Route 62, South Africa
The Wine Route – Cape Town to Port Elizabeth
South Africa has no shortage of wonderful scenic drives to entertain visitors and locals alike. The scenery is outstanding, the road network excellent, and there are plenty of good places to stop and rest after a busy day on the road. Route 62, which takes you from the Western Cape to the Eastern Cape through extensive wine-making territory, is one of the best in the country. You can drive Route 62 all the way from Cape Town to Port Elizabeth and it is a shorter alternative to the famous Garden Route which runs parallel to the coastline; if you are planning to return to your starting point it would be a great idea to choose one of these routes for each leg of your journey and see the best of both.
Starting in Cape Town you will leave the city on the N1 highway towards Paarl. Less than 40min out of Cape Town you will be in the country and you will start to see the extensive vineyards that produce some of the best wine in the country. There are literally dozens of wine estates to visit on this route, where you can go on cellar tours, enjoy a tasting and buy some wines to take along on your travels. You could drive the entire way to Port Elizabeth in one day, just enjoying the incredible scenery, but there is so much to see and do that it is a much better idea to spread your journey over 3 or 4 days to get a real understanding of the delightful little farming towns and the friendly people you will meet along the way.
Route 62 is sometimes also known as the Mountain Route, and you will soon find out why, as range after range of magnificent mountain scenery unfolds before you. There are no less than 10 mountain passes to navigate along this route, which passes through verdant and productive farming lands before crossing part of the semi-arid Little Karoo and then meandering back towards the coastline. The diversity of landscape is quite dramatic and each little town you pass has something to offer the visitor.
Things to do on Route 62
Activities along the route are many and varied. You can visit a farm for a picnic (a great break for restless children who are invited to meet the animals) in Bonnivale, go hiking in the Gamka Mountain Nature Reserve in Calitzdorp, go fishing or cherry picking in Ceres or enjoy any number of other enjoyable side-trips. If you are travelling in a 4X4, there are many exhilarating trails which take you to some of the best viewpoints in the mountains. In Oudtshoorn be sure to visit the fabulous Cango Caves and try your hand at ostrich riding, while at Stormsriver and Tsitsikamma you can go on thrilling canopy tours. At the Addo Elephant Park just outside Port Elizabeth you can enjoy a great Big Five safari and see huge herds of African Elephant in their natural environment.
If you travel by motorhome rental or campervan hire, there are some great places to stop and camp overnight to suit all budgets, including inside the Addo National Park.