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Drive from Durban to Underberg at Night?

Washington DC...
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Drive from Durban to Underberg at Night?

Hi,

My wife and I have limited time in KwaZulu-Natal but wanted to get out to see the Drakensberg. The only way for us to fit this into our trip would be to drive from the Airport on to Underberg and then spend the morning and afternoon of the next day going up to Sani Pass and doing a short hike before heading back to Durban for an evening event.

My question is: is it dangerous to drive the route from the Durban Airport to Underberg at night? Our flight is arriving in Durban at 7:10 and it will probably be close to 8 by the time we get our bags and hire a car. Google Maps say its nearly a 3-hour drive, so we'd be arriving around 11.

Thanks in advance for your response!

Kevin

Port Elizabeth
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1. Re: Drive from Durban to Underberg at Night?

Driving at night I would drop my speed quite a bit. So the 3 hours could stretch to closer to 4. Which means midnight and lonely roads.

Maybe find a place about 1/2 way or 2 hours along the route and then get up very early the next morning?

Howick, South Africa
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2. Re: Drive from Durban to Underberg at Night?

Lamlee's correct. Your route will leave the N3 at exit 99 and then follow the R617 to Underberg. None of these roads are lit at night, and the R617 will take careful driving in the dark; particularly watch out for animals and potholes.

Many of the accomodation establishments around Underberg or Himeville will be able to arrange for a 4X4 tour company to take you up Sani Pass.

It's an ambitious plan you've got; I hope you manage it as the views from the top of Sani Pass are well worth it - as long as it's a clear day that is - and the drive up there (particularly the last couple of kilometers) is "very interesting".

Johannesburg
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3. Re: Drive from Durban to Underberg at Night?

Most of your drive time will be spend on the N3 which is one of our main highways. Once you are off this then the road will get a lot smaller and much more windy. Here I would drop my speed and just be careful.

The question I ask myself is would I drive there at night. And the answer is Yes. Just be more careful. Also make sure that you know exactly where you are going and do not get lost as that will add a lot of time to your journey.

Howick, South Africa
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4. Re: Drive from Durban to Underberg at Night?

Me again. Here's a short video of mine in TA that may be of interest to you.

http://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/members-videos/openVideo('By%204X4%20up%20Sani%20Pass')

Washington DC...
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5. Re: Drive from Durban to Underberg at Night?

I like the idea of going halfway and then getting up early for the final stretch the next day just to be safe.... It looks like Merrivale and Howick are around the turnoff from N3 to R617. We'll try to stay there, unless someone has a better recommendation for a midpoint stop?

Howick, South Africa
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6. Re: Drive from Durban to Underberg at Night?

There's not much in the way of accomodation in Merrivale. Howick's got a couple of B&b's if you're interested (PM me for more info if you like) or the hotel; link below; would be my choice in this area as it's very close to the road you need to take for Sani Pass.

http://www.fernhillhotel.co.za

Washington DC...
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7. Re: Drive from Durban to Underberg at Night?

Excellent... Thanks for the recommendation RacingRog!

Johannesburg, South...
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8. Re: Drive from Durban to Underberg at Night?

You could also stay in Hilton, just outside Pietermaritzburg. tripadvisor.com/Hotel_Review-g312603-d177830… It is closer to the highway and probably perfect for a late arrival/early departure.

I fully agree that the route from the N3 highway to Underberg should be left for daylight - the route, especially between Bulwer and Boston, is also prone to low lying mist and fog. Not something you would want to tackle late after a long flight.

durban
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9. Re: Drive from Durban to Underberg at Night?

We have done it at night and depending on time of year there can be lots of mist on the roads which is a nightmare.

www.kimssouthafrica.blogspot.com

Riebeek-West, South...
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10. Re: Drive from Durban to Underberg at Night?

Hi.Try book a chalet at Glen Gary. This is really beautiful farm,well worth the drive. From there,there is a lovely dirt road route that runs over the mountains to Himeville.Absolutely breathtaking.

Kind Regards

Lee Rich

African Getaway 4x4 Hire South Africa