THE ULTIMATE SOUTH AFRICAN ROAD TRIP
Hey everyone. We are Bevan and Jill from Durban, South Africa. In 2016 we packed up our lives and headed off on our biggest adventure yet: The Ultimate South African Road Trip.
We spent 9 months visiting almost all 9 provinces of South Africa on a route that was roughly 9000 kilometres long, with 1 big mission: to find the very best that South Africa has to offer and document it right here on our blog Stray Along the Way
Together with our 4x4 Thomas we got to grips with the wildlife in KZN, searched for ghosts and gold in Mpumalanga, explored Venda culture in Limpopo, breathed in the Free State's mountain air, lived in a forest in the Eastern Cape, discovered a glowing ocean in Cape Town, drank Rooibos on the West Coast, searched for sunken treasure on the Wild Coast... and that's just scratching the surface!
South Africa is an incredible country. We believe it should be on everybody's bucket list, so we've documented our entire trip right here to show you why.
A little bit more about our trip
Nine months sounds like long enough to explore South Africa, right? At least, that’s what we thought when we set out. We quickly worked out though that with so much to offer, exploring South Africa could have kept us busy for far longer! We’ll say it again – South Africa is an incredible country and the diversity of landscapes, cultures and experiences is just mind-blowing. Armed with our list of places to visit ‘next time’, this definitely won’t be our last South African trip.
So how do you prepare for a nine month road trip? For us, that came down to what we could fit inside Thomas! The surfing and snorkelling equipment was non-negotiable (we are big beach people), and camping gear obviously a necessity. The rest we squeezed into whatever extra space we had available. Apart from a new cooker head for our gas bottle (the old one had become blocked by rust), there was nothing that we had forgotten or that we felt like we did without. At times living out of a bag became a little boring but it was refreshing to not be weighed down by stuff.
Would we do it again? Absolutely! Being on the road like that taught us a lot of life lessons – about ourselves, about each other, about what is important in life and of course, about South Africa. It was our chance to do life a little differently, and a culmination of a lifelong love affair with South Africa.
Where have we been?
Click on the map markers below to read about the places we visited during our trip.
We set out for this trip in our 21 year-old 4x4 called Thomas. Technically Thomas is a ’95 Suzuki Vitara 1.6 JLX with a G16B engine. But in reality, Thomas is a beast! Thomas can do anything, and we hoped that getting us around South Africa was one of those things.
Thomas can handle a tar road but like us, he is designed for adventure. We did our best to let him stretch his legs offroad as much as possible and with the route that we planned through South Africa, that wasn't difficult! Where long sections of tar were unavoidable, we spiced them up with a scenic mountain climb up Long Tom Pass, the 133 m long JG Strijdom Tunnel on Abel Erasmus Pass or cliff-hanging experiences on Ou Kaapse Weg and Chapman's Peak. And let's not forget the hairpin bends of the Swartberg Pass in the Little Karoo with the evening sun turning the tortured geology blood red.