Travelling by Car on the National Roads from Johannesburg to Gqeberha (Port Elizabeth)


Port Elizabeth recently changed its name (on 24 February 2021) to Gqeberha, which coincided with our trip down to the windy city.

Land Rover Defender 110 in front of Port Elizabeth/ Cape Town sign post on the N1 Highway in South Africa
Photo Credits Ziyaad Plaatjes


The distance from Johannesburg to Gqeberha is 1068km and according to Google Maps, it takes 10 hours and 20 minutes to travel by car on the fastest route via the National toll roads.

The calculated duration of the journey is provided that you travel the speed limit without any stops. But you would need to stop at least every 2 hours to freshen up and stretch your legs.

There are plenty rest stops along the way on the national highway; and there are also fuel stations which have restrooms, convenience stores and restaurants/ take-away diners to visit.

Verkeerdevlei Plaza
Photo Credits Nabihah Plaatjes


If you are travelling along the N1 national highway be prepared for the 3 toll gates:

  • Grasmere Plaza R21.50
  • Vaal Plaza R69.50
  • Verkeerdevlei Plaza R59.50

Prices are as at 26 February 2021.

The toll gates can be avoided and according to Google the journey will now be slightly longer with a distance of 1101km, and it should take you just over 11 hours to complete.

We stopped at Caltex Sulla Via Star Stop in Ventersdorp to re-fuel, and to read Salaah (Pray).

Caltex Sulla Via Star Stop, Ventersdorp
Photo Credits Ziyaad Plaatjes


The Land Rover Defender 110 P400 s which we were travelling in required 93 unleaded fuel, which was R15.64 a litre (price as at 26 February 2021).

There are no prayer (salaah) facilities on the premises, so we prayed next to our car.

We had left Johannesburg quite late, just after 10:00. At about 16:00 we felt it might be risky to travel straight through to PE, as it was our first time traveling along this route and we would be travelling through the night.

We decided to check online for accommodation in Cradock as we estimated that we would reach the town between 18:30 and 19:00.

After doing our check of a few places, we decided to contact Die Hoekhuis. Fortunately for us, there was a room available at the 3 room guest house.

Land Rover Defender 110 in front of Cradock sign post
Photo Credits Ziyaad Plaatjes

We arrived at Die Hoekhuis in Cradock at 18:20 and we were welcomed by a warm and friendly host, Jackie.

The overnight stay was just what we needed at Die Hoekhuis and we were refreshed to continue our journey to Gqeberha.

We resumed our travels on the morning of 27th February 2021 to Gqeberha.

According to Google Maps we had to still travel 251km more to our destination, and it was calculated that we would be on the road for about 2 hours and 45 minutes.

We would need to refuel before leaving.

Shell Cradock Service Station
Photo Credits Nabihah Plaatjes


On JA Calata Street (Stockenstroom Street), one of the main roads in Cradock is the Cradock Musallah (Mosque/ Masjid), as well as the Shell Cradock Service Station which we re-fuelled at, before leaving.

The 95 unleaded fuel at Shell cost us R15.47 a litre (price as at 27 February 2021)

The Staff at Shell Cradock were very friendly and helpful. Mark, the owner of the Service Station, also came out and spent some time chatting to us and each of his customers who passed through his fuel station.

A warning to be cautious when travelling on the roads from Cradock to Gqeberha.

Although it is a shorter distance, the roads are not as straight as the ones from Johannesburg to Cradock, so it was a blessing that we did not attempt to travel them at night.

There are many trucks along the road and some brave souls who try and overtake these trucks on the winding roads. 

We arrived at the Courtyard Hotel Port Elizabeth in Summerstrand around 12:30, after leaving Cradock just after 09:00.

Courtyard Hotel Port Elizabeth Entrance taken from inside Land Rover Defender 110
Photo Credits Nabihah Plaatjes


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Ziyaad Plaatjes is the Co-Founder of

He is a Bachelor of Commerce Honours graduate and has been running businesses since the age of 13. Ziyaad is a registered Financial Advisor, but has taken on many roles in various industries over the years. With his entrepreneurial skills and vast knowledge he assists individuals and businesses to grow and achieve their goals.  

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 #iloveza❤️🇿🇦 #AfterFajrGrind Accolades:

2021 Winner of Brand South Africa's Nation Pride Play Your Part Award

2018 Winner of Tech Savvy Boss Award at the Roshgold Young Business Achiever Award

Nabihah Plaatjes Accolades:

2018 Contributing Author to SAFFRON: A Collection of Personal Narratives

2017 Recipient of Owami Women & Brand South Africa's Play Your Part Award

Ziyaad Plaatjes Accolades:

2021 Mail & Guardian Top 200 Young South Africans: Arts, Entertainment, Film & Media 

2020 Contributing Author to There's a Story in Everyone

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