The proverbial light at the end of the lockdown tunnel is getting brighter by the day, and we’re so excited to be able to start planning our next travel adventures. First on our list… road tripping! Nothing beats the thrill of the open road with your clan, amiright? Tunes blaring in the car, windows rolled down (yes, even in winter – it’s been a long lockdown!), and the horizon ahead promising new memories... In the immortal words of Willie Nelson, we “just can’t wait to get on the road again.”
It’s time to meet Mzansi like the old friend she is, on these classic road trips from your city. Here are our best road trips and day trips from Cape Town, Jozi and Durbs.
Have a whale of a time in Hermanus
One of the best road trips from Cape Town and just under 2 hours from the Mother City, you’ll find the whale watching capital Of The World. For real. Every year between June and December, this unassuming coastal town attracts hundreds of thousands of binocular-wielding tourists from all over the globe to catch sight of the famous Southern Right Whales who visit our shores to breed, calve, and generally soak up the sun one raised fin at a time, très nonchalant.
Other than whales, the village has plenty to offer day visitors and weekend warriors, including fab foodie options, long walks along clifftops, secret beaches, a seriously cool bookstore, and Belgian waffles.
Weekends in the West Coast
Heading north from Cape Town, the N27 will take you on a scenic drive all the way to Paternoster, with its famous white-washed cottages, quaint fishing boats, and legendary seafood. Delightful in summer and downright romantic in winter, and just under 2 hours’ drive time from Cape Town, Paternoster ticks all our boxes for a quickie escape from the city.
Fancy a weekend getaway in the Mediterranean? Langebaan comes close, at least aesthetically, with its white sands and Aegean-like lagoon. It’s an adventurous spot, especially for kite surfing and paddle boarding, and boasts some pretty stunning swimming beaches (for those willing to brave the cold Atlantic Ocean waters). One hour and 30 minutes from the Mother City, Langebaan is the perfect road trip for a day trip or stayover.
Take a journey back in time to Matjiesfontein
Blink and you’ll miss it. Nestled at the base of the Witteberg and shielded from the N1 highway by a patch of old trees, Matjiesfontein still has something of that “best kept secret” air. It’s a living museum with perfectly preserved buildings from its 1800s heyday era as a fashionable Victorian health spa. Taking centre stage is the Lord Milner Hotel, home of plush rooms, authentic creaky stairs, and – legend has it – some friendly ghosts.
Other fun must–see attractions in Matjiesfontein include the Red Bus, the Transport Museum, Marie Rawdon Museum, the Laird’s Arms pub, Old Post Office, a large swimming pool with endless Karoo views, and the town’s glorious manicured gardens.
Bask in the glory of the Big 5 near Johannesburg
Who would have thought that surrounding South Africa’s biggest and busiest city is the untamed bush with its magnificent wildlife riches? A self-drive safari is a fantastic option for families, with loads of quality time in the car looking for the Big 5 (lion, leopard, buffalo, elephant and rhino) and other animals. If you haven’t yet, now is the time to head straight for the open spaces of the Dinokeng Game Reserve (just over an hour’s road trip from Johannesburg).
Unmissable culture trips near the City of Gold
The “Jacaranda City” of Tshwane is an underrated destination in South Africa and more’s the pity. This charming city will delight you with its impressive architecture, fascinating monuments and museums, and rich history. Don’t miss the Pretoria National Botanic Garden.
Nearby, the Cradle of Humankind and Maropeng Visitor Centre will give you a glimpse into the birth of the human race. It’s as epic as it sounds. For more recent history, visit Constitution Hill in the city Centre and the Apartheid Museum in Soweto.
Road trips and getaways from Durban
Beach, bush, mountains, culture, history, cuisine… brag much, KZN? Those in the know will tell you that KwaZulu-Natal has some of the best road trips in South Africa, from the Maloti Drakensburg Route to the Freedom Route (not forgetting the ever-popular Midlands Meander).
Pack the padkos and take a drive… To Howick, for its magical forests and waterfalls, iSiMangaliso Wetland Park for a marine safari, and Umhlanga Lagoon for some slow-paced hiking. Have we missed any must-see places on your Durban road trip? You bet! But discovering them for yourself is half the fun anyway.
So, what are you waiting for? A world of adventure awaits in your home province – get out there and find it! And if you’re suffering from some pandemic-induced commitment phobia, we wrote a blog explaining how to book flexible travel dates. Need help with logistics and booking post-covid accommodation? Book an online consultation with one of our experts now.