people hands map point: south african road trip planner

The road ahead is a wide, open expanse of opportunity, all we need to do is pick a direction. Planning a road trip is such a fun activity, it almost feels like a part of the journey. 

But to get our ultimate trip planned, we need some careful thinking, decisions need to be made, and the snacks need to be just right. All of this might be a mountain in front of you, but in short order, we will help you sort out all the details. The next thing you will see is the hill in your rearview mirror.

And not to worry if the transport has you bummed, there are affordable rental car options that will have you on the road in no time. So strap on your seatbelt for the best South African road trip planner you never knew you needed. 

road nature clouds wellington south africa: road trip planner

Planning The Ultimate Road Trip: What Should You Look Out For? 

Choosing your route is sort of like asking yourself: what do I like? It all depends on what the goals for your trip are:

  • You might be planning a scenic route, with lots to look at for the kids. The Garden Route on the East Coast might be the perfect place to take them.
  • Perhaps you want to do multiple little stops along the way, to see the surroundings and do some local activities and sightseeing. There are a multitude of small little shops, hidden gems that might make awesome pit stops. 
  • Better yet, you possibly have a specific place in mind, but your journey is as long or as short as you feel like, very adaptable. Thus you go with the flow, keeping in mind your ultimate destination. 
  • Lastly, you may be thinking of specific things or activities you would like to do on the way, and whatever route includes that is fine. This can be anything from playing “spot the animal” with the kids, to 

Setting a specific goal for your road trip, planning the route, and completing a safety check are great ways to ensure it is a success. Try to always keep in mind the journey is as important as the destination, it sets the mood for your whole trip. A good tip is to always keep a little notebook and pen nearby. 

Keep track of your thoughts or plans and when you return home you can make a fun road trip scrapbook out of them. Taking notes and jotting down your thoughts is a good way to keep things organised while on the road. We recommend you make this part of the road trip planning process.

notepad pen notes: south africa road trip planner

Got Your Western Cape Road Map? Let’s Go!

Another great tool to have on hand is a map of the general area you plan to visit. An area map is essential, especially for the spur of the moment trips and spontaneous decisions. If you happen to find yourself in the Western Cape area, this handy map will be super helpful.

It shows all the main highways, as well as breaking things down into more manageable sections and areas. This way you can easily plan your route, as well as take into account the general surroundings because a detour is always on the table.

Your Western Cape road map will be super helpful in planning the best road trip. Plus, if you include the kids in the planning, they might even give a few helpful suggestions. Family bonding and planning your trip all in one, now that’s some serious multitasking.

The Best Routes to Road Trip in South Africa

Choosing a route is a little bit like taking a gamble, especially on South African roads. Knowing ahead of time what your journey will more or less look like, will help you to choose the best routes to avoid any unnecessary delays.

Things like roadblocks and roadworks, taking the pass vs. an alternative route, and even normal traffic and congestion will all affect your travels. Planning your route with up-to-date traffic information will save a lot of time (and a headache).

Perhaps taking a different route to avoid obstacles can give you an awesome photography opportunity. We live in an absolutely beautiful country, sometimes it’s a good idea to stop, take a breather and stretch your legs. The kids will enjoy these breaks, as a toddler’s first road trip can be tough for them.

road block stop dust tractor: south africa road trip planner

East Coast Drive: The Long Road to Durban

The East Coast is home to the Garden Route and the warmer waters of the Indian Ocean. This beautiful side of our country is lush with scenic drives that are sure to wow you and the kids. Driving along the coastal roads can immediately put you in a holiday mindset. 

It is genuinely tough to stay on the road, and not just pull over to enjoy the surroundings. While this is a peaceful drive, there can be some roadworks, so be on the lookout for these on your travels. The N2 begins in Cape Town and runs to Durban and finally ends at Ermelo. Fun Fact: This is also the longest numbered road in South Africa at a staggering 2 255 Km in length!

Places To Stop On The Way To Durban

Durban, the cultural hub of South Africa, is a fantastic destination for any holiday plan. While you might enjoy uShaka Marine World, the Comrades marathon, or cruising the Golden Mile, the road to Durban is just as exciting and fun.

We have put together a list of places to stop on the way to Durban that we hope will tickle your fancy:

  • Beaches, beaches, beaches! All along the coast, there are some fantastic beach towns to add to your stops, including Pringle Bay, Pearly Beach, Still Bay and many more.
  • Another set of cities to add to the list are Mossel Bay and George. They have all the hustle and bustle of a big city, with the charm of the coast. 
  • If you have some time for a detour, making your way to Oudtshoorn is recommended. The Cango Caves, Crocodile Park, and the town itself are a great break from the big city adventure 
  • Knysna and the Garden Route is another part of this beautiful journey. The natural beauty on display here will surely put some pep in your step. 
  • Last but not least, we have Addo Elephant Park. A knockout with kids and adults alike, you’ll enjoy your trunked adventure spending some time with these gentle giants. 

elephants nature walk babies south africa road trip planner

Road Trip Check: Ready to Go?

With your trip planned and ready, the time has come to pack and prepare the family. Here are some top tips for packing the car and having a safe trip with the kids.

The road awaits, are you ready to go?