It may be virtually unknown outside the Western Cape but Route 62 is one of the most scenic and interesting drives in South Africa; it's also home to the longest wine route in the country. An inland, often mountainous road that was the historical link between Cape Town and Port Elizabeth, Route 62 is today favoured by self-drive travellers heading for the Garden Route but seeking a slightly shorter but far more attractive alternative to the unremarkable stretch of highway between Cape Town and George, the town regarded as the start of the Garden Route.
Route 62 winds its way through some of the Western Cape’s most beautiful and diverse countryside - expect dramatic mountain passes and fertile valleys, frontier villages and sprawling wine estates. Characterized by friendly locals, historic towns, affordable accommodation and a host of outdoor activities, a Route 62 holiday will provide plenty of memorable holiday experiences.
Starting an hour's drive from Cape Town, Route 62 meanders inland before reaching the fertile Breede River Valley whose convoluted mountains surround a maze of vineyards with a long history of wine making. Here you'll find the picturesque farming town of Robertson, sitting at the foot of the Langeberg Mountains which form the heart of Route 62. Vineyards thrive in Robertson’s hot, dry climate and lime-rich soil, and its fertile wine estates produce some of South Africa’s best known wines.
Route 62 then passes through Montagu, a charming rural town tucked away between two mountain ranges and gateway to the Little Karoo. A leisurely wander through the village will reveal its beautiful historic buildings and national monuments while its hot mineral springs will leave visitors feeling rejuvenated for the rest of their journey.
A slight detour from Route 62 takes you to Swellendam, a quaint town whose wide streets are lined with fine Cape Dutch and Victorian buildings as well as many friendly guest houses, coffee shops and restaurants.
Route 62 then enters the Little Karoo, an expansive semi-desert whose name means 'hard and dry' in the indigenous Khoisan language. At the heart of this landscape lies Sanbona Wildlife Reserve, home to the Big 5, extraordinary flora and Khoisan rock art, all of which make a visit well worth considering.
From the Little Karoo, visitors can then choose to either cut across through mountain passes to the beaches and forests of the Garden Route or continue along Route 62 to its final destination - the coastal town of Port Elizabeth.
At a Glance
An inland alternative to the Garden Route, Route 62 is an easy self-drive destination and combines wine tasting with stunning mountain scenery and traditional Cape villages.