South Africa is a great place to do a road trip and the Garden Route is one of the best for self-drivers. Well-maintained roads, modern infrastructure and lots of options for refreshments and accommodation make it popular with visitors year-round. This itinerary idea offers a classic route, starting in Cape Town and ending with an Eastern Cape Big 5 safari, taking in the inimitable Garden Route in between.
This journey has been broken up into manageable chunks so you arrive at your hotel or lodge with plenty of time and energy to explore the surrounding area and make the most of your driving holiday. Couples and families can both enjoy the variety of landscapes, activities and experiences this itinerary offers.
As a born-and-bred South Africa, I’ve lived in the Western Cape, Gauteng and the Free State. We have so much to offer: you can explore several different ecosystems just within our borders. It’s exciting to go from sub-tropical beaches to adventures the wild Atlantic coast – and the sensational Big 5 game viewing is definitely the cherry on the cake!
It’s time to live like a true Capetonian and experience South Africa’s oldest city as a local. It starts with collecting your rental car from the airport and driving to More Quarters, a small hotel at the base of world-famous Table Mountain. Rooms here are all fitted with mini-kitchens, ideal if you’re travelling with small children.
With your own car, you’re free to come and go as you like: the Winelands, Boulders Beach and Cape Point are all calling.
After four nights in Cape Town, it’s back on the road through rolling farmland to Swellendam. This old town has retained much of its 1700s charm with original buildings, wide streets and laid back atmosphere. Your home for the night is Schoone Oordt, a boutique hotel in an established garden with fountains and a swimming pool.
Although you’re only here for a short time, do try for a walk through the town, soaking up a unique slice of the Western Cape.
After a hearty breakfast, rejoin the road for your next stop. The highway turns towards the sea and you’re soon driving past the azure waves of the Indian Ocean and forests of the Garden Route.
Knysna is one of the crown jewels of the Garden Route, with its lagoon setting. For three days, you can explore animal sanctuaries, enjoy fresh oysters, go on boat cruises and see other towns like Plettenberg Bay, all from your base at The Turbine Boutique Hotel.
It’s always great to end on a high and your final stop promises just that. After leaving Knysna, you turn inland for the undulating safari landscapes of the Eastern Cape. Unique in wildlife destinations because of the natural thicket and Afromontane forest, it offers rewarding sightings of the Big 5.
Your bed awaits at Kariega Main Lodge in the Kariega Private Game Reserve. After coming so far, you get to sit back and let the guide drive while you enjoy game watching.
What a wonderful road trip you will have had, filled with friendly accommodation, new adventures and hopefully great memories. Cape Town, Swellendam, Knysna and Kariega would each have shown you a different side to South Africa’s southern coastline and given you a new appreciation for how diverse the country is.
Today you’re back in the driver’s seat for the trip to Chief Dawid Stuurman International Airport in Gqeberha where, on the flight to Cape Town, you’ll retrace your steps by air.
All activities specified
All transfers specified
All meals, drinks and sundowners specified
Laundry if specified
Items from the safari shop
Pre- and post-itinerary accommodation
Medical insurance, tests and vaccinations where stipulated
Tips / gratuities
* Subject to change. Your personal consultant will confirm all the details with you while helping you plan your safari to Africa so you have a full understanding of costs with no surprises.
PRICE IS IMPORTANT
This itinerary is here to inspire you and prices may change due to availability, season and the year that you plan to travel.