Southern Africa may be known for its big game and savannahs, but for a vision of how lush, green and peaceful the country can be, try the long drive along the south coast from Mossel Bay in the west to Storms River Village further east. You could zip along the full length in a day if you try, but a four-day trip is the best timescale.
The route takes you through mountains, past beaches and forests. You can stop off at artists’ villages to pick up paintings and deserted coves for a dip in the sea. Or if you want something out of the ordinary, take a peek at the Rastafarian community near Knysna.
After driving, it’s time to drink. Some of South Africa’s best wineries are peppered along the way and they love welcoming in passing visitors for a glass of red. If you’re no expert, don’t worry – they will give you a quick and fun introduction to wine tasting, so you will know what you are supposed to be looking for. And it’s not just wine – some produce cheese, fine meats or even chocolate to accompany the liquid meal.
You can drive the route any time of the year – its climate is never too hot or too cold, so you can wind down the windows and enjoy the sun on your face with a cooling breeze.
The grown-ups might be driving, but the trip is great for children who can look out for whales and dolphins on Robberg Beach. And after the drama of the fauna, you will see the sheer beauty of the flora. The fynbos – the plant life on the heathland – is found nowhere else in the world, and huge flowers line your path to make the whole experience a drive through nature.