When the cold weather sets in, it’s tempting to go into hibernation mode, but there’s something to be said for road tripping during winter: cheaper accommodation, less crowds and quieter roads.
South Africa is blessed with mild winters and a varied climate – so whether you want a snow-filled adventure or you’re looking for a place warmer than where you’re at, you’re bound to find the perfect destination to suit your tastes.
MotorHappy, a subsidiary of Imperial, is creating the ultimate road trip route around South Africa, using submissions and votes from the public on the Ultimate Journey website (www.ultimatejourney.co.za). With over 1000 locations added and almost 8 000 votes for these locations, South Africa’s dream cross-country road trip route is starting to take shape. Using data from the website, the MotorHappy team highlights some of the best winter road trips in South Africa:
With an average day time winter temperature of between 20 and 25 degrees, a winter holiday on the North or South coast could mean some beach time. On the South Coast, Uvongo, San Lameer and Southbroom are all-time favourites, while on the North Coast, Ballito and Salt Rock are also highly recommended. Drive further north and you will discover Mtunzini, a pristine, “off the beaten track” paradise. This tiny village offers a clean, safe, peaceful and abundant environment… the ideal family road trip destination.
Kruger National Park
Truth be told, a trip to any of the many game reserves in South Africa would be rewarding during winter. The temperature is cooler so the animals are more alert, the vegetation is low and sparse and it’s easier to spot animals. To get to the Kruger from Johannesburg, take the Panorama Route through the Northern Drakensberg where you can experience some of the most breathtaking natural scenery. On your way home from the park, take a detour to Kaapschehoop, a quaint town famous for it’s free-roaming wild horses.
If you’re looking for a snow-capped winter holiday, a trip to Clarens might be your answer. This small, artistic and romantic village is surrounded by the Rooiberg mountains and just a short drive away is the Golden Gate National Park. Luxurious log cabins at the Highlands Mountain Retreat are beautiful and cozy – a warm place to watch the snow falling.
Matroosberg in the Western Cape is often covered in snow during the winter months. Thirty-five kilometres from Ceres, the Matroosberg Peak is the second highest in the province. Besides skiing (yes, skiing!) and playing in the snow, you can also go horse riding, fishing and ziplining with Ceres Zipline Adventures.
Eastern Cape Coastal Route
The Eastern Cape Coastal Route covers the entire length of the Eastern Cape Province and is subdivided into a number of sub-routes, each with their own features and characteristics. The Wild Coast’s mild temperatures are ideal for a warmer winter getaway, while the Amathole Mountains, which stretch from Stutterheim in the west to Adelaide in the east, offer some of the best winter hikes, fishing and mountain biking.
“The options are endless,” says Barend Smit, Marketing Director of MotorHappy. “Spend some time on the Ultimate Journey website and create your own road trip, secure in the knowledge that all of these destinations have been tried, tested and recommended by fellow South Africans.”