Who doesn’t love a good road trip? Whether it’s just you, the road, and your favourite playlist. Or you’re with your favourite people escaping the city on a weekend, there’s a universal love of hitting the road. Since going on a memorable road trip is a favourite Bucket List item for many, we were stoked to hear the Epic road trip this family took!
Self-confessed steering-wheel junkie Varun and his partner in crime and wife of 6 years, Aarushi had done numerous road trips in India, including the one where they drove from Mumbai to Shimla. About 2 years ago, they relocated from India to South Africa with their toddler. While they did continue their passion for road trips around Jo’Burg, they had the itch to travel across the country. Opportunity soon knocked their door, Aarushi’s father visited them last month. Thus set out the adventurous foursome –
the 30 somethings couple, their 2 year old and their 68 year old father! It was an epic road trip that would cover 5500 kms!
Over 16 days, they drove through almost all terrains of South Africa – The Bushveld, The Highveld, Cape Mountains, Vineyards of the Cape, The Great Karoo, a part of The Great Kalahari Desert & the Orange River Oasis.
Varun shares with us golden moments from the Best Road trip of his life –
Nature in all its South African glory!
The Valley of Desolation was breathtaking – remembers Varun – a structure of piled dolerite columns formed over a period of 200 million years. And so were the unspoilt virgin forests of Tsisikama National Park and the Port Elizabeth Boardwalk.
For Bollywood fans, Varun highly recommends visiting the Muizenberg Beach where the ‘blue hai paani paani’ song was filmed.
But the foursome’s favourite part was where they scratched off ‘visiting the most south westerly point in Africa’ from their Travel Bucket List – the stunning view of the Cape of Good Hope, where the Atlantic Ocean meets the Indian.
History lessons on a road trip!
Varun could not NOT stop at the Motor Museum in Franschhoek – a town founded by French Huguenots settlers (hence the name, which means ‘French Corner’ in Dutch), who fled the inquisition in Europe and were looking for a little hide-out on the other side of the world.
And Aarushi’s father – Dr S P Bhardwaj – a retired Vice Chancellor & Entomologist by profession – had 2 must see places on his list:
- The Stellenbosch University – which designed and manufactured Africa’s first microsatellite the SUNSAT launched in 1999, and
- Beaufort West, which offers a glimpse of the Anglo-Boer War. The town has many interesting stories about the Boer-War that took place through this majestic landscape.
Pit Stops for Food & Wine…
What’s a road trip without stops for great food, wine and some ‘put-your-feet-up-and-relax’! Aarushi loved the Beachside Resort Town of Plettenburg Bay with pristine white sand beaches and the Legendary Seafood restaurant – the Lookout Deck.
The child friendly Hoek beach was great fun with their toddler, but their favourite was wine tasting and sleeping beneath the starlit skies in the middle of a fruit farm in Franschhoek (which by the way is the Culinary capital of South Africa!)
Survival Post Scripts from the drive
- The road etiquette of truck drivers was excellent and made the drive a lot easier. As did the fact that English was widely spoken through South Africa (benefits of colonisation :/)
- With their 2 year old toddler, they made sure they did not flirt with his nap times (ensured a smoother drive when he was awake).
- And of course, careful planning of the route!
Coming back to Jo’burg from their 16 day road trip, they celebrated with a 15 year old Laphroaig 🙂 …. this was clearly the most cherished road trip with their father and with their toddler. They strongly believe that such journeys give children experiences that no textbooks can offer. Dr Bhardwaj urges everyone to take such trips – as a family – no matter what your age, no matter which country. ‘In an age where people often use technology more than actual human interaction, such trips are a first hand experience of the world around us – together as a family.’
This road trip got them Broke and Exhausted, but richer nonetheless! Add your first or next road trip to the Itch List… Happy Travels!
Picture credits: Varun Cheemra, Dr Bhardwaj