It’s not only the lonesome American interstates that provide the unique experience of freedom on the open road. Africa and more specifically the gem at its southern tip is a veritable treasure trove of beautiful African roads and scenic drives. Find out why you should traverse Morocco’s desert valleys or cruise down the coastal rides when making your way along the Garden Route.
The Panorama Route
As the name suggests, this truly is a feast for the eyes. Located in the north-eastern province of Mpumalanga, South Africa, Making its way through the Klein Drakensburg’s 25 000 hectare reserve, the road is known for its sweeping vistas of the Blyde River Canyon. This canyon is sure to make an impression being the third-largest canyon in the world. Spots such as ‘God’s Window’ help provide the visitor with a sense of magic as they disembark and explore the often cloud-shrouded passes. The canyon is also home to a rich and diverse range of animals and birdlife.
The Garden Route
Perhaps the most well-known drive in South Africa, the Garden Route winds up the east coast of South Africa, starting in Cape Town and ending off in the Eastern Cape. This journey offers a great tour of the country’s wide range of flora and fauna as it clocks up its 595 km. Starting off in the beautiful surrounds of the Mother City, the route makes its way through a wide array of landscapes ranging from lush farmlands to mountain paths as well as hugging the coastline.
Chapman’s Peak is the dream coastal route for any photographer or adventurer visiting South Africa. Set above the churning Atlantic Ocean, the sheer cliffs rise up above the driver as he takes on these 9 km of scenic pleasure. ‘Chappies’, as it is locally known, has numerous places amongst its 114 twists and turns where one can stop off to take pictures or simply sit back and admire the view. As you make your way from Hout Bay to Camps Bay, you’ll be sure to be blown away by the appearance of the Twelve Apostles who sit up against the clear blue skyline.
For our final entry, we’re back in South Africa. This pass is definitely for only the most hardcore adventurers. Using a 4×4 is mandatory when taking on this challenging road. Situated on the Drakensburg Mountain Range, it’s the route taken to get from KwaZulu-Natal into Mokhotlong in Eastern Lesotho. It holds a rich history, being used as a packtrail for those bringing supplies like wool and mohair down to the towns in exchange for blankets, clothes and maize. This is an extremely rough trail, being the only vehicle route over the Drakensburg. These mountains are truly awe-inspiring with Thabana Nthenyana being the highest point in Southern Africa.
So forget Highway 66
There is no doubting the awe-inspiring power of Africa when it comes to visual beauty. South Africa especially will hold a special place in the heart of anyone who has the pleasure of experiencing its scenic drives. These are truly wonders of the natural world which will forever inspire the boundless imagination of those seeking the rush of adventure and discovery.