East London - Bloemfontein - Harrismith
The shortest link between the provinces Eastern Cape and KwaZulu Natal is the N1 via Umtata and the former Transkei.
The alternative route through the Free State past Aliwal North, Bloemfontein, Bethlehem and Harrismith is markedly longer, yet not less attractive. If you intend to visit the highland parks in KwaZulu Natal, especially the Royal Natal National Park (see Johannesburg - Durban), this route is your best choice anyway.
The most beautiful stretch of the route begins in Ladybrand and runs through the Drakensberg Highlands region of the Free State, with the Golden Gate Highlands National Park as the highlight. There is accommodation in the park itself or in the picturesque little town of Clarens, a few kilometres away from Golden Gate.
Faster - though less attractive - is the stretch via Winburg and then on the N5 east to Bethlehem. In Harrismith you will reach the N3 in both cases. It leads to Gauteng (Johannesburg, Pretoria) in the north and Durban in the south.
Continuation: Johannesburg - Durban.