Top 5 winter routes in South Africa

Winona Griggs

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Discover the Best Winter Routes in South Africa

When winter arrives, many people like to stay inside, wrapped in blankets, with a delicious glass of red wine, and watch movies for hours. Heading out on a road trip in Southern Africa’s breathtaking destinations during the cold months might not seem as enticing as it does in the warm summer. However, there are some great reasons to consider traveling in winter: you’ll find cheaper accommodations, winter specials, less crowded destinations, and cozy cabins with crackling log fires and hearty comfort food.

Let me share with you my top 5 self-drive destinations for a winter adventure in South Africa:

1. Coastal Route

The Eastern Cape is famous for its beautiful beaches, safe parks and reserves, fascinating wildlife, and rich heritage and culture. It has something for everyone, from thrilling adventure sports to peaceful nature trails, historical museums, and stunning game reserves.

Top 5 winter routes in South Africa

Hey there! I want to share some fantastic information with you about the Coastal Route in the Eastern Cape Province. This route is absolutely stunning, covering the entire length of the province. You’ll get to explore different districts and experience the breathtaking beauty of the Wild Coast.

If you love mild temperatures and incredible scenery, winter is the perfect time to visit the Wild Coast. It’s absolutely magical during these months! There are so many exciting activities to enjoy, like winter hikes, horse trails, fly-fishing, and mountain biking. And that’s not all!

Have you ever heard of the Amathole Mountains? They are incredible too! Stretching from Stutterheim in the west all the way to Adelaide in the east, these mountains offer even more adventure and excitement. Whether you’re into hiking, horse riding, or simply enjoying the breathtaking views, the Amathole Mountains have it all.

2. Maloti Drakensberg Route

In the Kingdom of Lesotho, you can find the awe-inspiring Maloti Mountains. These mountains are home to the highest peak in Southern Africa, and in fact, it’s the highest peak in all of Africa south of the Kilimanjaro! The Maloti Mountains also hold something truly special – some of the oldest rock paintings in Southern Africa. Can you believe that these paintings date back a staggering 27,000 years?

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When you look at these paintings, it’s hard not to be amazed by their sophistication. The level of detail is truly remarkable, and the meaning behind them runs deep. The artists used animal images as a way to symbolize something greater. They transformed the caves and rock overhangs in the range into beautiful canvases, capturing their stories for generations to come.

Top 5 winter routes in South Africa

Hey, check out this cool photo by Shane Quinnell!

Guess what? If you’re planning a trip, I’ve got a fantastic suggestion for you. How about exploring this amazing route? You’ll love it! Trust me, it’s one of the best things you can do.

So, what can you expect on this route? Well, let me tell you, there’s so much to do and see. When the snow hasn’t covered the mountaintops, you can go on some breathtaking hikes. Imagine being surrounded by majestic mountains, feeling like you’re on top of the world! It’s a truly unforgettable experience.

And if you’re into fishing, you’re in for a treat. This place is a paradise for fly-fishing enthusiasts. Get ready to catch some incredible trout in some of the purest and most untouched locations in the entire country. You won’t believe how pristine and unspoiled it is.

Oh, and one more thing. Don’t forget to bring your passport! You never know what kind of adventure awaits you on this fantastic route. So get ready to pack your bags, and let the journey begin!

Top 5 winter routes in South Africa

As I sit here, carefully securing a hook in a vice, I begin the meticulous process of tying a fly. It’s a delicate craft that requires attention to detail and precision. I focus on each knot, ensuring they are tight and secure. It’s a labor of love, but one that brings great satisfaction.

3. Clarens Route

Just a comfortable three-hour journey from Johannesburg, nestled in the embrace of the majestic Maluti Mountain range, lies the quaint village of Clarens. This little gem, fondly known as “The Jewel of the Free State,” offers a picturesque escape from the hustle and bustle of city life. Surrounded by fertile farmlands and breathtaking landscapes, with the mountain kingdom of Lesotho visible in the distance, Clarens is a true haven for nature lovers and adventurers alike.

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When you visit Clarens, make sure to explore the nearby Golden Gate Highlands National Park. This extraordinary park is named for its remarkable sandstone cliffs, which shimmer with a golden hue under the setting sun. It’s a sight that will take your breath away and leave you awestruck. In this park, you can immerse yourself in the wonders of nature, wandering through trails, marveling at the wildlife, and connecting with the beauty of the natural world.

Top 5 winter routes in South Africa

Let me tell you about Clarens. It’s a place that artists, nature lovers, and anyone seeking peace and quiet absolutely adore. It’s no wonder why people from both South Africa and abroad come here to get away from it all. The beauty of the surroundings is truly stunning.

When you visit Clarens, the options for outdoor activities are endless. You can go bird-watching, take a hike on one of the many trails, go horseback riding, or even try out some off-roading. If you enjoy fishing, there are spots where you can catch trout and bass. And if you’re into sports, you can play golf, tennis, squash, bowls, or even try your hand at clay pigeon shooting.

Now, I know it can get pretty cold in Clarens during the winter, but let me tell you, the sun shines bright and warms you up during the day. Plus, the views you’ll see are something out of a dream. Imagine cozying up in a log cabin with a crackling fire and a warm blanket. Sounds amazing, right? So, trust me when I say that a trip to Clarens is a must.

Now, let me talk about the Elephant Coast Route. If you’re a fan of sunshine and warmer weather, this is the place for you. It’s located along the KwaZulu-Natal coastline, and the climate here is just perfect.

When you visit the Elephant Coast Route, you’ll experience the joy of winter sunshine. The temperature is just right, and you’ll be able to soak up some rays while exploring the area. Trust me, it’s a wonderful feeling.

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Top 5 winter routes in South Africa

The route I’m talking about stretches all the way from St Lucia in the south to Kosi Bay in the north. It also includes the Lubombo Mountains in the west and the amazing Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Game Reserve. This may seem like a small area, but let me tell you, it’s home to some incredible wildlife. I’m talking about the famous Big Five, and that’s not all. It’s also a place where you can see whales, turtles, and experience the beauty of protected reefs and pristine coastline. This area is known for its commitment to conservation and preserving its untamed wilderness.

What makes this place even more special is the diversity of habitats and ecosystems. They are all interconnected, creating an environment where you’ll never run out of things to see and do. Whether you’re interested in exploring the wetlands or venturing into the wilderness, this route has got it all.

Now, let’s talk about the weather. Winters here are never too cold. In fact, the temperature rarely drops below 17°C during the day. But don’t let that fool you. It’s still a good idea to bring a warm jacket for those early morning or evening game drives.

5. Rixile Culture to Kruger Route

If you’ve ever traveled through Limpopo, you know a few things for sure: its beauty is unmatched in South Africa, the weather is warm all year long, and you can get incredible deals on dried mango strips and macadamia nuts!

Top 5 winter routes in South Africa

But there’s more to this beautiful province than just delicious local food. As I drive along the Rixile Culture to Kruger Route, I pass through the towns of Phalaborwa and Giyani and discover that there is so much to enjoy in these ancient lands.

Winter is an amazing time to see wildlife in Kruger National Park. The grass is low, and there isn’t much water, so the animals gather in large numbers. From star gazing and hiking trails to river safaris on the Olifants River, followed by a fantastic South African braai (barbeque) on the riverbank, the experiences here are truly unforgettable.

Pictures: Getaway Gallery

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