Don’t let the best scenes race by unnoticed. Pull over, pull the handbrake up, switch off the car and take a gander at these scenic spectacles
Find the Fairy Circles
From the far Northern Cape and especially impressive in Namibia’s NamibRand Nature Reserve just south of Sossusvlei, these mysterious circles appear like a cosmic rash in the vast open plains and on the slopes of mountains. Beautiful (and unexplained by science), they’re one of the most underrated scenic wonders of Southern Africa – though the name could do with a rebranding. Find them from South Africa’s N7, onto Namibia’s B1 and particularly on and around our Northern neighbour’s C27.
Toast the Transkei Sun
Beaches, cows, lush forests, turbo-cabbage hippies in tie-dye… Port St Johns is geographically stunning, but can be seedy, so escape the town, wind your way through the forests and up to the airfield that sits on one of the bluffs looking over the mighty Umzimvubu River – the third largest in our country. Allow your jaw to drop at the magnificent view. Salute the sun as it sets over endless hills and thank your ancestors for living in Africa.
Get a pass
Peel off the N1 at Touws Rivier onto the R355 – reputedly the longest stretch between two towns anywhere in South Africa – and about halfway along you turn right into the Tankwa Karoo National Park. From there, tackle the Gannaga Pass that takes you into the Roggeveldberge. At the top, take in the sunset looking over the stunning Tankwa Karoo basin (where AfrikaBurn takes place) and allow your soul to be stirred or shaken. You’re not James Bond so it doesn’t matter. Want more passes? Drive on to summit the Verlatenkloof and Ouberg passes, or check out samountainpasses.co.za
Go back to The Valley… of Desolation
If places were rated solely for the prettiness of their names then the viewpoint at the Valley of Desolation, high above Graaff-Reinet in the Camdeboo National Park, would not be lacking. But for hard evidence, what you see in front of you stuff, it is amply supplied. As you come out of town look to peel off the N9 towards Murraysburg, pay at the park gates and then wind your way to the top. Sit on the rocks, thermal-riding raptors for company, and soak up the impressive view of the dolerite columns, plains and mountains below you.