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Royal Natal National Park to Addo - which way to choose?

Denmark
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Royal Natal National Park to Addo - which way to choose?

Hi.

I am planning a trip, where we after a stay at Thendele Camp in the Royal Natal National Park are going to drive to Addo Elephant National Park. We are leaving in the morning, having a stay somewhere en route, and wish to arrive to Addo no later than noon the following day.

We would love to do a scenic route with small villages etc., but we have to take into account that we have limited time.

Does anyone have a suggestion of which way to choose (I would appreciate specifications of roads or towns en route)? Any idea of how many hours of driving it will take?

I look forward to any replies and suggestions! Thanks for your time!

Cape Town
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1. Re: Royal Natal National Park to Addo - which way to choose?

This is a long way - more than 1,000km. The first part, at least, is on maountainous, gravel roads. I would estimate that it could be done in around 12-13 hours non-stop driving so it would be possible in a day and a half. But set out early (before 8:00am).

The fastest route is to head down to the R74 then over the Olivershoek pass towards Harrismith. Join the N5 and then drive through Bethlehem and Winberg to join the N1. South on tghis, bypassing Bloemfontein until Colesburg where the N9 leaves to the south. Follow this and then the N10 to Craddock.

This is just under 800km and, with stops for lunch, fuel and comfort (no time for much else) should take about 10 hours. Say 6:00pm arrival. Craddock is a lovely town with lots of good Guesthouse and B&B accommodation. By far the best place to stay here is Tuishuise which is a whole row of restored 19 th century cottages where you can rent a small cottage as B&B accommodation :

http://www.tuishuise.co.za/tuishuise.htm

From Craddock you now have a pretty easy and very scenic drive to Addo the next morning. It is just over 200km so should take an easy three hours. Continue on the N10 south all the way to Paterson and then turn right signposted to Addo Elephant National Park. This road, the R342, actually crosses Addo Park between fences and you will start to see game from the road. This road goes directly to the main Addo Gate.

The middle of the first day is across the Great Karoo which is not scenic from the green mountain perspective but has a very different calm emptiness As one of our regular posters said recently - "Some people find the nothingness far more beautiful and much more relaxing than driving around on busy roads all day with views of the mountain or the sea."

The alternative route to the south down to the coast and across the Transkei region will take much longer and with your limited time I would not suggest it.

Johannesburg, South...
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2. Re: Royal Natal National Park to Addo - which way to choose?

The alternative to v_d_C suggestion is to take the R74 until you join up with the N3 to Howick, then take the R617 via Underberg to Kokstad. The R617 is a stunning scenic route through the villages of Boston, Bulwer, Underberg and Swartberg - all along the Drakensberg. At Kokstad you would join up with the N2 which would take you practically all the way to Addo, through the Transkei. You would see plenty of traditional villages on this route. The route via the Free State trumps this route though, because you need to have the major part of you trip done before you stay over night, and suitable accommodation is not really available on the N2 in the Transkei. Total distance per www.streetmaps.co.za is 1051km.

Denmark
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3. Re: Royal Natal National Park to Addo - which way to choose?

Thank you very much for your advice. It is very helpful.

The most reasonable thing to do would definitely be to take the fastest route suggested by Van_de_Caab. However, it does indeed sound a bit boring to me. I can live with no more mountain scenery (as we by the time just have spend some days in the mountains), but I would very much like to see some traditional villages, as we will spend the remaining of our vaccation along the garden route and route 62, which I guess is a lot more tourist-like.

Could we take the route from Harrismith that goes along the border to Lesotho (R712, R711, R26) down to Ladybrand, then from there take N8 to Bloemfontein, from there follow the directions given by Van_de_Caab and still save some time as compared to the route east of Drakensberg?

Thank you for taking your time!

Cape Town
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4. Re: Royal Natal National Park to Addo - which way to choose?

OK - I have never done the route as you suggest but much of it is through quite high mountains. I have looked at it on the map and on my Satnav. There is a 61km section through the Golden Gate Highlands National Park which is 61 km on mountain gravel and I would expect that that alone would take well over two hours - maybe three. My SatNav suggests the route from RNNP to Bloemfontein would take about 8:30 hours - probably about right. And this is with NO stops.

You now have another 621km to go to Addo which would take around 7:30 plus stops.

So you need to schedule more than 18 hours to do this. Leaving at 7:00am and driving until 7:00pm which is already dark even in summer, in this part of the country. You then have around 500km next morning - say 6:00hrs total non-stop, so to be at Addo by noon you need to leave 6:00am.

Two full days maybe OK but I would not do what you are suggesting. See what others who may have actually driven this route say. If you do think of doing it I would VERY stongly suggest that you have a SatNav. In rural areas signage is often not very good.

Just remember this is a vast country and in many mountain areas there are not alternative routes. You need to schedule enough time to get around.

Port Elizabeth
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5. Re: Royal Natal National Park to Addo - which way to choose?

The most attractive route I think is to kind of hug the road around Lesotho. Golden Gate, Clarens, Ficksburg and Clocolan, Ladybrand, Aliwal North and on to Cradock.

Cape Town
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6. Re: Royal Natal National Park to Addo - which way to choose?

Hi lamlee

I don't think we are disagreeing, but how long do you think this route could reasonably be driven in. I have never driven the route in it's entirety, just parts so my times are estimates.

And my quote about the beauty and relaxation of driving the Great Karoo was from you!

7. Re: Royal Natal National Park to Addo - which way to choose?

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