Travel | 11 Jul 2017 | By Sun International
Discover the Best Road Trip Pit Stops in South Africa
South Africa was made for road-trippers. Between the cold Atlantic and warm Indian oceans, through the haunting landscapes of the Karoo and the forests of the Garden Route, our country features an unrivalled diversity of destinations to discover, and with them, a wealth of road trip ideas to inspire you to explore your own backyard.
Linked by the N1 highway — or the ‘nash’ as is it is fondly known — the journey between Johannesburg and Cape Town cuts right through the heart of South Africa. But instead of putting pedal to the metal and hightailing it from Jozi to the Mother City, we’ve compiled a list of the best road trip pit stops in South Africa to pause, explore and discover Mzanzi.
Bloemfontein stopovers between Johannesburg and Cape Town
Take a break on your travels and explore the ‘City of Roses’ from Windmill Casino. Among the best stopovers between Johannesburg and Cape Town, Bloemfontein is not merely one of the most convenient pit stops in South Africa on the nash, but is also the bloom in the bouquet of South Africa’s cities.
Along with immaculate road trip accommodation at Windmill Lodge and vibrant 24-hour gaming facilities, Windmill Casino will give you the perfect base from which to launch a Bloemfontein stopover adventure. Spend time with the Ferraris of the animal kingdom at the Cheetah Experience, a conservation-focused breeding centre and animal sanctuary just 15 minutes from the city centre. Wander through Oliewenhuis Art Museum, which was the official presidential residence in Bloemfontein until the 1980s and today showcases collections from South African artists such as Pierneef and Kentridge. Pack a picnic basket and relax in the city’s gardens and parks. If it’s entertainment you’re after on your Bloemfontein road trip stopover, Windmill Casino has carved a name for itself as the city’s hub of fun. Its action bars regularly host celebrated performers, while Windmill’s Superbowling Centre is one of Bloem’s liveliest family nights out, with 12 ten-pin bowling lanes and spectacular glow-in-the-dark lighting effects.
Worcester road trip ideas
Situated in the Breede River Valley, just two hours from Cape Town, Worcester makes for one of the best road trip pit stops in South Africa. Instead of speeding through the town, pause to explore one of the Cape’s most astonishing wine regions: Worcester produces almost a quarter of all South Africa’s wine and spirits, and the 12 cellars comprising the Worcester Wine Route are sprinkled across some beautiful terrain.
If you are not taking a wine-tasting journey, go on a Big Five safari at nearby Fairy Glen Private Game Reserve or visit the Karoo Desert National Botanical Garden, famous for being the only true succulent garden in the Southern Hemisphere. Your road trip accommodation at the Golden Valley Lodge gives you convenient access to all the area’s highlights. Plus, there’s more after-dark action and entertainment at the Golden Valley Casino than anywhere else in Worcester. Aside from gaming facilities, it also offers traditional South African meals at Kuiper’s, a restaurant known for its satisfying buffets.
Best stopovers for road trips in Polokwane
When journeying through Limpopo, take a mini-break at one of our favourite road trip pit stops in South Africa, Meropa Casino and Entertainment World. Emulating the exotic architecture of a Moroccan villa, Meropa offers round-the-clock entertainment for the whole family, including mini-golf, two adrenaline-pumping go-karting tracks, and paintball. There’s also a spa, a market filled with unique arts and crafts, and Polokwane’s top steakhouse, the Harvest Grill & Wine. After exhausting all the activities, Meropa hotel, within the Meropa precinct, will ensure that you have a good night’s rest.
Need more road trip ideas for Polokwane? Treat the kids to a visit at WildThingZ, a jungle-like world that is home to a number of indigenous species, including birds, reptiles and insects. The beautifully landscaped enclosure is the first of its kind in South Africa and promises hours of entertainment for all ages.
Coastal road trip planner: stopovers at Fish River Sun
Situated at the very heart of the Sunshine Coast, only 122 km from East London and 185 km from Port Elizabeth, the Fish River Sun Hotel and Country Club Resort enjoys an exquisite coastal location close to the point where the Great Fish River spills into the Indian Ocean. This is an ideal road trip pit stop if you are following the coastal road between the Garden Route and KwaZulu-Natal.
Explore three walking trails across the lush grounds or follow one of the hiking trails into the surrounding nature reserve. Maps and bird lists are available from reception at your comfortable road trip accommodation, the Fish River Hotel. Play a round of golf at the Fish River Sun Country Club, a par-72, Gary Player-designed championship 18-hole golf course; soak up the sun beside the swimming pool, or spend the day on the beach. Just an hour’s drive from the Fish River Sun, the malaria-free Great Fish River Nature Reserve is home to abundant wildlife and huge vistas.