Who doesn’t love a road trip? There’s nothing better than rolling the windows down while turning your favourite music up, with South Africa’s stunning scenery around you.
One of my favourite road trips to do from Joburg is the drive to Kruger. Most people make Kruger their only destination, but there are quite a few ways to break up the 5 hour drive and extend your holiday.
Drive two hours east of Johannesburg and you’ll find yourself in Middelburg, the heart of Mpumalanga. This is the nature lover’s paradise and you can take your pick from a plethora of activities, including bird watching, hiking, fishing and mountain biking. Ribbokkloof Lodge is a great place to call home during your time in Middelburg, especially if you are part of a larger group of guests. The self catering chalets come complete with a fully equipped kitchen and a private braai area.
Just over an hour further east , you’ll arrive in Dullstroom, which is known for its excellent fly fishing and is a great spot for relaxation. I recommend staying at the Highlander. Suites are spacious and comfortable, with private patios and wood burning fireplaces. Here, the highlight is food, with the hotel’s executive chef ensuring that produce is organic and free range as far as possible, aiming to create hearty, country style cuisine. The hotel also stocks a range of over 200 single malt whiskies, which you can take your pick from for pre-dinner drinks, or for a night-cap.
No more than a two hour drive away from Dullstroom (make sure to drive carefully here because of the potholes – it’s a good idea to have your car insurance in check as well), you’ll be in White River, a gorgeous town just north of Nelspruit. The farming village produces tropical fruits, timber and lots of flowers. Here, the climate is said to be one of the best in South Africa – not too hot in summer nor too cold in winter. Golfers will love staying at White River Country Estate, which has an 18 hole course designed by Gary Player, as well as squash courts, a swimming pool and tennis courts.
Kruger will be your final stop, and this needs no introduction. With accommodation options to suit every budget and taste, you won’t be short of options. My recommendation is the Jock Safari Lodge, where you can enjoy morning and evening game drives conducted by highly skilled rangers. Accommodation, while lavish, blends into the surrounding environment, so you can feel at one with nature. For something a bit friendlier on the pocket, check out Kruger Adventure Lodge, which offers fuss free accommodation close to the park.