Top 5 Places to Road Trip to Within a 4-Hour Drive of Johannesburg
Recently the need to get out of the city has been higher than usual, so I started researching places to road trip to that were close enough but still a getaway.
I have to be honest, growing up in Cape Town, all my road trips were always within the Western Cape region. Places like Oudshroon, Knysna, Plettenberg Bay and Wilderness were my absolute favourites. I also loved the west coast places like Paternoster and Langebaan. I even ventured out over the mountains to Citrusdal and Robertson. But I have never really travelled outside of Johannesburg.
I have taken a few trips to Hartbeespoort and Sun City but that is it. While I do miss the coast and would love a beach-town getaway, the desire to explore new places is even higher!
My gentleman has been wanting to get out of the city for a while now too so I was tasked with finding the perfect getaway within a 4-hour drive from Johannesburg. I love a good google search and within an hour I had a list of lust-worthy places longer than my grocery list.
I decided to get them down here so I can be held accountable. Having a travel list makes it so much easier to decide where to go and when. Naturally, my international travel bucket-list is impressively long. Having moved back to South Africa from the UK, my goal has been to travel and support my home country first, then Africa and then the world.
So these are the top 5 places I want to travel to in the next few months.
Clarens – Free State
Clarens is on the very top of my list, only because my cousin has travelled there so much and only has good things to say. It is about a 3 and a half hour drive from Johannesburg.
From what I have heard, it is a quiet town but filled with adventure. They have an annual beer festival and the town has its very own brewery. Plus the coffee shops, restaurants and galleries are plentiful.
The main reason this is on top of my list is that there is river rafting. One thing you need to know about me is I do not do adrenaline… but for some reason, I love being on the water. It has been some time but I am sure the thrill is all the same. The vast open space also offers hiking and horseback riding.
The biggest appeal is the quiet but anywhere out of the city will be quiet.
The Pilanesberg – North-West
Like I said above, I have been to Sun City but I have never had the opportunity to visit the Pilanesberg. I have heard it is breathtaking being able to see the wildlife and you can camp or stay in lodges. In life, I have had the pleasure of seeing wild Rhino, Giraffe, Zebra and the likes but I have never seen any predators or an Elephant. This is why the Pilanesberg is second on my list. It is only a 3-hour drive from Johannesburg.
My gentleman recommended this first and suggested we take his parent’s Ranger that has one of those tents on top. I don’t dislike the idea but with it being Autumn now and Winter close behind, camping in the cold isn’t on the top of my list.
The big pull here is that the Pilanesberg is the perfect place to see nearly every animal species native to Southern Africa. This is because the Pilanesberg is a transition zone between the dryness of the Kalahari and the wet Lowveld vegetation.
Woodbush Forest Reserve – Limpopo
Firstly it’s a forest, that’s one big fat tick in my book, the second is fireflies! Please oh please in this lifetime can I see a firefly? I saw a glowworm once but it was a worm so no big deal but fireflies excite me beyond reason. The Woodbush Forest Reserve is massive so you can stay in accommodation near the forest or do one of the many hiking trails with huts and such along the way.
The Magoebaskloof Hiking Trail has seriously peaked my interest but that will require getting fit so I am not ready just yet.
The reserve is roughly a 4-hour drive from Johannesburg. It is so green it makes your heart sing! I am a lover of the forest and my inner fairy-child still believes that one day I will get a chance to meet the fairies.
The hiking option gives you the opportunity to drink from freshwater streams and see beautiful waterfalls. Villiers Steyn from the Outdoorphoto Blog shared his incredible journey and now I just have to do it!
God’s Window – Mpumalanga
This one is slightly over my 4-hour drive range but only by 40 minutes so I am adding it. My best friend actually recommended this one to me and I felt so silly for never thinking about it myself. There is a rainforest nearby and it just offers the most breathtaking views (plus jelly legs).
The main reason I want to go here is so that I can stand at the Blyde River Canyon, which is a 2-hours away and look out over the vastness of South Africa. I am terrified of heights but that won’t stop me from standing there looking out over the canyon. Nearby you can also see the Three Rondawels.
This place lets you feel like you are on top of the world!
Magaliesburg – Gauteng
There is so much to do when looking at the Magaliesburg. You can venture out a little further because you are so much closer to home. It is but 1-hours drive from Johannesburg. You can do a canopy tour (I wouldn’t love it at first but I would do it), visit the local craft brewery, go strawberry picking just over the border near Hartbeespoort (Septemeber to December) and visit the Cradle of Human Kind which is also a short drive away.
There are loads of spas in the area too, my body is desperate for a full body massage. Plus all you are bound to find an amazing farm stall along the way to buy chilli sauce and jams from. Those are some of my favourite stops to make. There is also a Sunday market at the Trading Post, I do love a good Sunday market!
So those are the 5 places currently on my list. The problem now is how to choose which one is first? We will probably drop them in a hat and let fate decide.
Which places do you recommend? Leave me a comment if you agree with my choices or have a better option.
With My Love,