It’s tough to sum up a road trip through South Africa in a few words – It offers pretty much everything under the sun – mountains and grasslands, adventure sports and beach-bumming opportunities, wildlife safaris and tame Ostrich farms, wild bushland and turquoise lagoons, and luscious food and wine. No wonder, it makes for the road trip of a life time.
Here’s what we ended up doing on our road trip through South Africa:
1) Johannesburg (2 days)
Fly into Johannesburg or Jo’burg as the locals call it. Spend your time exploring the townships of Soweto and sensing the vibe of the city. Make sure to hit the Sunday crafts market in Sandton and follow that up with an afternoon of playing with Lion cubs at the Johannesburg Lion Park.
2) Safari at Hluhluwe Imfolozi National Park (2-3 days)
Drive from Johannesburg to HluHluwe Imfolozi National Park for an offbeat Safari. This 550 km (approx 8 hours) stretch will take you through traditional South African villages and towns. Spend the next day on a guided safari in the HluHluwe Imfolozi National Park looking for animals. We had a field day spotting Zebras and Antelopes!
3) Durban (3 days)
3 days is about right for Durban – you can spend your days trekking in some of the well-kept natural reserves like Umhlanga and Amanzimtoti or laze on Durban’s spectacular beaches. In the evenings, enjoy the lively night life that Durban has to offer and do not forget to try the ‘bunny chow’ – a hollowed bread loaf filled with curry – yummy! One place that you CANNOT miss is the Valley of 1000 hills
4) Addo Elephant National Park (2 days)
Aah! The best part of the road trip through South Africa (at least for Vid ;)). 900 kms from Durban lies a breathtaking natural reserve next to a sleepy village called Addo. You can easily spend a day or two doing a self-drive safari at the Addo Elephant National Park. Vid loved the experience so much that he is already planning his next self-drive safari.
5) The Garden Route (5-7 days)
If we had our way, we would drive the Garden Route three or four times over. Stretching from Port Elizabeth all the way to Cape Town, this 750 km drive is what dreams are made of. One can easily spend 5 days covering the Garden Route – we split our journey at a mystical sea-side town called Knysna. For adventure seekers, the Bloukrans bridge between Port Elizabeth and Knysna offers the world’s highest commercial bungee jump. How could we have stayed behind? 🙂
Hop over to read about our adventures driving the garden route !
6) Cape Town and The Wine Route (5 days)
New York Times recently listed Cape Town as #1 in a list of 52 places to visit in 2014. We can certainly vouch for that. From hiking the Table Mountain to devouring fresh seafood at the Mariner’s wharf at Hout Bay, Cape Town has something for everyone. We even had breakfast with Penguins at the Boulders beach in Simonstown. Leave aside a couple of days for visits to Frankshoek and Stellenbosch, both of which boasts of some of the world’s best wineries. You MUST NOT leave the region before indulging in some wine tasting. Cape Town and the surrounding wine region is undoubtedly the best way to end a long, rewarding, and a little tiring road trip through South Africa.
7) Fly from Cape Town to Johannesburg and back to London
21 days, 4,400 Kms (including detours and city driving), and a myriad of landscapes later, the epic road trip through South Africa came to an end. We can safely say that this trip has been the best travel experience of our lives till now 🙂
Planning And Budgeting
A road trip spanning 3 weeks requires a fair bit of planning and organisation, especially when it’s in a diverse country like South Africa. Months before our trip, we spent hours on the internet looking for cheap rates for hotels. Given the importance of tourism in South Africa, it’s easy to find something to suit all budgets. Our approximate cost breakdown for the trip was:
- Car Rental with Hertz: £20 per day for a Chevy Spark with all insurances and one-way drop off fees included
- Fuel Costs: Approximately 200 litres of petrol at ~75p per litre = £150 for the entire trip
- Accommodation: £20 per night per person including breakfast (we stay in local B&B’s – somewhere between luxurious hotels and backpacker’s hostels)
- Food costs: £20-£25 per person per day
- Safari: A guided safari will set you back by £75-£100 per person. A self-drive option is much cheaper at around £15 per person. We suggest you do one of each 🙂
- Miscellaneous costs: £15 per person
There you have it – a South African Road Trip itinerary that will take you through changing landscapes, beautiful scenery, scrumptious food, exhilarating wild life, and divine wine. To read a detailed account of each stop, including suggestions for accommodation, offbeat detours, and random fun stuff, read all our posts about our South African Road Trip.
If you have any specific questions, ask them in the comments below.