Enjoy a wonderful breakfast at the hotel before packing your bags once more.
Today you can look forward to some exciting and dramatic stretches of road, starting right away just outside Calitzdorp.
Instead of returning to the R62 straight to Oudtshoorn, divert onto what the Rough Guide accurately describes as “one of the best drives you’ll ever do in South Africa” – through the Groenfontein Valley.
The tarmac gives way to dirt road not long out of Calitzdorp, but there is nothing that a regular sedan can’t handle.
The twisting, narrow road passes through the foothills of the Swartberg mountains, crossing streams and passing Karoo farms, homes and a properly off-the-grid retreat.
The whitewashed cottages are typical of the area.
Allow enough time to enjoy the views and stop for photos – it’s a magical journey. I didn’t see a single person or vehicle on my trip.
Rejoin the tar at the R62 to Oudtshoorn, known as the ostrich capital of the world. There are plenty of farms where you can learn about this strange bird – Africa’s biggest.
Now it’s time to bid farewell to the R62, which continues almost all the way to Jeffreys Bay in the Eastern Cape.
But another highlight of this road trip is found less than an hour north of Oudtshoorn – the Swartberg Pass. Considered one of the finest mountain passes in the world, the Swartberg Pass is an untarred road that winds to the summit 1,585 metres above sea level in steep zig-zags and sudden switchbacks with breathtaking views at every turn.
The Pass is a 27 km-long gravel road with steep inclines. In good weather, such as when I visited, the road can be tackled with any vehicle. Take your time and drive slowly where the road is rough.
The Pass was constructed between 1881 and 1886 as part of a drive by the government of the day to open reliable routes between the interior and the coast.
It takes about an hour to drive the entire length of the Pass but allow plenty of time for photos and simply taking in the scenery at viewpoints.
You can explore more about the history and stories of the Swartberg Pass at the Fransie Pienaar Museum in Prince Albert (your overnight stop) where there is an entire exhibition on the construction of the Pass.
The drive is an amazing experience.
From the end of the pass you have just 10 minutes more on the (eventually asphalt) road to reach your last overnight destination in the Karoo, Prince Albert.
Situated at the foot of the Swartberg Mountain range amidst spectacular scenery, Prince Albert enjoys a perennial water supply in this arid region – though regular drought conditions mean that water conservation is a way of life.
The climate is superb with an extremely high number of sunny days each year, spectacular night skies and pure clean air.
Built in the 18th century, the town is a well preserved gem, with beautifully preserved Cape Dutch, Karoo and Victorian buildings. Seventeen are listed as local provincial heritage sites.
Prince Albert is the perfect base for exploring the Swartberg region (much of which is part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site). The Garden Route resorts and beaches are just two hours south by road.
The town also offers many outdoor activities such as hiking, mountain biking, fossil-walks, birding and botanical trails. It is well known for its sun-ripened fresh and dried fruit, especially figs and apricots, and Karoo lamb, olives, olive oil and handmade cheeses are all local specialities.
Check in to your hotel and enjoy Prince Albert – whether you want to get active or just enjoy the slow pace of life.