South Africa's most famous road trip
Cape Town's reputation for great food and wine is no exaggeration, and the value is fantastic for foreign travellers.
Whether it be shark diving or ski diving, Cape Town has it. There are less extreme activities on offer however.
Along this route you can find a selection of game reserves so you can get your Big 5 fix.
When arriving in Cape Town, we'd recommend you could spend the first few days of your trip exploring the Western Cape before setting off along the Garden Route. In this region you have the Cape Winelands, where you can tour vineyards to sample the region’s finest wines. You’ll also find excellent food in the towns of Franschhoek and Stellenbosch (the latter is the country’s second-oldest town). Cape Town also has beaches, is a cultural paradise and is home toTable Mountain. There's a lot to do and it's a great place to relax and unwind.
An hour and a half’s drive from Cape Town is Hermanus, known as South Africa’s whale-watching capital. Between June and October, you can head out on boat trips to see migratory southern right whales, or even spot them from the coastal path that winds along the cliffs of Walker Bay.
Made up of a collection of villages, farms, rivers, bays, coves and valleys, the Cape Whale Coast is a pristine stretch of the South African coastline which runs from the town of Rooiels for roughly 150km, to the east. Next we stop at the largest breeding colony of the African Penguin, Stony Point Nature Reserve. An hour and a half’s drive from Cape Town is Hermanus, known as South Africa’s whale-watching capital. Between June and October, you can head out on boat trips to see migratory southern right whales, or even spot them from the coastal path that winds along the cliffs of Walker Bay.
From Hermanus, drive an hour and a half East, or two and a half hours east of Cape Town and the Winelands, and you reach Swellendam. This small, unassuming town is one of the oldest Dutch settlements in the country and still has examples of Cape Dutch architecture. A couple of museums document the town’s history, but really your stay here is about relaxing and exploring the surrounding countryside.
Drive for two hours toward the coast and the landscape changes dramatically. Everything is greener and fresher as you leave the semi-desert and mountains behind and reach the craggy coastline.You eventually hit the town of Knysna, hemmed in-between its forest and lagoon. Here, streets are lined with cafés, shops and art galleries, and intimate guesthouses sit along the water’s edge.
Probably the best-known place along the Garden Route, Plettenberg Bay is also popular with wealthy South Africans, many of whom have second homes here. There’s the bay’s long, pristine sweep of sandy beach, where the water is usually calm enough for swimming. The cliffs of the Robberg Peninsula form a backdrop, and walking the trails that weave through the Robberg Nature Reserve gives you the opportunity to get close to Cape fur seals and glimpse dolphins offshore. And, the town itself feels laid-back and unpretentious.
After Tsitsikamma, you continue eastward for about two and a half hours to the city of Port Elizabeth. From its airport, you can fly up to Johannesburg for international flights. But, if you have time, I’d definitely add in a few nights on safari in the Eastern Cape game areas. You can choose from a cluster of parks and private game reserves, all between one and two hours away.
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