Top 20 Routes in South Africa

Last updated: Jul 06, 2015

Make the most of your holiday before you even reach your destination! If you are travelling by car, then be sure to plan your trip around one or more of the following routes. Each one has something unique and special to see.

Eastern Cape

Accommodation in the Eastern Cape

Art Route 67 – Rich in history and culture, this route runs from central Port Elizabeth to Uitenhage. Along the route you will see visual arts, urban design and heritage assets all combined into one experience.

Karoo Calata Route – This route starts at Queenstown and runs through Cradock, Middelburg and Sterkstroom. You’ll come across plenty of wildlife and the route is filled with heritage and adventure, 4 x 4 trails and fantastic mountain views.

Diverse R61 Sisulu Route – Starting at Cradock this route boasts wildlife, rock art, fantastic mountain views and the birth place of Chris Hani.

Ndondo Route – Along this route you’ll see the breath-taking Glen Gray Waterfalls, hiking trails with spectacular mountain views and rock art. You’ll pass through towns such as Eliot, Tsomo and Lady Frere.

Friendly N6 Route – This route boasts 4 x 4 trails, fishing spots and game drives. It is located between the Eastern Cape Midlands and East London and passes through the historical Queenstown.

Coastal Route – This covers the entire length of the Eastern Cape, starting at Tsitsikamma and including the Tsitsikamma National Park and Addo Elephant National Park. The route is divided into a number of sub-routes, each with their own special and individual features.

Western Cape

Accommodation in the Western Cape

Cape Route 62 – Also known as the Mountain Route as it offers range upon range of grand mountains. The route coves areas of impressive landscapes and passes through many fascinating towns. It is said to be an exciting experience even for the well-travelled. The route starts in Cape Town and ends in Port Elizabeth.

Whale Route – This peaceful route starts at Betty’s Bay and stretches along the coast. The largest town on the route is Hermanus, which is of course famous for whale watching. There are lots of adventure activities along the way which includes shark-cage diving, hiking, sea kayaking, quad biking, horse-riding and whale watching boat tours. The best time for whale watching is between June and November each year.

Garden Route – A popular and scenic route found along the south eastern coast of South Africa. It starts in Mossel Bay in the Western Cape and ends up in Storms River in the Eastern Cape. There is an incredibly diverse range of vegetation along this route. Town’s that you will come across includes Knysna, Plettenberg Bay and Nature’s Valley.

18 Official Wine Routes – South Africa is famous for our award-wining wines. The most popular of these wine routes are found in Stellenbosch, Franschhoek, Paarl, Robertson and Durbanville. Along the way you’ll enjoy wine tasting, winemaking tours, amazing scenery and outstanding cuisine. In Stellenbosch you’ll come across Spier Wine Estate which has one of the Cape’s oldest wine cellars dating back to 1767, and in Franschhoek learn more about the early French Hugenot settlers.

R62 Brandy Route – The South African brandy industry has a rich and proud history of brandy making stretching back some 330 years. The visiting points along this route includes Worcester, Montagu, Calitzdorp, Barrydale, Oudtshoorn and De Rust. Along the route you will see plenty of old farmstyle buildings and beautiful scenery too.

Green Mountain Eco Route – The world’s first biodiversity wine route. The aim of the members of this group is conservation, sustainability and social upliftment. Along the route you’ll visit participating wine producers around the Groenland Mountain within the following villages; Botrivier, Elgin Valley Grabouw, Houw Hoek and Villiersdorp.


Accommodation in the KwaZulu-Natal

Freedom Route–This route promotes the freedom related struggles of some of the freedom icons of this province which include Nelson Mandela, Albert Luthuli and Alan Paton. This historic journey will give you amazing insight into the freedom struggles of the past. The route stretches between Durban and Pietermaritzburg.

Beer Route – The Beer Route showcases a variety of breweries from large to small including the Shongweni brewery, Wartburger Brauhaus and The Nottingham Road Brewery. You’ll enjoy beer tasting as well as beer making demonstrations. There are also lots of other tourist attractions along the route which stretches from Durban as far as Dundee.

Literature Route – This route celebrates and honours the lives and works of special writers such as Lewis Nkosi, Ronni Govender and Rider Haggard. The route is found between Durban and Pietermaritzburg.


Accommodation in the Limpopo

African Ivory Route – This route is perfect for the adventure traveller. It is found between Phalaborwa and the Pafuri Camp and boasts many activities including hiking, big 5 game drives, 4 x 4 drives and cultural camp experiences. The route is situated close to the Kruger National Park as well as the world’s largest cycad forest.

Ribolla Open Africa Route – This route is rich in culture and art and boasts many other attractions. A variety of arts, crafts and designs can be seen, and you can also experience local culture and traditions through traditional dancers, singers and storytellers in one of the traditional Shangaan and Venda Villages. The route stretches from northern Polokwane to Musina.

Great Mapungubwe Heritage Route – Located between Musina and Pontdrift Border Post, this route takes you to the ancient kingdom of Mapungubwe – South Africa’s first kingdom which existed in the 13th century from 1220 – 1290. Golden treasures as well as the Golden Rhino was discovered here. The area, which was declared a world heritage site in 2003, boasts impressive landscapes that will take your breath away. Plenty of wildlife and an abundance of birdlife can also be seen.

Limpopo Valley Route – situated along the Great North road towards Zimbabwe, attractions along this route includes the Blouberg National Park, the Sacred Forest of Thatwe Vonde, Lake Fundudzi, Dzata Ruins and Big Tree which is a 200 year old Baobab. You can also enjoy a variety of local arts and craft markets along the way.


Accommodation in the Mpumalanga

The Panorama Route - This popular scenic route along the Mpumalanga escarpment is where you will find glorious sights such as the Blyde River Canyon (the third largest canyon in the world), God’s Window, the Three Rondavels and Bourke’s Luck Potholes. Other scenic wonders along and near to this route include the Lisbon Falls, Berlin Falls, Mac Mac Falls, the historic mining town of Pilgrim’s Rest and the fanciful town of Sabie are also found nearby. It is one of the most beautiful and popular travel destinations in the whole of South Africa and leads through the rocky mountain range of the magnificent Northern Drakensberg. It is situated mostly along on the R532 and the town of Graskop is found nearest to it.

Free State

Accommodation in the Free State

Flamingo Route – This area boasts beautiful landscapes and is a well-known gold producing area. Here you will see a variety of game, local nature reserves and historical sites. The route starts in Bothaville and moves to Welkom, Ventersburg and Windburg and then ends in Brandfort. There are many hiking trails and lots of wonderful bird watching spots to enjoy here as well.

Eagle Route – This route runs from Ficksburg to Harrismith and has many picturesque landscapes to enjoy. There are magnificent mountain views, historical monuments as well as beautiful nature reserves. You’ll see dinosaur fossils and rock paintings. And you can enjoy hot air ballooning as well as 4 x 4 drives.

Northern Cape

Accommodation in the Northern Cape

Raptor Route – The Kalahari is home to 40 raptor and vulture species as well as seven owl species. This route starts at Kuruman’s Raptor Rehabilitaion Centre and stretches all the way to the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park and down to Upington.


Accommodation in the Gauteng

Creative Living Route – Designed for all art lovers this arts and crafts route boasts some of the best art galleries and outlets for crafts, fine art and handmade goodies along the West Rand. Stops along the route include the Angela Eidelman Art Gallery, Chris Patton Ceramics, Ibis Gallery, Ngwenya Glass Village and Magaliesburg Candles.