R62 road, near Oudtshoorn, Western Cape, South Africa

Do a Self-Drive in South Africa

Many people are surprised to learn that South Africa is safe, trouble-free, and exciting to explore by car. Yes, it’s all true! The country is celebrated for its gorgeous scenic routes that can be safely explored by car or RV. Feast your eyes on South Africa’s stunning natural scenery as you explore African villages and picturesque settler towns, stroll windswept beaches and snow-covered mountain peaks, and tantalize your taste buds at boutique wineries and distilleries.

Taking a photo at Chapman's Peak, South Africa
Taking a photo at Chapman’s Peak

The beauty of a self-drive holiday is that you can stay for as long or as short as you like in each place. Road conditions in South Africa are generally very good, with a solid paved road network spanning the entire 1.2 million square kilometre nation. Major car rental companies offer a full range of cars for you to choose from, as well as fully-equipped motorhomes and tent-equipped 4WD drive vehicles. Car insurance, GPS navigation, and automatic transmission are standard and easy to get, putting your mind at ease while you travel. In South Africa one drives on the left side of the road, yet motorways are easy to navigate, and freeways lead directly out of the cities.

While there are a number of scenic routes around the country and endless treasures to explore, we’ve put together a list of our favourite scenic routes that showcase the very best of South Africa travel:

Chapman’s Peak Drive
Follow awe-inspiring Chapman’s Peak Drive along stunning cliffs on South Africa’s Atlantic Coast. This lovely route winds its way between Noordhoek and Hout Bay along the south-western tip of South Africa. Known as one of the most spectacular marine drives in the world, the 9km route is packed with adventure and exquisite scenery. The drive offers stunning 180° views with many areas along the route where you can stop and enjoy a relaxing picnic.

Chapman’s Peak Drive skirts the rocky coastline of majestic Chapman’s Peak (593m), which makes a great hike for enthusiastic explorers. The route has 114 curves, with sheer drops to the sea below and towering mountains rising ahead. The twists and curves in the road are dramatic and exciting, and the whole experience is a photographers dream. It doesn’t get much better than this!

Vertical drive at Chapman's Peak, South Africa
Vertical drive at Chapman’s Peak

Garden Route
Unlock the secrets of this world-famous route on a self-drive, and explore hidden destinations on along the way. Running from Heidelberg in the Southern Cape to Storms River Village on the Eastern Cape border, the eco-rich Garden Route traverses ancient forests, windswept beaches, gorgeous mountains, fascinating floral kingdoms, and delightful artistic towns. Whales and dolphins frolic along its coastal shores, so be sure to stop for a view from its tranquil beaches.

Oudtshoorn (the ostrich capital of the world) is found along the Garden Route as well as quaint spots including Calitzdorp, Sedgefield, The Wilderness, Knysna and Plettenberg Bay. The Garden Route is conveniently accessible from Cape Town, making it a great addition to a South African safari trip and a must-see part of any South Africa vacation.

garden route False Bay near Table Mountain National Park
False Bay, along the Garden Route

Route 62
Inspired by Route 66 in the USA, Route 62 was created for those looking to follow the road less travelled. Drive east from Cape Town onto the R62 Wine Route and leisurely explore the restaurants, nature reserves and game parks, botanical gardens, adventure sports, and dozens of cultural and historic attractions. Get to know the country and the people en-route and sample unusual wines and hearty regional cuisine. Route 62 is touted as the world’s longest wine route and once you visit some its many wineries you’ll know why.

Within Route 62, you can also tour the Route 62 Brandy Route. Find your favorite tipple along the R62 freeway from Worcester to Oudtshoorn in the Western Cape. You’ll pass through gorgeous mountain ranges, clear rivers, vineyards, and fruit-bearing orchards. The spectacular natural beauty here is complemented by a rich history that is almost palpable. Learn why brandy is a national pastime here, and sample some South African brandies that are considered the best in the world.

Mountain landscape near Oudtshoorn, South Africa
Mountain landscape near Oudtshoorn

Get behind the wheel and set out on your epic South Africa self-drive… adventure awaits!

For more details on Goway’s South Africa itineraries visit our website.

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Kirsty Perring
Kirsty Perring

Africa Experts Product Manager – Although British born and now Toronto based, Kirsty grew up in South Africa and is completely passionate about all things Africa. She finds it hard to choose a favourite destination, but lists Zimbabwe, Zambia, Mozambique, and Botswana as some of the most special places she has visited, and feels it’s not just about where you go and what you see, but who you get to experience it with. Kirsty is always up for an adventure and will try anything once. As such, she has para-glided in South Africa, zip lined in Mauritius, dived the Red Sea, hot air ballooned in Egypt, and even swam in the Okavango Delta. Next on Kirsty’s bucket list is to climb Kilimanjaro!

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