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The Scenic Routes For Memorable Road Trips in The Western Cape
From stunning seaside views to miles and miles of Game of Thrones-esque mountainous landscape, the Western Cape is always picture perfect on a road trip.
The joy of a road trip is not just in the pleasure of the open road ahead. It’s also in the majesty of the scenery and the thrill of discovering little towns, rivers, fauna and flora along the way. Below are just a few of the scenic routes you might like to add to your future travel itinerary.
This mountain pass, a World Heritage Site, meanders through the Groot Swartberg Nature Reserve and connects Prince Albert with Oudtshoorn. Expect to see views of the Great Karoo as well as colossal rock formations.
Look out for: Picnic spots at the top of the pass and snow in the winter months.
The scenic alternative to the N2 highway when traveling through the Western Cape to Port Elizabeth, the route is an experience in own right. Route 62 passes through Worcester and Oudtshoorn, with wineries, game reserves and cultural experiences along the way. There are great accommodation options too, like the Karoo Moon Motel in Barrydale with interesting vintage decor.
Look out for: Ronnie’s Sex Shop, dubbed the oddest pub in Africa.
Meandering along the Hottentots Holland Mountains, with spectacular views across False Bay, this scenic part of this route starts in Somerset West and winds along the east coast, past Gordon’s Bay, Rooi Els, Betty’s Bay and Kleinmond, with the stretch between Gordon’s Bay and Rooi Els the most breathtaking.
Look out for: Bikini Beach Books in Gordon’s Bay, it’s a rare gem with plenty of fascinating finds on their packed shelves.
A thoroughly modern pass that connects George near the coast to Oudtshoorn in the Little Karoo, the piece of road offers sweeping views of a stunning part of the Western Cape. There are a few stops from where the view of George, the Indian Ocean and the four other passes in the area, in near perfect.
Look out for: The Cango Caves at the Swartberg Mountains, about 30km from Oudtshoorn.
At the time of construction in the 1850s, Bainskloof Pass was an engineering masterpiece. Today this road, which runs between Wellington and Ceres, is a National Monument and a magnificent one at that with unsurpassed vistas.
Look out for: Camping sites like Tweede Tol in Worcester or hiking trails up the Limietberg Mountain.
This rugged mountain pass was built in the late 1800s and connects Barrydale to Swellendam and follows the same path that runs parallel to the Tradouw River. There are great hiking trails along the way.
Look out for: Flowers during the spring season, waterfalls during winter and natural swimming pools in summer.
The name of this scenic mountain pass can be translated as “hold corner”, which references the need to hold back – or slow down – the ox wagons as they negotiating the steep descent down the pass back in the day. It’s a beautiful stretch of road, with views of farmlands and grazing sheep – a real countryside paradise.
Look out for: The canola fields that flower in the spring months looks like a sea of sunshine!
A popular route for wine farm hopping and slow Sunday drives, it overlooks the picture-perfect Franschhoek Valley. With plenty of cafes and farms to visit, the destination will be just as pleasing as the journey.
Look out for: The Franschhoek Motor Museum has a collection of vintage cars from the last 100 years, so a must visit for automobile admirers.
Undoubtedly one of the most scenic drives in the world – not just Cape Town! – with views that will have you gasping for breath. If you’re lucky, you might spot whales from one of the viewing points.
Look out for: The Lookout Cave on Chapmans Peak is a great spot to catch the sunset.
VICTORIA ROAD / 12 APOSTLES
Unrivalled views of the vast Atlantic Ocean is what you can expect along this stretch of road between Sea Point and Hout Bay. Enjoy the freshest fish and the tastiest chips at the harbour in Hout Bay.
Look out for: Fish on the Rocks at the old Naval Heritage site in Hout Bay. This seafood restaurant is over 30 years old and is always buzzing with activity.
This route around the Muizenberg Mountain runs above Muizenberg and Kalk Bay. You’ll spot surfers in the distance or, as you drive towards Kalk Bay harbour, a Southern Right whale or great white shark in the distance.
Look out for: Rogue baboons that live in the Muizenberg and Cape Point mountains.
Compiled by Razaan Kamish
Perfect halfway stop on your Cape Town to Plett trip? And farm-style getaway, boutique wedding or big group stay with some unique experiences to boot. Have a look at Rotterdam Guest Farm in Swellendam.
Rediscover the Garden Route with Xplore Tours Cape Town.
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