Free State R26 Maloti Route – Ladybrand to Zastron
Running mostly through the Motheo Region, the R26 Free State Maloti Route from Ladybrand to Zastron is all about attractive rural scenery, fairly bad roads and sleepy rural towns that take ‘not a whole lot happening here’ to a whole new level. A route on which to find your soul – as long as you are not driving, because if you are, you may be too busy avoiding potholes and other cars and bikes avoiding potholes…(as per various traveller blogs…)
The route ‘officially’ begins in Ladybrand, which by general traveller blog consensus is best passed through as it offers nothing particularly interesting for the traveller.
Then on to Hobhouse, ditto, and then the historically rich town of Wepener, where you can take a look at a very pretty and unique church and maybe some 150 year old graves that tell the story of long, bloody wars between the Boer settlers and the Basotho and the Boer settlers and the English.
From Wepener you can continue on to Zastron, or rather take our recommendation to visit the scenic Caledon Nature Reserve and stay if you can on one of the reserves floating camps. Take bedding and fishing gear for this one. You could also choose to camp at Van Stadensrus.
So, if the towns are all half empty, half asleep and the roads are bad, why take this route? The answer is the scenery. It may not be dazzling on a global scale, nor even on a National scale, but it is dazzlingly empty, and the Maloti Mountains on the horison are an ever present ‘wave hello’ from the magnificent Kingdom in the Sky next door – your optional next stop after Zastron, or after Ladybrand or Ficksburg if you do the Free State Maloti Route south to north.
In addition, the Wepener to Van Stadensrus part of the route is scenically lovely and well worth the trip.
If you are driving down from JHB via our recommended Self Drive Route, you will be including this route, after Ficksburg.
Options after Zastron include heading into Lesotho and then on to the Eastern Cape or the Kwa-Zulu Natal Drakensburg from there, or on to the Gariep Dam.
Note: A slightly confusing road detour on this route may throw you a bit – when you get to the turn off to Wepener, you will turn on the R702, but when you drive out the other side of Wepener, you are back on the R26…It’s as if the R26 took a Leap to the Left…
|More info on the quaint town of Zastron||More info on the Xhariep Region area|