Durban to Cape Town: road trip tips you need to know

Durban to Cape Town - road tripDurban to Cape Town - road trip
Durban to Cape Town - road tripDurban to Cape Town - road trip


Durban to Cape Town: road trip tips you need to know

Travelling through South Africa via road trip is exciting and enthralling, especially if you have properly planned your route. Driving from Durban to Cape Town might sound like a long and arduous journey, but the scenery is unparalleled and you will see and experience parts of South Africa that you have only seen in travel brochures, such as spending the night in  Springbok accommodation to see the gorgeous Namaqualand National Park.

Below are some helpful tips for those who are planning a journey from Durban to Cape Town to make the trip easy and smooth.


Choose the right route

The most important step in any road trip is to choose the best route for the trip. There are different options to choose from, and depending on your itinerary, some will take longer than others. Outlined below are just some of the possibilities you can choose, with stop offs that are exciting and interesting.


  • Durban-Cape Town through the Transkei and the Garden Route (The N2): This is a pretty drive featuring expansive sea views and gentle rolling hills of sugar cane. It showcases the natural beauty of KwaZulu-Natal while also allowing you to see the awe-inspiring beauty of the Garden Route. Be aware of cows that graze alongside the road.


  • Durban-Cape Town through Bloemfontein and the Karoo: This route leads you from Durban up through the “Highway” and into the captivating Natal Midlands, allowing you to meander slowly on your journey, making plenty of stops at quirky coffee shops. You will also experience the stark beauty of the Karoo before you reach Cape Town.


  • Durban-Cape Town through Bloemfontein and the Garden Route: You could call this route the ‘Country to Coast’ option, as it travels through the Natal Midlands and Bloemfontein, winding its way down to the scenic coastal beauty of the Garden Route. It is the more scenic route and may take longer but the views are simply spectacular.


Create the perfect playlist

Long road trips need good music to make them enjoyable, so be sure to plan your playlist well in advance. Of course, it cannot be any music, it has to be world class road trip music that all parties involved can enjoy. So, if your teenage daughter wants an entire hour of Rihanna or your son prefers Metallica, you will have to compromise.

Your playlist should include upbeat music so the driver is able to stay alert and awake, so include music that is not likely to lull anyone to sleep. Include some classics and some modern songs so everyone is appeased, throwing in some crowd pleasers for the whole family to enjoy (car karaoke anyone?). There is nothing quite like singing along to Bohemian Rhapsody as you cruise over a mountain pass.


Take regular stops for pictures

On your route, you will most likely come across some unique African sights, and it is important to plan your trip so that you are able to make a stop and take a photograph of these interesting (and sometimes hilarious) attractions.

These regular stops will also allow the driver to get out, stretch their legs and take a break from driving. Be sure that you are not blocking traffic with these stops, even in small towns with small roads, as this is unfair to other drivers. If you find a place that is truly too beautiful to capture with one photograph, such as the stunning Namaqualand landscape, stop off at a hotel such as the Springbok Inn for the evening to fully explore the area.


Stock up on snacks

Driving from Durban to Cape Town, even with a stop off at the Springbok Hotel along the way, is a road trip that needs sufficient healthy snacks to make it enjoyable and run smoothly. There might be no stores for quite a few kilometres, especially if you are driving through the Karoo or the Northern Cape.

Pack healthy, easy-to-eat snacks that will not go soft if they are refrigerated, such as biltong, baby carrots, nuts, berries, celery sticks and baby tomatoes. You will need enough snacks for everyone to be able to have something to eat, so be sure to bring with a decently sized cooler bag. Avoid bringing stone fruits, such as plums or peaches, as these will become mushy if kept in a cooler bag for too long. Bring along bottled water for the long drive too.


Always be prepared

One of the most important things to do on a road trip is to always be prepared. You will need to check your car’s oil, water and tyre pressure before leaving, and do this on regular intervals throughout the trip.

Keep a five liter bottle of water in your boot in case of a breakdown, and ensure that the spare tyre is fully inflated and has not holes in it. Keep the number of your car insurance company to hand and the number of local towing companies. If you prepare ahead of time, your journey from Durban to Cape Town will go without a hitch, providing an exciting and unique adventure.

Durban to Cape Town - road trip