lakes, dense forests, and varied vegetation along the way.

Route 62, Western Cape

Route 62 got its name from the R62 road that brings you to quaint rural towns, mountain farms, lusty green mountains, and lovely vineyards of the Cape Winelands.

The Wild Coast, Eastern Cape

The 350km trajectory will take you from the beautiful coastal city of East London to South Africa’s Kwa-Zulu Natal. Most people spend about 7 days completing this South Africa self-drive road trip.

The Waterberg Meander

The 350km South Africa road trip will take you through the heart of Waterberg Biosphere where you can enjoy an excellent view over the countless Kalahari bush savannah below. And don’t miss the chance to get up close to the animals at Marakele National Park.

The Panorama Route

If you want dramatic vistas and countless walks in pure nature, take the Panorama Route across the Blyde River Canyon where you can enjoy a panoramic view over the whole region, or take a stop at Kruger National Park, one of Mpumalanga’s most famous attractions.

Tips and advice for touring South Africa by car

Start your road trip in South Africa with proper planning. It’s relatively easy to rent a car here, and if you need help organizing your routes, accommodations, and on-the-road visits, the guys at Evaneos can be a great source of information.