April is here and while you may already be scoffing down toasted hot cross buns with lashings of butter, it’s not too late to get one last road trip in before you batten down the hatches for winter. Here’s my pick of five road trips to take on one of the upcoming long weekends.
Five great long weekend road trips
Personally, I love stormy winter days on the coast. While everyone is racing to get their last beach holiday of the summer, head to the Northern Cape for some R&R where there are fewer crowds and plenty of great cultural activities to enjoy like cooking classes, museums and quaint little towns. Check out the Kalahari Red Dune Route for some great ideas for where to stay and things to do while you’re in the area.
Still in the Northern Cape, where the Kalahari and the Nama-Karoo deserts meet, the Great Gariep River (known to most as the Orange River) flows bringing life to the typically arid worlds on both sides, turning the area into an oasis. The Kokerboom Food and Wine Route Route has something for everyone. In addition to visiting the popular Augrabies Falls travellers can relax in hot springs, river raft, go on 4×4 trips, hike, bird-watch, sample local delicacies and wines, touch the unique Kokerboom (quiver tree) and even take a leisurely donkey cart ride through town.
KwaZulu-Natal is known for its warm weather but places like the Drakensberg can experience snow in the winter months, making it a great Autumn road trip destination. The route is centred on the Drakensberg World Heritage Site, which includes Giant’s Castle and the Central and Northern Drakensberg. With activities like fishing, hiking, bird-watching, quad-biking, horse-riding and even canopy tours, there’s plenty to see and do and, if you time it right, you can still do some camping!
A few hours’ drive from Cape Town, the Cederberg Wilderness Area in Autumn is simply spectacular. The days are still warm and the nights just getting chilly – perfect for getting cosy round the campfire at night. While you’re taking in the beautiful surroundings, check out the San (Bushman) rock paintings in the Cederberg or nearby Nardouwsberg, Koue Bokkeveld and Olifants River Valley – some of the most accessible in the world.
Situated just a comfortable three-hour journey from Johannesburg and nestled in the arms of the Maluti Mountain range, Clarens overlooks fertile farmlands amidst stunning landscapes and has become a haven of tranquillity for artists, solitude seekers and nature lovers both from South Africa and abroad. Outdoor pursuits include birding, hiking trails, horse riding, 4×4 trails and trout and bass fishing, to name a few and the nearby Golden Gate National Park is worth a visit, too.
Got more than a weekend to spare? Check out the Put Foot Rally, a 17-day road trip of a lifetime.