Sunday, March 13, 2011

Scenic Drives of South Africa

Few things in life bring to mind such idyllic thoughts of freedom than the road trip – of driving through wide open spaces, the wind in your hair and the thought that you can go just about anywhere. Most visitors to South Africa have heard of the Garden Route, but with its stunning natural landscape, impressive rock formations and deep gorges, South Africa has even more to offer. Try one of these rides on for size and you’re guaranteed a view you’ll remember for a lifetime:

Camp’s Bay to Chapman’s Peak, Cape Town

Begin your journey just 5-min from the City Bowl. The well-maintained road descends into the arms of famed Camp’s Bay, framed on your left by the Twelve-Apostles, part of the Table Mountain range, and on your right by the sea. The road hugs the mountains and meanders south through Hout Bay, culminating along Chapman’s Peak Drive where dramatic rust-coloured cliff-faces extend above before succumbing to the crashing sea below.

Sani Pass, Drakensberg

This drive is not for the faint-hearted, the novice driver, nor the average rental car. The landscape is stark, the road is unpaved and potholed, and don’t even think about the state of the guardrail (there isn’t one). One treacherous hairpin curve after another, this adventure road climbs up into the clouds until you reach the mountain kingdom of Lesotho where you’ll want to calm your nerves with a drink at the highest pub in Africa.

Swartberg Pass, Klein Karoo

Between Oudsthoorn's Cango Caves and Prince Albert, this unpaved road tip-toes along the mountain’s edge offering sweeping views of the shrubby Karoo-landscape far below, a gentle welcome before it takes you on a journey of secrets, bobbing and weaving its way through canyon rockwalls as old as fossils, giant proteas that flower pink and yellow in season, and endless varieties of the fynbos so unique to South Africa.

Route 62, Western Cape

Rolling vineyards, tidy farmhouses and quaint country villages give way to the dry openness of the Karoo between Ashton and Oudsthoorn on this scenic alternative to the N2, dubbed the longest wine route in the world. On a summer’s day the heat along this route rises in shimmering waves – if it’s too much, take one of the many roads heading south towards the sea where you might be lucky enough to find a cooling waterfall bursting from the craggy mountain face.

Seweweekspoort, Klein Karoo

The lines in the jagged rock walls that line either side of this narrow road reveal the crushing tectonic power that formed them – vertical lines slope to horizontal and back again. Hues of red, orange and yellow blanket the space. In the quiet of centuries, one can’t help but think back to the days of pioneers, when this keyhole through the seeming impenetrable mountains provided a merciful escape from the hardships of the interior.


  1. I really enjoyed reading your latest blog, thanks! Have you been on all of those roads?

  2. I'm not surprised that you have a job writing, you are VERY GOOD! I will save this and click on your site from time to time.

  3. Wow, thanks for the nice feedback! I have been on every one of the routes and most of the images are original, too. Very exciting, beautiful and memorable little road trips, that's for sure! Hope you keep reading.

  4. Hi Theresa

    I hope you don't mind me getting in touch. I found your details on your blog and I hope you might be able to help me with my strange request…

    I am a Producer working on a television show called House Hunters International which follows English speaking expats in their quest to purchase a house abroad. I am hoping to find expats to profile who have moved to South Africa. I wonder if you or any of your expat contacts might be interested in getting involved?! Please find a little blurb about the show below:

    House Hunters International is a half-hour program currently airing on the Home and Garden Television Network (HGTV) in America.
    The series is designed to de-mystify the international home-buying process by going behind the scenes of a house hunt where buyers and their real estate agents tour 3 homes.

    At its core, House Hunters International is a travel show concentrating on the idiosyncrasies of the locales and what makes them special and different.

    You can watch some examples of the show here: - London from South Africa (1600 series) - Dubai from Illinois (2000 series)

    Please get in touch if you have any more questions about the show. I look forward to hearing from you!

    Best wishes and many thanks,


    Michelle James
    1-3 St Peter's Street, London N1 8JD - +44 20 7704 3300