Discover the ultimate road trip from Jozi


Johannesburg offers great access to Africa, with relatively affordable short haul flights linking to anywhere on the continent and all major South African cities.

But you really don’t have to stray too far from Jozi by road to quench your thirst for travel (simultaneously avoiding crowded airports!). You can drive just a few hours – being sure to stop and take everything in – to experience some of the most spectacular sites that South Africa has to offer.

The city is within easy driving range from the likes of the Kruger National Park, the Drakensberg Mountains, the Cradle of Humankind, and much more. But next time you have a yearning to head out of the city, consider the Free State.

Where to find freedom in the Free State

Just a few hours from Jozi is the quaint artistic town of Clarens. It is known as the “jewel of the eastern Free State” and it’s an ideal base to start your adventure.

From Clarens, you have easy access to explore the Golden Gate Highlands National Park, Basotho Cultural Village, and the “Mountain Kingdom” of Lesotho via self-drive or guided tour.

The town itself is packed with restaurants, cafes, crafty shops, and art galleries, and there is a vast range of adventure activities on offer in the area.

Another three hours of driving from Clarens takes you to Bloemfontein, the birthplace of Lord of the Rings author J.R.R.Tolkien (and potentially the original inspiration for Middle Earth?). It’s also SA’s judicial capital and has many historic sites worth visiting.

Head back via Parys, a few hours along the N1 from Bloemfontein – and from there it’s just an hour to get you back to your starting point of Johannesburg.


Where to eat:

  • The Clarens Brewery Brew-Pub serves up a variety of German sausages, served in rolls, on their own, or on a platter – all with pickles and relishes. Other menu items include meatballs and goulash. And don’t forget to try the beer!
  • The Longhorn Grill in Bloemfontein, “the home of sizzling grills and legendary steaks”, is loved by tourists and locals alike. The restaurant has been voted the best steakhouse in the area by locals many times since it opened in 2009. Start with marrow bones, chili poppers, chicken wings, or calamari. Move on to mains including salads, seafood, succulent steaks, schnitzels, chops or a good old plate surf and turf. Finish it all off with malva pudding, crème brulee, or death by chocolate. You will not leave hungry.

Where to explore:

  • No trip to Clarens and surrounds is complete without visiting the Golden Gate Highlands National Park. Located in the Maluti Mountains, the park has many hiking routes to explore the beautiful nature reserve. You can also take a game drive, visit caves, take a tour of the Basotho Cultural Village, or go abseiling, canoeing, horse riding, or simply enjoy the views.
  • Take a guided day tour to Lesotho with Maluti Tours. There are a variety of tours available, depending on which activity interests you – from catch-and-release fly fishing and pony trekking to skiing or cherry liqueur tasting. Tours range from day trips to overnight or two-night stays.
  • The beautiful Bon-Af Berry Farm is just off the N1outside of Parys. Dating back to 1839, the farm is a “must visit destination” if you’re in the area. From the end of November to the end of March you can pick a variety of berries seven days a week, even on public holidays. You’ll be able to fill a tub with gooseberries, blackberries, raspberries, blueberries, black currants, or elderberries. You can also take a tour through the orchard.

Where to stay:

  • Protea Hotel by Marriott Clarens is a four-star retreat located in the foothills of the Maluti Mountains, surrounded by multi-colored cliffs of sandstone. The luxury hotel blends in with Clarens’ tranquil, magical landscape and is a haven for artists, eco-lovers, and all tourists looking for a space to relax and enjoy the area.
  • Protea Hotel Bloemfontein Willow Lake is the only hotel in SA located in a zoo. From the moment you check in, the exclusive patio area gives you breathtaking views of the Bloemfontein Zoo. The hotel is also easily accessible from the N1 highway, and within walking distance of many amenities and attractions.

All these amazing places and experiences could be yours: book now for the first step on a Johannesburg road trip adventure: