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For the grand route you should set aside about four months' time. It is essential to the planning to pick the most favourable time of the year and accordingly the right airports for the starting point and the end-point of the tour. For this reason, we begin early in February in Cape Town. At this time it is still summer and one can enjoy the stunning beaches of the Cape. In the area of Paarl and Stellenbosch, the grape harvest is about to start.

From there the route goes along the popular Garden Route, where quite stable weather can still be expected. Near Port Elizabeth, one can turn inland to experience, near Graaff-Reinet and in the Karoo National Park, the expanse of the Karoo semi-desert. By now it is the beginning or middle of March, and the inland is not too hot anymore. We carry on along the coast through the former Transkei to Durban. Here, at the coast of KwaZulu Natal, the weather is still ideal for swimming. But it is also possible by now to visit the beautiful game reserves of Natal, because the rainy season is coming to an end. The animals frequent the waterholes to drink and can be watched quite easily. From here, the route leads into the Drakensberg, where the weather has now (end of April, beginning of May) become autumn-like and well suited for some wonderful mountain-hiking. Next points on the program are visits to Johannesburg and Pretoria, after which it takes you to the Panorama Route and the Drakensberg of Mpumalanga. Here the end of the rainy season is also noticeable. The view of the wide expanse of the Lowveld is not obstructed by rainclouds any longer. The impending start of winter is ideal for a visit to the Kruger National Park. The trees have lost their leaves, the animals are easy to observe at the waterholes, and the climate is altogether very pleasant. After the visit to the Kruger Park, the gamblers' paradise of Sun City offers an interesting contrast. Then the journey goes through the desert-like north of the country. Here the temperatures are always pleasant in winter, with warm and sunny days and cool nights. Conditions are excellent to explore the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park in the Kalahari. From there the route leads via Springbok and Port Nolloth to the Richtersveld National Park (4WD required for the park). To return to Cape Town, one now gets to Clanwilliam and the Cedarberg Mountains and drives, from Lambert's Bay on, along the West Coast. For this part of the trip, however, the best time only starts late in August, in spring, when the west of the country has the wild flower season and at the Cape the infinitely diverse fynbos vegetation starts blooming.

An Alternative:
A route plan which is even better suited for the time of the year takes Cape Town as the starting and Windhoek (Namibia) as the final point of the journey. Then one can, on the drive from Cape Town up the West Coast, go for a side-trip into the Cedarberg Mountains and at the end come through the south of Namibia, where there are ideal climate conditions in spring.

(The kilometres were calculated according to different maps and then rounded. They are street kilometres. All the roads on this route are tarred with the exception of the following legs: "Kuruman - Twee Rivieren", "Port Nolloth - Richtersveld N.P." and "Port Nolloth - Hondeklip Bay".)

Cape Town - Cape Peninsula (Cape Point) = 60 km
Cape Peninsula - Cape Town = 60 km
Cape Town - Paarl = 60 km
Paarl - Stellenbosch - Franschhoek = 70 km
Franschhoek - Mossel Bay = 340 km
Mossel Bay - Oudtshoorn = 80 km
Oudtshoorn - Wilderness - Knysna =120 km
Knysna - Port Elisabeth = 280 km
P. Elizabeth - Addo N.P. - Graaff-Reinet = 270 km
Graaff-Reinet - Karoo N.P. = 200 km
Karoo N.P. - Graaff-Reinet - P. Elizabeth = 470 km
Port Elizabeth - East London - Umtata = 550 km
Umtata - Coffee Bay = 90 km
Coffee Bay - Umtata = 90 km
Umtata - South Coast - Pietermaritzburg = 380 km
Pietermaritzburg - Durban = 80 km
Durban - Eshowe = 100 km
Eshowe - Ulundi = 100 km
Ulundi - Umfolozi G.R. = 70 km
Umfolozi - St. Lucia G.R. =80 km
St. Lucia G.R. - Mkuzi G.R. =130 km
Mkuzi - Vryheid - Blood River = 200 km
Blood River - Giant's Castle G.R. = 220 km
Giant's Caste - Royal Natal N.P. = 160 km
Royal Natal N.P. - Golden Gate N.P. = 140 km
Golden Gate N.P. - Bloemfontein = 310 km
Bloemfontein - Verwoerd Dam = 170 km
Verwoerd Dam - Bloemfontein = 170 km
Bloemfontein - Johannesburg = 400 km
Johannesburg - Pretoria = 60 km
Pretoria - Blyde River Canyon = 390 km
Blyde River Canyon - Kruger N.P. = 180 km
Paul Kruger Gate - Punda Maria Gate = 350 km
Punda Maria Gate - Sun City = 580 km
Sun City - Vryburg - Kimberley = 530 km
Kimberley - Kuruman = 240 km
Kuruman - Twee Rivieren = 400 km
Twee Revieren - Upington = 280 km
Upington - Augrabies Falls N.P. = 130 km
Augrabies N.P. - Springbok = 310 km
Springbok - Port Nolloth = 140 km
Port Nolloth - Richtersveld N.P. = 120 km
Richtersveld N.P. - Port Nolloth = 120 km
Port Nolloth - Hondeklip Bay = 160 km
Hondeklip Bay - Clanwilliam = 360 km
Clanwilliam - Lambert's Bay = 70 km
Lambert' Bay - West Coast N.P. = 180 km
West Coast N.P. - Cape Town = 80 km

Travel routes in Southern Africa for different seasons

Depending on the season, different travel routes are favourable for travelling within South Africa. We have put some very interesting itineraries together for you. The time required for each of them amounts to three or four weeks. If you don't have that much time, it is recommended to choose a part of an itinerary, instead of "doing" the country in a rush.

Find detailed information on the different sections of the routes and accommodation along the routes in the
Travel Routes Menu

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