Recently updated on August 13th, 2023 at 01:44 pm
They say life is about the journey, not the destination. So if you’re feeling the call of the open road, it’s time to head off on an epic road trip down Route 62, the longest wine route in the world. After catching a glimpse of the stunning South African countryside, you’ll quickly understand why Route 62 from Cape Town is one of the best road trips in the world.
Route 62 takes you from the Western Cape to the Eastern Cape of South Africa. You’ll begin your Route 62 adventure in vibrant Cape Town and end in Port Elizabeth, with 750km of beautiful mountains, charming towns and stellar wineries in between. It can be driven in two days, but why not join us on Trafalgar’s new 7-day Garden Route Explorer. We’ll take you across the scenic route, with stops at local towns, farms and hotels all the way. You’ll even get to meet the locals and learn all about the fascinating history of Route 62.
Where to go and what to see on Route 62
Route 62 kicks off in Cape Town, where you’ll be spoilt for choice with some of the world’s best wine farms in the lush wine-making suburb of Constantia. Be sure to stop by Groot Constantia Homestead and Wine, the oldest wine producing estate in South Africa. It’s a 17th-century wine estate with a manor house furnished with 18th and 19th-century pieces and collections of carriages and drinking vessels. After checking out Constantia, it’s time to hit the open road and discover the beautiful mountains, superb wines, and friendly towns along Route 62.
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After Cape Town, your first stop along the famous South Africa wine route could easily be the town of Paarl, known as the pearl of the Cape Winelands. It’s the largest town in the Cape Winelands, the third oldest town in South Africa, and a wine lover’s dream.
Paarl is famed for its full-bodied reds and crisp whites, and Shiraz is the most popular varietal from the area. Stop and check out a few wineries like Black Pearl Wines, Nederburg Wines, Boland Kelder, Rhebokskloof Wine Estate and Fairview, where they also offer delicious specialty cheese.
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N1 Highway and beyond
As you travel along the N1 highway, you’ll also pass through pretty wine towns like Stellenbosch and Franschhoek. Here you’ll find grand Dutch architecture and centuries-old vineyards.
Make a stop in nearby Worcester, located in the heart of the Breede River Valley. You’ll get to soak up the spectacular mountain views, explore the cellars and do some more wine tasting. You’ll then veer off onto the quieter R44 and R46 roads, which will take you through the towns of Tulbagh, Ceres and Wellington. Here you should stop into Diemersfontein Wine & Country Estate.
Once you pass these towns, you’ll get onto the R60 and journey through the gorgeous fruit-growing towns of Robertson, Ashton, McGregor and Montagu. Each town has a unique character and you can visit quirky bars, taste the local produce and admire the beautiful views of the mountain passes.
We’ll take you driving along Du Toit’s Kloof Pass, past the vineyards of Rawsonville to Route 62, where we’ll cruise through some of the fruit and wine towns in the Breede River Valley. Be sure to sample some of the delicious homemade chutneys, pies and melktert (South African dessert) at the Affie Plaas Farmstall.
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The town of Robertson is famed for its Klipdrift distillery, one of the most famous South African brandies. You can taste a selection of Klipdrift brandies at the distillery, or head to Excelsior Wine Estate for some excellent wine-tasting. Other great wineries to visit in the area include De Wetshof Estate, Graham Beck Wines and Springfield Wine Estate.
Stop by Breede River where you can paddle past vineyards along a six-kilometre stretch of picturesque river scenery. It’s calm enough for beginner rafters, but there’s also a fun dose of whitewater action along the river. If you’re interested in the flowers of the region, head to the nearby Karoo National Botanical gardens, located at the base of the Hex River Mountain Range. You’ll find a stunning display of indigenous arid and semi-arid flora including succulents and vygies.
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When you travel Route 62 with Trafalgar, we’ll make a stop at Montagu Country Hotel, the only art deco-style hotel in South Africa. You’ll get to meet the current owner and chat about the legendary original owner – the hotelier Gert Lubbe who put Route 62 on the map as a popular tourist destination.
You’ll also discover an incredible land of orchards and vineyards in Montagu, located at the western frontier of the Klein Karoo. The fertile valleys produce some of South Africa’s best wines and have a distinctive flavour that’s unique to Montagu. After sampling a glass of muscadel (the region’s famous sweet fruity wine), take a dip in the Avalon Hot Springs. It’s a great way to soothe any aching muscles on your journey. If you’re up for more action, you’ll also find hiking, mountain biking and horseback riding in Montagu.
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Set at the foot of the Langeberg Mountains and home to all kinds of local arts and crafts, you can’t miss visiting charming Barrydale. You’ll get to show your support for the local businesses of Barrydale when we make a stop here.
You might also like to stop at the Joubert-Tradauw wine farm in the Tradauw valley near Barrydale and try some Klein Karoo tapas. The tapas are made up of cheeses, olives, fruit, nuts and chicken wings served with homemade relish. You can also try South African dishes like bobotie and biltong salad, all washed down with the farm’s wine. Don’t miss the Joubert-Tradauw R62 2013, an oak matured red wine named after Route 62.
Be sure to make a stop at Ronnie’s Sex Shop on your way from Barrydale to Calitzdorp. This iconic landmark of Route 62 is actually a pub. Legend has it that the owner, Ronnie, tried to set up a farm stall selling local produce. His friends played a prank on Ronnie and changed the store sign to read ‘Ronnie’s Sex Shop’. He never took the sign down and today it’s a fun pub with quirky décor, friendly hospitality and ice-cold drinks.
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Next up is Calitzdorp, famed as the Port Capital of South Africa with award-winning port-style wines and stunning wineries. We’ll be sure to give you a taste of the town’s local delicacies at the De Krans Wine Cellar. It’s been owned by the Nel family for over 130 years and they’re famed for original wines like the De Krans espresso.
Calitzdorp is a traditional Karoo dorpie (small town) and a great place to stretch your legs and go exploring. You’ll find quintessential Karoo dwellings scattered amongst restored Victorian and Georgian buildings, while the sandstone neo-Byzantine church is the architectural highlight of the town.
One of the last stops on Route 62 is Oudtshoorn, the ostrich capital of the world. You can find all kinds of ostrich products in the town, while the wineries offer plenty of wine tasting opportunities. If you prefer beer over wine, head to Karusa Vineyard, famed for having the first full grain microbrewery in Klein Karoo, with several popular craft beers, plus wine-tasting and tapas.
If you’re after some adventure, head to the nearby Cango Caves, the oldest attraction in South Africa. You can learn about the history of these ancient mineral formations and go caving through the chambers, lined with hanging crystals and stalagmites.
And what better way to get to know more about Oudtshoorn’s ostrich farming culture than with Trafalgar’s unique ‘Stays with Stories’ experience. You’ll spend the night at La Plume Guest House, a Victorian homestead from the 1900s. It’s set on a working ostrich, cattle and alfalfa farm with stunning views of the Swartberg Mountains. You’ll even get to join the owners, Bartel and Karin du Toit, for dinner and get to know more about life on a real South African farm.
Swartberg Mountain Pass
Even Route 62 saves the best for last. The drive along the Swartberg Mountain Pass between Oudtshoorn and Prince Albert is the most breathtaking part of the route. The journey makes for a stunning end to your journey, with striking landscapes and panoramic views. After making it through the pass, you’ll arrive in Port Elizabeth, the final stop of the extraordinary Route 62.
Are you dreaming of a road trip on Route 62 from Cape Town? Let us know in the comments below…