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Driving the longest uninterrupted gravel road in SA

The longest uninterrupted gravel road in South Africa is a drive that everybody should experience at least once.

Driving toursIt runs for 257kms, from Ceres in the Western Cape to Calvinia in the Northern Cape province. Besides accomplishing the journey, one also gets to enjoy and experience the numerous opportunities and adventures that lie between these two towns.

Before setting off, you need to check the condition of your tyres and make sure you have the necessary tools for repairing them, because you are bound to have a flat or two. Fill up your petrol tank, since there are no petrol stations for about 260kms.

This road can be rather slippery, so once you hit the gravel for the first time, drive slowly and within your capabilities. There have been many accidents and flat tyres – the gravel can be deceptively slippery and you will need to use all your driving skills.

“Deceptively slippery gravel, so best to take it easy..

About 103km’s down the road, you could take a detour to the Tankwa Karoo National Park, which is a great place to visit for a day or two. You’ll be mesmerised by the interesting pass and the unique Tankwa Karoo landscape. Alternatively, you could conquer the Ouberg Pass by taking the network of gravel roads leading towards Sutherland.

Your final option would be to proceed on the R355 and spend a night or two in a real oasis of a place, Die Mond – there is a short little detour to get there.

You will have to negotiate the Bloukrans Pass just before you reach the end of this extremely long gravel road. As you reach the top of the pass, you may struggle a little for traction, so make sure you are in the right gear.

Once you reach the top, stop and take a look back over the journey you have just experienced. The R355 appears to go on for ever as you look back. Shortly after this, you will join the tar road (R27) before arriving at Calvinia.

Relax and reward yourself at the local hotel for a night, where food is plentiful and the beers are cold. A well-deserved pat on the back is necessary – you have just driven the longest gravel road in Southern Africa.

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