Engen Vaal Stop 1
One of the biggest first stops on the N3 to Durban from Joburg is the Vaal 1 Stop East-West. Here you can stretch your legs, grab something to eat and fill the old jalopy up before you take on the big road.
Puma Service Station
Thandu Tau is a great place for a stop-over to turn your trip to the coast into a journey of discovery (read all about it below).
Tugela One Stop
Just before you get to Ladysmith you will see the Tugela One Stop. We suggest you take a break here, grab an energy drink, a loo break and chill a bit to keep you alert for the rest of the drive.
Morija Guest House
The large dining room and lounge of the main house can welcome up to 24 people and acts as a great detour off the N3. Visitors can choose from an extensive menu, a welcoming atmosphere, and their commitment to eco-tourism and integration in the community.
One would think that the best chocolate in South Africa would be at some shop in Sandton. But it is actually in an old antique shop in the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands. So head on over here to get your cocoa fix of artisanal chocolates. Chocolate Heaven uses traditional methods and the best ingredients in their pure couverture Belgian chocolate, free of all the artificial nasties.
Located in the serene Valley of 1000 Hills, Intaba View overlooks the Phezulu Nature Reserve. Their views are reason alone to detour there, but they also serve delicious food. They are open all week for breakfast and lunch. They also offer al fresco dining on their patio but we’d rather stay indoors by the warm fireplace in winter.
Places To Sleep
Right next to the N3 highway you will find one of the most prominent stops for travelers en route to Durban from Johannesburg. At Thandu Tau, snuggled up in the Free State, you’ll discover a unique combination of South African art and culture while relishing in a variety of dining experiences and the opportunity to interact with their majestic wildlife … just stay away from those with the big teeth and big claws (you’ve been warned!). With a unique blend of luxury and the natural environment, Thanda Tau aims to deliver a truly holistic South African experience to a wide variety of travelers.
Points Of Interest
Suikerbosrand Nature Reserve
One of the most popular nature reserves in the country, the Suikerbosrand Nature Reserve is home to over 200 bird species and boasts creatures all the way from the aardvark to the zebra. The reserves also have a holiday resort which has a massive pool, two water slides and an indoor heated pool. There are a couple of dedicated hiking, mountain biking and running trails as well.
Two turns off the N3 you will find a little Zulu town called Intabazwe in Harrismith. Here you can rest your bones and catch up on all the Zulu history you’ve missed. There are a handful of B&Bs to stay at, friendly people to meet and tonnes of places to chill at… Just leave thoughts of city life behind though – this is a one-horse-town type of vibe. Besides, you have the rest of the year to get your metropolitan kicks in.
By Shawn Greyling