Places to stop on the way to Durban from Johannesburg

Located on South Africa’s east coast, Durban is hailed for its gorgeous seafront Golden Mile promenade, surfing beaches, and uShaka Marine World. Not to mention the deliciously spicy cuisine that stems from its large Indian population.

Joshua Woroniecki from Pixabay

People often turn to Cape Town for a popular seaside getaway, but Durban’s charms lie in its pleasant weather and the warm Indian ocean. Not to mention the fact that even the coldest weather doesn’t drop below 17 degrees Celcius. It’s easy to see what makes this city such a great attraction, especially for city-dwellers looking for a quick local getaway.

However, it’s often expressed that the best part of arriving at a destination is the journey it takes to get there. And the route to Durban is one captivated by scenic views, friendly locals, breathtaking natural landmarks, and great tasting South African cuisine. 

Image by Dale Botha from Pixabay

This trip is perfect year-round, thanks to the warm, humid climate of South Africa’s east coast. So leave your winter gloves behind, pack in your swimsuit and get ready for the exciting local road trip that dreams are made of.

Distance From Johannesburg To Durban

Durban is a great destination when working with time constraints. A flight across is especially quick and convenient. But there’s something special about taking your time to fully appreciate the scenic route ahead. 

The distance between Johannesburg and Durban is approximately 568 kilometres. Without making any lengthy pit stops or detours, it can take around six hours by car. 

When embarking on the N3 to Durban, travellers will pass popular landmarks and destinations. These include the Suikerbosrand Nature Reserve, the tiny town of Ladysmith and iconic Drakensberg Mountains

Road Tripping From Joburg To Durban – 5 Spots Where You Can Stop

The thrill of road tripping from one city to another is unmatched. Nothing beats being able to experience the landscape around you changing as you move along from one town to the next. 

As citizens, local travelling is something that should be on every bucket list. Not only does it contribute to our own economy, but you’ll find that a vacation in your home town can easily compete with the appeal of a foreign country. 

1) Suikerbosrand Nature Reserve

Home to over 200 different bird species and a number of wild animals, the Suikerbosrand Nature Reserve should be your first stop after leaving the city. This protected area is one of Gauteng’s most-visited ecotourism destinations and is located almost 50 kilometres outside of Johannesburg.

2) Intabazwe 

Located 265 kilometres outside of Johannesburg, Intabazwe is a little Zulu town in Harrismith. With a decent selection of eateries and accommodation, it’s a great place to put your feet up and soak up the rural lifestyle.

3) The Drakensberg

Around 270 kilometres outside of Johannesburg lies the iconic Drakensberg, where you can find the highest mountains in all of South Africa. Near the striking mountain range, you can also find a broad range of nature-based activities, eateries and accommodation. 

The list is endless. Whether you’re travelling solo or with a partner and kids, there are plenty of things to do in the Drakensberg area. This makes it a one-stop-shop for anyone on the road. 

Image by Margy Sneeden from Pixabay

4) The Midlands

The famous Midlands Meander in Kwa-Zulu Natal is a collection of tourist routes that offer great-tasting cuisine and welcoming accommodation. As well as arts and crafts activities for the whole family. 

Depending on when you decide to pay a visit, there are also a number of events taking place in the area. From wine tastings to public holiday celebrations, it may be a good idea to include a stop at one of the events when planning your road trip itinerary.

5) Clarens

Affectionately nicknamed ‘the Jewel of the Eastern Free State’, this pleasant town is a key stopover point along the scenic Highlands route. 

Just over 300 kilometres outside of Johannesburg, a detour to this picturesque place will take you to the foothills of the Maluti Mountains. The dreamy appeal of a small town is just what you need when taking a breather from the city. 

While city-to-city road trips are spectacular, it’s also amazing to explore small towns in South Africa.

Petrol Station Pitstops On The N3 Route Map

With all this ground to cover, you’re going to need a little break every now and then to stretch your legs and fill up your petrol tank. The N3 route’s petrol stations are relatively frequent and well-spaced, and we’ll show you where some of the best stops are. 

Image by andreas160578 from Pixabay
  • Vaal Engen 1 Stop  – Located off the N3 highway, 113 kilometres outside of Johannesburg, is the first and biggest pitstop of your trip. The Engen Vaal Stop 1 East-West is a great place to stretch your legs, run to the loo, and stock up on padkos for the rest of the drive!
  • Puma Service Station – Located 218 kilometres outside of Johannesburg and just over 100 kilometres from the previous stop is the Puma Warden Service Station. With the Warden Jamaat Khana just around the corner, it’s a great place for any Muslim travellers looking for a place to stop by and pray. 
  • Tugela Engen 1 Stop – Another 112 kilometres from the Puma Service Station, and almost 400 kilometres outside of Johannesburg, is the Engen Tugela One-Stop South. This pitstop is just after the Tugela Toll Plaza, so once you reach this point, you’re pretty much halfway there. 
  • Midway Motors (3149) – Located on Lowlands Road near Estcourt, this station is 403 kilometres from Johannesburg and less than 200 kilometres from Durban! 
  • Engen Haffejees Service Station – Located only 80 kilometers away from your final destination, this station is likely your last stop before your arrival in Surf City. 
  • The Windmill Engen 1 Stop – Located at the N3 Nottingham Road offramp, Exit 132, this is a great spot to stop for a bit to eat at The Midlands Kitchen which offers a collection of 15 new restaurants serving 135 new flavours of food and drink to tantalise your taste buds. There’s also plenty of space for the kids to run and play in the outdoor play area.

 

Wrapping Up Your Road Trip To Durban

Once you’ve arrived safely at your gorgeous seaside destination, it means that your road trip has sadly come to an end. But your journey into wonderful Durban has only just begun. 

Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay

Experiencing rich cultures, eating delicious food, and admiring the natural beauty of this gorgeous route serves as a tasteful introduction of what’s to come. There is so much more to do and see in Surf City, but it doesn’t hurt to enjoy everything else along the way too. 

You can plan this road trip over the course of a few hours or even several days. Either way, you’re sure to find a number of picturesque and fun-filled pitstops where you can stretch your legs and make some memories. 

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Kathryn Rossiter

Kathryn is a South African lifestyle blogger and mom of 2 who has been blogging daily for over 9 years! She writes about travel, health, beauty, fashion, decor and family... but not food (unless it's food she's eaten made by someone else) as she is a hopeless cook. She only wakes up early for 2 things... a red-eye flight to somewhere exotic and early morning game drives. She has just finished an extensive home renovation and would prefer to never see another box again. She's never met a chocolate or glass of bubbles that she didn't like!

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