Most demonstrators were white, with several old South African flags marking the protest led by Afrikaner rights organisation AfriForum.
In Cape Town, the convoy of vehicles gathered at Kanonkop, Klapmuts near Stellenbosch, headed towards Joostenbergvlakte through to Bellville, Parow, Goodwood, Kensington and Maitland, before ending at Cape Town Stadium where the crowd prayed for an end to the killings.
The murder of farmer Joubert Conradie in Klapmuts last week sparked the march.
The City’s director for safety and security, Richard Bosman, said the organisers were given a permit to stage demonstrations on Sunday, but the number of people gathered yesterday had far exceeded that.
Major traffic congestion was experienced by commuters despite the protesters agreeing not to use the N1.
Deputy convener of the protest Daniel Briers said: “We are saying enough is enough and we are not so much standing against something, but we are standing for the normal person.
“We need to take South Africa back and we are saying enough is enough because it’s not ending here, this is the start.”
Ian Cameron, AfriForum’s head of community safety, spoke in Pretoria where hundreds of protesters had also gathered.
“I think what is very important about today is that we realise that without farmers there is no future in this country.
“No one will eat and no one will be able to have a sustainable living, and have a future to build in this country.
“A farmer has 4.5 times more chance of being murdered in South Africa than an average South African. That means a farmer is three times more likely to be murdered than a police officer in this country.
“So farmers have by far the most dangerous job of all people in this country at the moment. We cannot allow this to continue the way it is.”
Meanwhile, farmworker organisations and workers have distanced themselves from the protests.
Commercial Stevedore Agricultural and Allied Workers Union (CSAAWU) Union organiser Peter Presence said: “This march was one-sided and our members did not wear black after being approached by an employer.
“They asked where was their (farmers) support when a farmer killed a worker in Robertson two years ago, as they rather showed sympathy for the farmer than the victim.”
He asked why there was a great national outcry now when the many atrocities in rural areas against coloured and black farmworkers went seemingly unnoticed.
Women on Farms project director Colette Solomon said she was not surprised that their organisation was not approached by the organisers.
She said there was also an attempt to perpetuate a narrative that does not hold sway when the national statistics show that black people were far more likely to be victims of violent crimes.
Lucinda Evans, Lavender Hill activist and director of NGO Philisa Abafazi Bethu (Heal our Women), said she wore pink instead of black yesterday.
“I am saddened by all the killings not just of farmers, but killings in general and I assist with neighbourhood watches from areas that wish to work with farmers.”
Cosatu condemned all forms of violence on farms and insisted that a black life is as important as a white life, sending condolences to the families subjected to violence on farms and the killings.
“Evictions, assaults and killings of farmworkers contribute to the unsafe and violent environment on farms.
“Cosatu believes these are attacks that take place on farms and not farm attacks, an attempt to politicise the violence.”