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exploring Drakensburg mountain range and Blyde River Canyon

Swansea, MA
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336 posts
11 reviews
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exploring Drakensburg mountain range and Blyde River Canyon

I have read many itineraries involving the cape,winelands and garden route but not any involving the east coast and interior. I am driving from Cape Town to the Sabi Sabi private reserve in May. I am looking for the most scenic route possible. Do you recommend taking the unpaved roads to the wild coast? What is the best route to take to enjoy the Drakensburg area followed by the Blyde River Canyon area? What do you consider to be "must see" areas?

Port Elizabeth
Destination Expert
for South Africa
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1. Re: exploring Drakensburg mountain range and Blyde River Canyon

I would stick to the N2 until Umtata and then take the R61 to Port St Johns, a base from which to do a bit of exploring. From there continue on the R61 and a short dirt road to Kokstad (no need to stayover) and then on the R617 to one of the many places in the Drakensberg.

If you have a 4x4 or a bakkie (pickup?), you can go up Sani Pass.

If you want to see more of the Wild Coast, try Coffee Bay.

If you want to see the Wild Coast in luxury, then try the Wild Coast Sun near Port Edward.

This might be outdated info, but the Wild Coast area is very short on road signs. If you use the gravel roads in the Wild Coast, make sure you have a good map and keep and eye on the odometer in the car, so that you know when to turn. We got a bit lost, and it took a while to find our way as not everyone in the area speaks English. We ended up having a fabulous time with a young lad in our car saying "Jig apha (Turn there)" every now and again. We followed his directions for a while until we realized that he was taking us the way that he walked and our car, even though it was a Landrover, just wasn't going to be able to go down the steep gorge.

Swansea, MA
Level Contributor
336 posts
11 reviews
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2. Re: exploring Drakensburg mountain range and Blyde River Canyon

Thank you for the information! Is Sani Pass off of the R617? How many days would you estimate taking to explore the Drakenburg area? Can you recommend a home base for this area, keeping in mind that I don't like to back track. After exploring the Drakenburg area, what is the best route to head over to the Blyde River Canyon area? Is there anything in between that I should be sure not to miss?