Take the Road Less Travelled from Jo'burg to Cape Town | Inspire
Take the Road Less Travelled from Jo'burg to Cape Town
Things to Do
Things to Do

Take the Road Less Travelled from Jo'burg to Cape Town

The Northern Cape R27 drops dramatically down the plateau and takes in the best of the Karoo.

The N1 was built for efficiency and was never intended to route through the more remarkable elements of South Africa's vast central expanse: the Karoo. But there's a better way than the N1 to get to Cape Town – a glorious arc through the Great Karoo. Turn north at Hanover and drive through Britstown, Vosburg and Carnarvon until the magnificence of the R27 presents itself halfway between Williston and Calvinia. Here are five reasons why we rate this route:

1. If ever there were a Southern Hemisphere sibling to Colorado's Monument Valley, it's this Karoo plateau stretch of the R27. Gloriously under-trafficked, just set your DISTRONIC PLUS cruise control, put both feet on the plush footwell carpeting of your car and relish the purity of just steering.

2. Views along this road are truly panoramic. Expect enormous Karoo landscapes with impossibly vast horizon lines, anchored by characteristic koppies.

3. Passing the Hantam mountains around Calvinia, the landscape turns a little greener. As the R27 trails past the sandstone hamlet of Nieuwoudtville, you'll be treated to its neo-gothic church, botanical gardens and – if there's been rain preceding your visit – the potent sight of a 100-metre-high waterfall 7 km outside the town.

4. Motoring westward, a mere 8 km beyond Nieuwoudtville, you'll cross the border between Northern and Western Cape in spectucular style. Navigate Vanrhyns Pass, which drops dramatically from 820 metres of inland Karoo plateau to 230 metres in a just 9 km. After enjoying the thrill of the open corners, stop at one of the viewing spots to appreciate the sensational vistas.

5. Your end destination is Vanrhynsdorp, 33 km from the base of the pass. En route to Vanrhynsdorp, 8 km from where the pass corkscrews you from its last sweeping corner onto the R27's straight, is the delightfully theatrical Bagdad Café – a fitting pit stop after a memorable drive.



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