South Africa is like one big beauty spot at the bottom of the African continent; it’s filled with flippen beautiful places with endless opportunities to take some flippen lekker trips in and around South Africa.
So let’s jump in, here are 11 flippen lekker trips you can take in South Africa. And there is a whole lot more where these 11 trips came from. As a matter of fact, these 11 trips are just a teeny tiny – tinier than tiny – drop in the South African travel bucket of some of my favourite destinations/areas/regions for a road trip.
11 FLIPPEN LEKKER trips to take in South Africa
1. Experience the countryside and visit the Langkloof
Just behind the towering Tsitsikamma Mountains lies the Langkloof, the fruit route of South Africa where apples and pears shout sweet promises from the road while proteas – in all shapes and sizes – colours the valley’s fynbos face with dots of pink and white.
The Langkloof is a stretch of more than 160 km and includes towns like Joubertina, Twee Riviere, Louterwater, Misgund and Kareedouw. Here in the Langkloof farm retreats are ready to welcome you with 4×4 trails, hiking opportunities and abseiling. And of course, the Langkloof also forms part of Route 62, the longest wine route in the world. Stop at Joub’s in Jourbertina for a bite to eat and hop in next door where a massive wine collection is just waiting to make it into your shopping basket.
The area is known for its numerous farm stalls and unique restaurants like the Belfry Kitchen, where a four-course meal – that will send your tastebuds to heaven – is just R89. How is this possible you wonder? They say, “the centerpiece of this inflation-free marvel is the own production of virtually all ingredients and foodstuffs through simple, family-based, homesteading practices.”
You will find that the majority of the Langkloof’s accommodation is on guest farms.
Here’s something to help you plan your FLIPPEN LEKKER trip: Let’s talk about the Langkloof.
2. Road trip the Panorama Route
The Panorama Route is a stretch of postcard-perfect-picture upon postcard-perfect–picture. The Lowveld roads wind through spectacular views, impressive waterfalls and a dramatic terrain along the Mpumalanga escarpment and most visitors consider Graskop and a stop at Harrie’s Pancakes as the gateway to the Panorama Route.
Close to Graskop, there is also Hazyview where you can enjoy an array of adventure activities such as river rafting and abseiling. Between Graskop and the impressive Blyde River Canyon you’ll find the Berlin Falls and Lisbon Falls, but then there is also the Mac Mac Falls and for a picnic and quick swim in the cold mountain water you can stop at the Mac Mac Pools. Be wowed by an almighty view from God’s Window and stop at the Bourke’s Luck Potholes that were formed over many years by swirling whirlpools. The Blyde River Canyon and its three Rondawels are probably one of the biggest highlights of the Panorama Route – and South Africa – in terms of scenery. If you want to take a step back in time, visit the old gold-mining town in Pilgrim’s Rest. And whatever you do, remember to buy Macadamia nuts!
3. Explore the Garden Route
The Garden Route is famous, on many local and foreign travellers’ bucket lists and with good reason; it’s simply everything you want in a holiday offering beaches, shopping opportunities, farmers’ markets as well as serene nature activities. For a variety of accommodation options and nature-based activities, visit the SANParks Garden Route trio in Wilderness, Natures Valley or Storms River Mouth. Families with children will enjoy the lively atmosphere of Hartenbos, Mossel Bay and Plettenberg Bay, while the ‘slow town’ Sedgefield or the seven passes’ hidden treasures should not be overlooked. Don’t rush through the Garden Route and don’t forget to venture off the main roads, you’ll be surprised how long a stretch of just over 200 km can keep you busy.
4. Go to Hell into Gamkaskloof
There’s only one place in the world where you can say “I’m going to hell” with a smile on your face and that’s in the region of the Swartberg Mountains, close to Oudtshoorn and Prince Albert. Gamkaskloof – fondly known as ‘Die Hel’ – is a narrow isolated valley that has become a rite of passage for off-road enthusiasts; whether you are doing it on two wheels or four wheels. The 37 km road will take more than 2 hours to complete (that’s if you show some compassion towards your tyres) and it snakes down through rugged mountain scenery and hairpin bend after hairpin bend before it ends in Gamkaskloof where you’ll find no signal, no electricity, no ATMs, no petrol pumps and no modern day amenities. If you’ve been looking for a digital detox, this place is your answer. It is recommended to stay over at least for one night (there are camping sites as well as cottages and a restaurant).
Here’s something to help you plan your FLIPPEN LEKKER trip: Gamkaskloof, going off the grid.
5. Put your difflock on and venture into Baviaanskloof
If you have a vehicle that won’t moan and groan too much going off-road, then head to Baviaanskloof – one of the Eastern Cape’s seven wonders – where you will be surrounded by an unspoilt wilderness of narrowing gorges, wildlife, streams and spectacular landscapes. You can enter the valley from Willowmore’s side or from Patensie; the Baviaanskloof is just under 200 km, but don’t fool yourself and think it’s a quick two hour drive… the road can take up to 8 hours, and besides, why rush when nature offers you so much beauty on a plate?
Staying over in the Baviaanskloof Nature Reserve is highly recommended; there are camp sites, high-end lodges, guest farms, cottages and, if you really want to stay in a unique place, try the accommodation in the Makkedaat cave or stay in the Speekhout treehouse.
Here’s something to help you plan your FLIPPEN LEKKER trip: Diesel and Dust in Baviaanskloof.
6. Seek tranquility at De Hoop Nature Reserve
Situated in the Overberg, De Hoop, is where a heaven and earth of fynbos and unspoiled coastal beauty meet. The tranquil reserve is a 3-hour drive from Cape Town and this all-in-one destination offers luxury accommodation as well as more affordable options with hiking trails, river cruises, mountain bike trails, game drives, quad biking, beach and interpretive marine walks, a restaurant, swimming pool, land-based whale watching and spa facilities. Don’t miss out on the charm of the Overberg’s small towns like Stanford, Kleinbaai and Gansbaai.
7. Go wild on the Wild Coast
Wave Margate adieu and explore the raw beauty of the Wild Coast. The cultural tapestry and hilly coastal diversity can only be described as magical; from Port Edward, to the blowhole of Port St Johns to the iconic Hole in the Wall of Coffee Bay. Get ready to surf, hike, swim, learn more about Xhosa culture or you can explore the area on horseback while resting your head at the eco-friendly lodges or budget-friendly spots like Coffee Shack Backpackers. Don’t miss out on the chance to make a pit stop in Mthatha, the Nelson Mandela Museum is worth a visit! Due to the road conditions of the Wild Coast, a 2×4 with high clearance (and 4×4 for some spots) is recommended for the off the beaten path places (Hole in the Wall is perfectly fine for a sedan).
8. Head for the forest in Magoebaskloof
Treat yourself and the whole family to a Magoebaskloof getaway in the mountainous area of Limpopo and tune out the noise of the world. Stroll for hours around the 70-year-old Cheerio Gardens, go on a birding tour with some of South Africa’s top-ranked bird guides, David Letsoalo or Paul Nkhumane, have a family picnic at the Debengeni Waterfalls or experience the thrill of kloofing and sliding from tree to tree with Magoebaskloof Canopy Tour. Explore the small town of Haenertsburg (and learn how to pronounce the name) with a visit to Zwakala Brewery and grab a bite to eat at Minki’s Coffee Shop. You can stay over in eco-lodges like Kurisa Moya Nature Lodge offering village tours and there is also the Magoebaskloof Camping Site if your tent is begging for an outing.
Here’s something to help you plan your FLIPPEN LEKKER trip: Birdwatching in Magoebaskloof.
9. Explore passes and more in Outdshoorn
If the Karoo sun and cold does not scare you pack in an extra bottle of sunscreen or a blanket and gloves and head inland for a scenic drive. Soak up the peace and quiet of the Little Karoo at De Zeekoe Guest Farm where you can wake up with meerkats on a meerkat safari, indulge in ostrich steak, explore old favourites like the Cango Caves or hop on over to the Swartberg Pass or Meiringspoort waterfall for an ice cold dip. For the campers, there are also Cango Mountain Resort and Oppi Dam and if glamping is more your style, try out the boutique camping site, AfriCamps. Backpacker’s Paradise in Oudtshoorn offer guests cycling trips ranging from 15km to the hair-raising yet thrilling 54km trip where you’ll be dropped off at the top of the Swartberg Pass.
10. Meet the fairies of Hogsback
How do you feel about a green, lush indigenous forest, dozens of waterfalls, Samango monkeys, Knysna Louries, Cape parrots and mountains, morning mist, moss carpets and moonshine? What about labyrinths, an eco-shrine, crystals, fairies? Sounds magical, right?
Hogsback in the Amathole district can only be described as magical, an ideal backdrop for a retreat for mind, body and soul; it is a place encapsulated by nature with plenty of activities on offer such as hiking, biking and horse-back riding with numerous art studios to visit and local eateries. Accommodation ranges from basic backpacker dormitories to hotels to spots hidden under the forest canopy.
Here’s something to help you plan your FLIPPEN LEKKER trip: Hogsback, magic in the Eastern Cape.
11. Switch off in the Karoo Heartland
Switch off you mind, quiet your soul and visit big sky country. Experience the picturesque landscape, the vast plains, wildlife, wind pumps, dirt roads and starry nights. Discover the art and heart-warming hospitality of Nieu Bethesda, the angora history in Jansenville, go cheetah tracking on foot outside of Cradock, dive into history in Graaff-Reinet, shout your name and wait for the echo from the Valley of Desolation and try bass fishing in Somerset East. Indulge in home-cooked meals that will take you back to Sunday family lunches with your grandparents, taste craft beer, eat roosterkoek and dish up some of the Karoo’s famous hospitality.
Here’s something to help you plan your FLIPPEN LEKKER trip: Through the Street of Jansenville AND 10 Reasons to visit Camdeboo National Park AND Cheetah tracking in Mountain Zebra National Park AND Switching off in Somerset East.
As previously mentioned, there is a whole lot more were these 11 trips came from so stay tuned for 11 more FLIPPEN LEKKER trips to take in South Africa that will follow in a few months!
Disclaimer: Parts of this post are snippets from articles I’ve written for Traveller24.