We're starting our RtW trip in Jan next year, flying from Heathrow to Capetown with the intention of hiring a car and making our way down to Johannesburg over the course of a month.
We'd like a route that offers the most in terms of scenery, places of interest, animal reserves, vineyards(!), beaches and all the other good stuff that SA has to offer but that keeps wild deviations and detours to a minimum if possible.
Would any of you kind and experienced souls be able to offer us advice on where to visit and what not to miss? (Recommendations for cheap car hire in Cape Town would be gratefully received too )
Thanks in advance and best wishes,
Simple answer - contact any of the hostels on your arrival, they will assist with all the advice you need and organise car hire at good rates. Best to take the scenic route all along the Eastern coastline in a big circle to Jhb - PLENTY to see and do - GOOD luck
I agree with last post, from CapeTown do the garden route, then follow eastcoast via George, Port Elizabeth, etc as far as you want really, but dont miss out on the Drakensberg when heading for Jo'burg, some amazin scenery.... Prapare yourself for a long drive though. If you want the shortest route the best way is Cape Town to Bloemfontein up to Jo'burg.(you'll miss out on some of the best scenery SA has to offer though) For more info have a look at this site: http://www.southafrica.net/
I did something similar last year and stopped off at a place in the Drakensberg called <a href="http://www.hallscountryhouse.com" target="_blank">Halls Country House</a>. It's run by a retired couple who used to be tour operators - and man do they know what they're talking about. Take a look at their "Travel Tips" page on their web site - not the usual run of the mill stuff. And they love helping people like you & I. I wish I'd met them sooner. Alles van die beste.
everybody is talking about garden route and capetown.What about Kruger National Park!Well i arrived in capetown made my way up past the garden route past durban and eventually past st lucia and then to neilspruit(just outside kruger)I bought one of those baz buss tickets its like a hop on hop off backpackers bus.Got fetched by vivasafaris in neilspruit for the highlight of my south african tour.go check out www.valuesafaris.co.za ps)if you have time for the six day safari ..Its king best value for money.stayed in Tree house.
they droped me off in joburg and flew back home ;-(
A month is just perfect for a trip like this. And with this amount of time, why no detours? The real, unspoilt gems are a little of the regular route of course!
First, stay a couple of days in Cape Town. Be a tourist, climb Table Mountain, Take the boat to Robben Island and drive to Cape Point. From Cape Town, head for the wineries of Stellenbosch. Don't go to the Garden Route immediately, as you won't find any vinyards if you're too far from CPT.
From Stellenbosch, go down to Hermanus, where you pick up with the Garden Route. Stop at least at Hermanus, George and Knysna. Especially the last is quite scenic.
If you're not too claustrophobic it might be worthwile to visit the Cango Caves close to Oudtshoorn.
Stay on the coast, as the stretch after the Garden Route (East London - Durban) is even better (and much quieter!). The 'Wild Coast' earns its name for the rugged terrain and the rural atmosphere.
From Durban, head up towards the Drakensbergen, the northern and eastern parts are particular beatiful. Maybe even pay a visit to Lesotho, the mountain kingdom.
From there you can choose: through Swaziland up to Kruger, or via Joburg (faster).
Note that you need special permission from the car rental company to take the car out of South Africa.
Take at least ten days for the trip from Cape Town to Kruger, so you can spend some time exploring certain areas, without having to continue driving the next morning.
Spend at least four days in the Kruger Park, to enjoy it the best. As a result of the vastness, you sometimes drive for two or three hours without seeing a single animal (apart from some impala, who grow very boring after the first day...)
From Kruger, it's a day drive (back) to Joburg.
Enjoy (the planning of) your trip!
[ Edit: Edited at Sep 22, 2006 3:20 PM by Demian ]
I actually disagree with the Garden Route- I think it's the least interesting place in South Africa! Full of tourists, very very commercial and it's not even particularly pretty. I've spent 3 months in South Africa now, and wouldn't really recommend it...seems it's all full of people just wanting to sit at a hostel, drinking, and the coastline is dominated by big, ugly hotels. Ugh. Sure, there are a few nice spots, especially around Storm's River, but if you've got a car, I'd definately head off the beaten track.
My favourites include the Karoo area- arid, barren, mountainous and gorgeous. Not many tourists either, but some lovely guesthouses and fantastically friendly people. I also like the vastness of the northern part, bordering onto Namibia and Botswana, but getting up there is pretty time-consuming.
Oudtshoorn was great fun, and make sure that regardless of where you go in SA, you try an ostrich burger!
Drakensberg should definately not be missed- I could've easily spent a few weeks along the route- stunning scenery. Be sure not to miss the winding and spectacular Sani Pass by Lesotho's border. The wetlands in St.Lucia are certainly worth a visit, and if you like the rugged sea scenery, I'd go to the Wild Coast. Cape Town is fantastic, and I'm sure you could spend a few days there easily enough.
As far as the car hire- just search through different websites. There's a lot of options, and the best deal would depend much on what kind of car you're hiring, when you're going, how many drivers you'll have, if you pick it up and drop it off at another location etc...but there are some good deals around!
Also, are you camping? Most hostels have a cheap camping option and there's a lot of campsites around. They're all pretty good quality too!
Have fun and enjoy your trip!!
Oh, and I forgot the most important thing- the vineyards!
If you want to visit Stellenbosch, I'd recommend you start your trip at the town's tourist info. They have detailed maps of the region with all vineyards listed. They can also advice on the prices- most places charge R25 for a tasting, but a few charge less- I also found that it's handy to find out where the tours go, so you can avoid them, and get a more personalised, intimate tasting! It also seemed that if you were likely to buy some wine, you'd get a few extra glassfuls to try.
There're also vineyards around Hermanus, which, otherwise, is a boring town (more like a retirement village for the elderly!) and the best thing is, they do tastings for free! We didn't meet anyone else at all, and really enjoyed visiting this particular area. The vineyards there grow a smaller selection of grapes, it seemed, but they had some fantastic wines.
(oh, and I just noticed that this is a really really old thread...so hopefully they had a good time! Anyway, hope it does help someone!)
[ Edit: Edited on 18-Dec-2009, at 05:58 by Ofelia ]