Game reserves, mountain passes, sub-tropical forests are just a few features: surfing hotspots, Nelson Mandela’s birthplace, the Karoo, golf estates, the Garden Route, and eventually Cape Town follow. Read on to discover why the N2 represents the ultimate South African road trip.
The route begins in Ermelo, Mpumalanga and eventually runs south of the Swaziland border. Once you arrive at Mkhuze and head further south you gain access to the Greater St Lucia Wetland Park and the Hluhluwe-Umfolozi Game Reserve. Stop off at one of these parks to experience some incredible fauna and flora!
From Mtubatuba the N2 begins to follow Kwa-Zulu Natal’s Dolphin Coast, passing through Empangeni, Tongaat, Ballito, Umhlanga and finally Durban. This stretch is a major tourist attraction and is very busy during certain periods of the year. Stop off in Ballito for a swim at Salt Rock beach, and a walk down the bustling beach promenade.
The N2 proceeds to follow the coastline, or the Hibiscus coast, passing through Amanzimtoti, Ifafa and Umzumbe. At Port Shepstone the N2 heads inland and thins out, as the difficult drive just gets more and more beautiful. If you’re getting tired, it’s probably better to stop off at one of the numerous B&Bs for a night in.
Then on to the amazing Wild Coast! You pass through Kokstad, then you cross over into the Eastern Cape Province and on to Mthatha, through the former Ciskei and back to the coast at East London. Stop off to try your luck at the Wild Coast Sun, because pretty soon King William’s Town and Grahamstown will be on the horizon…
Now you pass through Port Elizabeth, the surfer’s paradise, and shortly after that begins the Garden route, one of the most beautiful stretches of road in the world, which passes through Jeffery’s Bay, the Storms River pass and the Tsitsikamma River. Check out the surfing in PE, or stop off at Storms River for amazing river rafting.
Plettenberg Bay and Kynsna lie close to each other, and are also massively popular tourist destinations. Wilderness and George are two other beautiful spots in this region and are definitely worth a stop in. You have to stop in at the Kynsna Oyster Farm, or have lunch at the Kynsna Heads, because Mossel Bay is officially on the way.
Then the scenery changes, and the N2 takes you into the semi-arid Karoo region, through Albertina and Riversdale. The next views of interest will propagate in the form of the Cape Winelands Route, passing through Swellendam and Caledon. There’s not much out this way, except for really pretty views and an appreciation of SA’s diversity.
Sir Lowry’s Pass indicates you’re nearly at Somerset West, and the beautiful city of Cape Town. About an hour from Somerset West sees you reaching the end of the N2, the awesome Mother City. Take a drive through Cape Town, Simonstown and head to Cape Point, where you can watch whales and sip cocktails.
Wow, what a road trip!