Having your own car is one of these most freeing experiences of your life. You no longer need to rely on others for lifts or need to be fetched from a night out, and can drive anywhere you feel like. And while many new car owners with their (normally) second hand Fords, Toyotas, or Golfs usually stick to city roads for commutes to work or school, hitting the open road is a great way to christen your ‘new’ car.
Thankfully, South Africa is an absolutely stunning country with a wide range of beautiful locales to visit. It doesn’t matter if you just want to drive for the day, or take a weekend trip – there is always somewhere to go. You may be wondering where exactly you can drive to? Well, here are few suggestions if you want to pace some pleasant hours.
If you live in Cape Town or the surrounding areas, then you know that the city has some of the best beaches around. Even if you don’t like the sand and surf, you have to marvel at the sunsets that the city receives on any given day. For a day trip, one of the best places to start is in the heart of the city. From there, head to the M6, which heads through Sea Point and will take you along the coast. And if you’re partial to ramen and sushi, stop at the famous Three Wise Monkeys in the area.
The M6 is an absolutely gorgeous route to take on a nice sunny day, and one without wind. You’ll head through Sea Point, Clifton, Camps Bay, and you’ll eventually come to Chapman’s Peak Drive. This exquisite road is one of the best drives in the country and you’ll often see cyclists and sightseers along it. Just make sure you have enough money for the toll road.
Once you’re past the drive, you’ll come to Noordhoek and Fish Hoek, which both feature a range of lovely cafes and lunch spots. Though for an extra bit of drive, head into Kommetjie and follow the M65 around the coast and near Cape Point. Then hop on the M4 to head through Simons Town and gander at some of the museums and waterfront sights. And then you’re off to Muizenberg as your final stop to marvel at the ocean view.
For a bit of in-land sightseeing, there is the road to Worcester. And though the town itself may not be a hub of tourist activity, the journey is what makes it worthwhile. The easiest way to reach it is by hopping onto the N1 and heading north. Though if it’s a morning drive, stopping off at the Wynland Engen One-stop garage and getting some Wimpy for breakfast is a South African tradition.
The journey will lead you through Paarl, which is a beautiful town to explore. From there, make sure you have money for the Huguenot Toll Road and Tunnel. Though if you’re feeling a little more adventurous (and don’t want to pay the toll), take the R101, which heads over the mountain instead of through it. You’ll get a magnificent view of Paarl and the surrounding areas.
To add another detour to the trip, why not take the R43 just outside of Worcester and head to Ceres for a bit of lunch. In the winter time you may just be able to visit the snow on the mountains, but there’s a chance you’ll need a proper 4x4 vehicle to do so. When you’re finally tired and ready to come home, take the R46 through Tulbagh then Wellington, and head on back to the N1.
Though it may not be as lush as other parts around Cape Town, the West Coast is very underrated drive. As with the other examples on this list, this will take a few hours so set aside a nice leisurely day. You’ll be able to get onto the R27 from the Woodstock area of Town (the ocean side). From here, follow the road through Table View and Melkbosstrand. You’ll start to see a lot more open road, and marvel at the seaside view.
This route will eventually lead to through the West Coast National Park and Langebaan – of which there are a few lovely places to stop for a bite to eat. An excellent place to turn around is Velddrif and you can consider a visit St. Helena Bay or Saldhana on your way back to Cape Town.
Because the West Coast always feels a lot warmer than the south, make sure that your car’s aircon is in working order and you have cold drinks in the car to sip on. Of course, a packet of biltong doesn’t hurt, either.