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Best Road Trips In South Africa

Best Road Trips In South Africa

By J.F. Kloppers

For some of us long weekends means lazy mornings spent reading in bed, sipping on tea and scoffing down toasted hot cross buns. But some of us queer folk have kids, Yes, Gay people can have kids too you know, and long weekends is usually time for road trips.

Here's a few of the best long weekend road trips South Africa's got on offer so pack those bags, fill up your 4x4's passenger DVD players for the kids and take a road trip.

Horizon Route

In the south-western Free State, where the Horizon Route is located, the open space is complemented by many little places. Many of the little villages originated for a specific reason that is often long-forgotten today. Each town or village on the route has its own unique character and charm. Explore these little places to learn about their history and meet the local people. Take the kids to Fauresmith to see the old steam train or head to Koffiefontein and discover the origin of this interesting little town’s name.

Visit Transgariep Museum in Philippolis, a cultural history museum specialising in the local history of the area and distiller of Witblitz. Yes, you read correctly. This is the only provincial museum in the country to have a working still and the sole distribution point for Philippolis Witblitz, which will blow your mind.

Take the kids to the Jagersfontein Big Hole Open Mine to see the oldest mine hole and biggest hand-excavated pit in the world. It puts Kimberley’s Big Hole to shame and boasts being the site where two of the top ten largest diamonds in the world were mined.

Drakensberg Experience Route

The majestic Drakensberg Mountains are one place you really need to visit at least once in your life. In autumn the days are still warm and dry and the scenery mind-blowing, making it an ideal time to travel here before the winter snow falls. With plenty of areas within the berg in which to stay, including Giant’s Castle and the Central and Northern Drakensberg, families are sure to find somewhere perfect to enjoy a long weekend.

Hiking trails abound in these parts and the views and scenery will thrill any nature enthusiast. Enjoy adventurous activities such as zip-lining or canoeing down the Tugela River, take a historical tour, check out some seriously impressive falconry or get lost in some of the area’s museums.

Cape Nature Route

This route encompasses all of Cape Nature’s wonders in the Western Cape. From the Cederberg Wilderness Area and Kogelberg Nature Reserve, which are a stone’s throw from Cape Town, to De Mond Nature Reserve and Grootvadersbos Nature Reserve travellers are spoilt for choice. With all these options and views for days, it’s imperative you stay in these destinations for as long as possible, making one of the upcoming long weekends the perfect opportunity to do so.

Hike the Wolfberg Cracks, Wolfberg Arch and Maltese Cross in the Cederberg, stroll along kilometres of pristine sand at De Mond Nature Reserve on the South coast, or pedal your way along a bicycle tour of the Cape’s winelands and their surrounds.

Rixile Culture to Kruger Route

These are ancient lands, teeming with attractions and activities to enjoy. The game viewing at Kruger National Park is possibly the best in the country and it is one of the most renowned eco-tourism destinations in Southern Africa. The province’s impressive mountain scenery beckons hikers, climbers and bikers, while mystic cultural destinations intrigue both local and international tourists.

Visit the late Iron Age heritage site of Masorini about 11km (6 miles) from the Phalaborwa entrance gate in the Kruger Park, or Thomo Heritage Park just outside of Giyani to see the dome-shaped clay furnaces where iron was smelted and learn about the ancient trade routes.

Jumbo River Safaris is a highlight for any traveller, especially for those travelling with children. Jump on the houseboat on the Olifants River, where game like elephant, hippo, crocodile, impala, buffalo, waterbuck, leopard, klipspringer and baboons can be seen.

Piketberg and Porterville Blue Crane Route

A great road trip for any long weekend, this route is a few hours’ drive from Cape Town. The dramatic rock formations, fauna, flora and mountain rock pools in the Groot Winterhoek Wilderness Area make hiking here a pleasure. For the less adventurous, there are coffee shops, restaurants and the opportunity to stay on one of the local farms and experience the Swartland way of life.

Waterval Holiday Farm in Vanrhynsdorp offers a range of accommodation for families and nature lovers alike. The nearby 380m waterfall on the Troe-Troe River is one of the largest in South Africa and only flows during the rainy season, from April to mid-November. The area boasts another 22 waterfalls, hiking trails that feature Khoisan rock art, mountain bike trails, horse rides, fly fishing, picnic facilities and beautiful, natural swimming pools.

Slightly more adventurous folk can take a solo flight, hang gliding or paragliding off the Piketberg Mountain and soak up views of the wide open spaces below. Awesome!

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