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Driving route suggestions.

Warwickshire...
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Driving route suggestions.

After returning from safari in Zimbabwe we have 12 days available to get from Johannesburg to Durban. At the moment we're of thinking trying to see the Panaroma Route, St. Lucia wetlands and the Sani pass plus a couple of beach days. Can anyone suggest the most scenic route and anything else we really should try and see.? Thanks

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1. Re: Driving route suggestions.

For Sani pass you need a 4 x 4 and depends on the time of year you will be going. The weather changes in the blink of an eye and visibility can be dreadful. I was in Himeville ( 23 kms away ) in winter and had to drive from Underberg to there, visibility was no more than 20 feet, the fog was thick as pea soup, sleet, mist and rain made for a very treacherous drive and one I'd not care to repeat in a hurry.If you do have a 4 X 4 Kosi Bay (NE KZN ) coastal reserve has lovely beaches particularly Kosi Bay Mouth and Bhangor Nek etc. and is part of the world heritage Isimangaliso Wetlands area (very scenic ). Tembe Elephant Park is not far away and is home to SA biggest Tuskers.Hluhluwe / Umfolozi game reserves also worth a visit and easily doable from St Lucia or stay inside the reserve ( plenty of Rhino ). Cape Vidal good for snorkelling and Sodwana Bay for scuba diving. The whole area has a lot to offer in the way of beaches, game reserves, wetlands and diversity of flora and fauna .Adding to the Panorama route and northern Drakensberg its as scenic as one could hope for.

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Howick, South Africa
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2. Re: Driving route suggestions.

Although a 4X4 is needed to get up Sani Pass perhaps a hired one is not the best way due to the hire company maybe not insuring you for this type of serious off-road driving nor allowing taking the vehicle out of South Africa (you go into Lesotho). A better idea would be to use one of the companies around Himeville who use their 4X4's, some of whom have access to visit a local village at the top and get some idea of how the locals live. Then a more *normal* (and cheaper) hire car's the type to have. Beach driving has also now been banned on just about any beach in South Africa also leading to the hiring of a 4X4 being an unnecessary expense.

Good point on the first post about weather; when we went up it was a nice sunny day in Himeville and freezing cold with horizontally blown snow at the top.

Other things/areas for you to consider would be the Central or Northern Drakensberg (Sani's more southern), the Midlands Meander, Valley of 1000 Hills, or what about the Anglo-Zulu and Angle-Boer war sites around Dundee?

Whether coming into KZN via the panorama route is the best way could be debateable due to the extra time it takes to get to places like St Lucia when having to travel via Swaziland. Perhaps leave the Panorama Route 'till next time when you could include Kruger.

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Lesotho
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St. Lucia
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3. Re: Driving route suggestions.

Avis SA will allow rental vehicles to cross borders into Lesotho and Swaziland provided that the renter has in their possession of a letter of authority obtainable from an Avis location at time of rental. I took a 4 X 4 from them into Swazi last September . Other major rental firms also allow this but most do not allow entry to Mozambique or Zimbabwe. It would be safer to use a tour operator for a visit to Sani Pass, especially if the road is deemed not suitable and as has been said, the weather conditions are quite unpredictable . To get to the Kosi Bay beaches I mentioned, a 4 X 4 is a requirement as the tracks / roads leading into them consist of sand but certainly no one is advocating to drive on the actual beaches themselves.

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Leigh-on Sea...
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4. Re: Driving route suggestions.

Hi RacingRog,

we are visiting Hluhluwe-Umfolozi ( day drive) , Battlefields ( Rorkes Drift,Isandalwa, Blood River ) Isimangaliso Wetlands Park , Wetlands, Midlands Meander, Champagne Castle, and Royal Natal Parks . I have planned the route and it seems that some of the roads will be gravel and some people describe potholes in various places.

We are trying to decide whether a 4x4 vehicle is worth the extra expense. On our last 2 trips to the Western Cape we have found a Hyundi sedan to be most adequate, but in Namibia last November we found a Toyota Hilux 4/4 more comfortable on the roads, which were mostly gravel but well maintained .

So as you are 'a local' I value your opinion on the real state of the roads in KwaZulu, can they really be that bad in the main tourist areas?

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Namibia
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5. Re: Driving route suggestions.

They are fine Gem (have been many times to KZN ) a 4 x 4 is very expensive but last year I wanted to explore Kosi Bay which requires that for the coastal reserves, but a normal sedan is fine.

Howick, South Africa
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6. Re: Driving route suggestions.

Hi gem166,

Generally, the roads around here are in pretty good condition - including the gravel roads. Potholes are becoming a bit of problem though - except on the freeways (the N*) roads. And some of them are quite big and deep (watch out if it's been raining as they're full of water and you don't know how deep they are). Major town's roads haven't suffered as much (or have been fixed quicker); just concentrate on the road ahead though and you'll be fine.

Around Isandlwana though the roads are more small rocks than gravel; we have a 4X4 and struggled to get out of second gear on occasion. Many people were in normal sedan cars and got around quite easily (if bounced around a fair amount ! )

Leigh-on Sea...
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7. Re: Driving route suggestions.

many thanks everyone, I'll check out the price difference as soon as the flights come on sale for Fe. 2015

8. Re: Driving route suggestions.

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