My next episode is about a 1400 km road trip from Johannesburg to Orange River and Cape Town. Road trips are always fun. You can enjoy a long journey in the comfort of your own vehicle, at your own pace and you can stop anywhere you like along the way. In Episode 05 of Season 05, we go on a long journey from Johannesburg to Cape Town. The distance between these two major South African cities is just over 1400 kilometres. If you consider the cost of fuel nowadays and the time that it takes to cover this distance by car, it is no wonder that flying is a much more popular option. However, experiencing the drive remains a must-do if the opportunity presents itself.
The road is good and usually, there isn’t heavy traffic, but people still need to be vigilant as it is mostly just a single-lane road. Halfway between the two cities just off the N1 Highway is Gariepdam, an excellent pitstop to spend the night and gather some energy for the second half of your journey. There are multiple hotels and lodges in the area. One such lodge is Waschbank River Lodge. It offers spacious rooms with a large private barbecue area, a restaurant with a deck overlooking the Orange River, an infinity swimming pool overlooking the river, and incredible sunset views.
In the second half of this 1400 km road trip, we moved further away from civilization with every kilometre. Before you know it, you are driving through the Karoo. A semi-desert that covers an area of 750 square kilometres.
As we got closer to Cape Town, we decided to spend a few nights in Franschhoek, a small town known for its wine production. Its centuries-old vineyards and Cape Dutch architecture provide a sense of tranquillity. On this 1400 km road trip we took the Franschhoek Pass which offers stunning scenery and amazing panoramic views of the Franschhoek Valley. Bo La Motte Farm is an excellent accommodation option in the region. The cottages are stunning with amazing views.
Only a 30min drive from Franschhoek is Babylonstoren, one of the oldest Cape Dutch farms. A Cape wine experience will not get better than this and a full day is needed to explore everything that the farm has to offer. The on-site restaurant and farm stores offer excellent service and fresh farm products. Everything is grown and produced on the farm, from your fruits to the cheeses, milk, and meat. A guided tour of the gardens is very much recommended, even for people who do not necessarily find gardening all that appealing, such as myself. On the farm you can see how they produce anything from soaps to wine and bottled water and of course you can purchase these as well.
…After spending the day exploring, one can relax and end off with some wine tasting.
An hour and thirty minutes North of Cape Town is Langebaan, best known for its oysters and turquoise lagoon. In Langebaan is ‘Die Strandloper’, a rustic restaurant on the beach that offers a 10-course food bonanza, all prepared on fire in front of your eyes. You can bring your own drinks without a corkage charge. The menu includes curries, different sorts of fresh fish and crayfish, all accompanied by freshly baked bread. And when we say ‘rustic’, we mean so rustic that your utensils are muscle shells. A fun atmosphere and delicious food – a worthy experience!
After already seeing and experiencing so much, we finally reached our main destination – Cape Town. All visits to the Mother City start at the V&A Waterfront, the oldest working harbour in South Africa with stunning views of the iconic Table Mountain in the backdrop. A stroll through the Bo Kaap suburb is a great way to acquaint yourself with the local Cape Malay culture, try the cuisine or simply enjoy the bright pastel houses.
The Cape of Good Hope is the most South-Western point of the African continent and is also the place where the Indian and Atlantic oceans meet. Weather permitting, you can see a foam line where this occurs. Make sure to keep your valuables close as there are wild baboons in the area and DO NOT try to get too close for a selfie, they are sometimes grumpy. On your return to Cape Town from the Cape of Good Hope, there are some fun pitstops to make along the way. One such popular pitstop is Boulders Beach, best known for its wild penguin colonies. That’s right, these clumsy little birds are not locked away or restricted in any way. This is their natural home.
Another fun pitstop is the Hout Bay harbour, where you can meet the local Elephant Seals. Like the penguins in Boulders Beach, these large mammals are wild and happen to enjoy the harbour and its surroundings. If you happen to enjoy beautiful sunsets, be sure to do the Chapmans Peak drive. It is a landmark coastal road featuring breathtaking views, picnic areas, as well as hiking trails. Be sure to keep your eyes on the winy road and be on the lookout for baboons, as they are commonly seen all throughout the Western Cape and are not known to adhere to the rules of the road.
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