The road from Johannesburg to Cape Town is pretty long: just over 1200 km’s to be exact. If you’re planning to get from one city to the next by car, here’s a route for you to take, with some stops along the way to make it a full road-trip experience.You’ve got two options: Either go through the Northern Cape, or Eastern Cape. If you chose the former, you’ll get to see The Big Hole en route — this is something I have yet to do. So, Eastern Cape it is. Your journey will take you from Gauteng to Bloemfontein, then the Eastern Cape and finally the Western Cape. My recommendations are that you plan your trip over full days, starting at a bright & early 6am on Day 1.
The first couple of hours is pretty much you & the road. The first point of interest is actually along the highway, so lookout for the bright Kroonstad sunflowers and you’ll know you’re on track.
Stop over at the Gariep Dam, where you’ll see a stretch of landscape like no other in SA. Its also probably the last time you’ll see this much water for a long time, thanks to the current water crisis.If you’d like to stop over in a small town to stretch your legs or grab a bite to eat, make your final stop of the day in Colesburg.
The Stop-Over: We spent the night in Steynsberg and I highly recommend you do the same. A mere 150 km off track, you’ll get to stay in the most incredible stone cottage (Hillmoor Manor) on a farm in the karoo. The expansive, beautifully decorated haven will be all yours (and your back-seat drivers, of course). I had never seen the sky gleaming with so many stars before (not even in the desert). Make a bon-fire outside and enjoy views of the Milky Way above. In fact, if you can, stay here for longer! I booked through Airbnb using a discount.
Day 2 is full of stops and adventures, so begin this one early too. *Plan ahead if you’d like to switch things up and take a detour to see the Three Sisters.
Another small town stop you visit is Beaufort West, the famous ‘halfway’ destination. Next, stop at Die Spinwiel antique shop. Here, you can browse in-store and pay R10 to see the backyard, which looks like you’ve landed yourself on set, among vintage signage.
Just before you reach the Mother City, stop over at The Karoo National Botanical Gardens, where you can see the last of what the Karoo has to offer on this trip: dessert flowers.