In this latest article in an ongoing South Africa series, Elite Traveler brings you its essential Panorama Route guide.
South Africa is a vast and beautiful place. From the amazing safari parks in the northeast to the cosmopolitan city of Cape Town in the southwest, it is one of the most diverse countries in the world.
Away from the cultural capital and the big five lies a lesser-known slither of paradise called The Panorama Route. This 120-mile stretch of road is not only steeped in South African cultural history but links many of its most amazing natural wonders.
The best way to explore it is a self-driving tour, so Elite Traveler brings you some top tips for planning your trip.
The Panorama Route basics
The Panorama Route officially begins just outside the small town of Lydenburg, but most tourists begin their journey by renting a car in Johannesburg 200 miles to the west.
Set aside a day just to complete this journey and spend the rest recuperating in Lydenburg, a historic town home to the mysterious Lydenburg heads: hollow terracotta sculptures that date back 1,500 years.
The route takes in a number of storied towns and they are all worth your time, particularly Pilgrim’s Rest. The former gold-mining town has been restored to its former glory and is now a classified national monument. Visitors can get a sense of what life was like during the gold rush of the 1800s when 1,500 prospectors descended on the town in search of a life-changing fortune.
However, the reason most people travel all of this way is to see the plethora of natural wonders, the sweeping views from mountain tops and ancient caves. The Panorama Route has more of these than some entire countries. So, what are the top sites to see? Click through to see our top picks.