Where to Stay - South Africa

By Neil Playdon

Before the Swartberg Pass was built one of the only ways for farmers to transport their goods was via Meiringspoort. Unlike the Swartberg Pass the Meiringspoort route is flat and the tarred road winds for 25km with towering sandstone cliffs on either side of you.

Meiringspoort Scenic Route

Entering Meiringspoort

To get there from Prince Albert take the R407 out of town and go past the turn off for Swartberg Pass. Follow this road for about 45 minutes before turning off towards De Rust. The road then enters Meiringspoort immediately identifiable by the cliffs on either side of you. READ MORE

We had heard how beautiful the Swartberg Pass was from friends and family and when we stopped for a few nights in Prince Albert this September we got to experience it first hand. Although the road is not tarred it is well kept and suitable for a normal car. As with all mountain passes we recommend that you take the drive slowly and stay well clear of the edges.

The Swartberg Pass links Prince Albert with Oudtshoorn and was officially opened on the 10th January 1888. The pass is 24 kilometres long and tops out at 1585 metres (or 5,600 feet in old language) above sea level.

Swartberg Pass near Prince Albert

Entering Swartberg Pass


by Dalene Ingham-Brown

There I was, standing on the outskirts of Cape Town’s Greenmarket Square ready to start a solo, month-long backpacking trip along South Africa’s coast. With my 15 kg backpack and BazBus ticket number memorised, I was ready to explore my home country. What I didn’t realise was that I was about to embark on the adventure of a lifetime.

Exploring the Ferkloof Nature reserve in Hermanus

I spent a mellow, two days exploring the Fernkloof Nature Reserve Cliff Path with its dassies, its locals and its view of the angry ocean. I also found time to wine-taste my way through the country cultivars. Creation Wine Farm won me over with their delectable food and wine pairing platter, although the Chardonnay I tasted at Ataraxia was simply too scrumptious to walk away from without a bottle to take with me. READ MORE

Farm stalls, ostrich palaces, impressive museums and steepled churches; award winning distilleries, flocks of sheep and the occasional lonely donkey. Cliff overhangs and grey-green hills. Sun drying fruit, aloe and sisal hedges, big open skies, wispy clouds and the wide-open road. By Dawn Jorgensen.

We don’t need to travel far to encounter the untold attractions that driving the heart of Route 62 offers. Officially running between Cape Town and Port Elizabeth, Route 62 is a welcome alternative to the N2 highway and one of South Africa’s best road trip routes. From Cape Town to Paarl, even including Wellington and Tulbagh at a geographical stretch, it’s the area between Robertson and Oudtshoorn where the route truly comes into itself.

Sparse vegetation and Klein Karoo landscapes, windmills with cement dams, road signs marking accommodations, estates, stalls and attractions all become welcome common play. The town is rich in history, untouched in character and testament to an agricultural economy fuelled by the ever-enduring South African farmer.

Robertson is best known for its wineries, impressive co-operatives, art galleries, delis, restaurants and fine accommodation. Also for their collection of annual events such as the Hand-on Harvest, Whacky Wine Weekend, Robertson Slow and Wine on the River which draw thousands of enthusiastic oenophiles, amateur and other, to the Valley. Bubbly lovers should not pass Graham Beck by! In the area Mo and Rose at Soekershof and the Robertson Small Hotel have stolen the hearts of the treat seekers, with Pat Busch Private Nature Reserve doing the same for nature lovers. For a different perspective take a picnic at Viljoensdrift River Cruise or onboard the Breede River Goose is recommended, as is a meander around the largest hedge maze in the world and exploring the cacti and succulent garden at Sheilan. READ MORE

Route 62 in the Western Cape of South Africa is a scenic drive of about 750km starting in Worcester and ending at the coastal city of Route 62 in the Western CapePort Elizabeth in the Eastern Cape.  The drive is one of the most scenic and takes you through vast expanses of the Klein Karoo plains, past vineyards and over mountains. The road winds through ever changing scenery through a number of quaint villages along one of the longest wine routes in South Africa. If you attempted the journey in one go it would take you roughly nine and a half hours but we strongly recommend you break up your journey and stay over so that you can fully appreciate all there is to see along the way. One place to stop and relax those aching muscles is the Warmwaterberg Spa situated between Barrydale and Ladismith. The natural hot springs found here are an ideal place to take a break from driving. READ MORE