One of the most popular holidays in South Africa is a self drive through the Cape taking in Cape Town, a safari and the famous Garden Route region. With an excellent road network, signage in English, a huge variety of places to stay and an abundance of tourist activities, this is a safe, well worn route which has been tried and tested by millions of satisfied tourists.
It is worth noting that you can drive the route either starting with Cape Town and ending with the safari near to the city of Port Elizabeth or vice versa.
If you have two weeks away and begin in Cape Town we normally suggest spending around 3 or 4 days exploring the city. The appeal of the city lies not only in its spectacular setting with a backdrop of Table Mountain, the Atlantic Ocean and endless miles of sandy white beaches but in its melting pot of cultures, colourful history, marvellous cuisine and the general friendliness of the people on which it prides itself. Cape Town provides the visitor with and endless array of things to do from its cultural; and historical activities such as Robben Island and the Cape Town Castle, it's culinary delights and fine wines and vibrant night life to the fantastic views and walks of table mountain, the beauty of Kirstenbosch gardens and the endless miles of sand on Noordhoek beach.
Situated about an hour's drive from Cape Town, and surrounding the historic towns of Stellenbosch, Paarl and Franschhoek lies the Western Cape's world-famous winelands. You can visit the winelands on a day trip from Cape Town (both self drive and organised tours are available) as it is relatively close however we would recommend you stay there for at least 2 days in order to get the most out of your experience. Not only can you visit the vineyards to see how their wines are produced and sample some of South Africa's wonderful array of new world wines but the towns offer a unique insight into the colourful history of the area with its French, English and Dutch influences. The winelands are also renowned for their culinary delights and are well worth the trip just to experience the fantastic array of cuisine on offer.
Another popular stop situated about an hour and a half's drive from Cape Town is the beautiful seaside town of Hermanus. Built on the shores of Walker Bay, Hermanus is one of the best places in Southern Africa if not the world to see the Southern Right Whales which frequent the Cape Coastline from June to November when they come to calve in the relative safety of the coastlines many bays.
Stretching East from Hermanus for approximately 500km's lies the world famous Garden Route with its dramatic backdrop of the Outeniqua mountains, the Knysna forests and it's rocky coastline of large bays and beautiful beaches. It encompasses the towns of Mossel Bay, George, Wilderness, Sedgefield, Knysna, Plettenberg Bay, Storms River, St Francis Bay and Jeffrey's Bay. The lush forests and valleys of this region give rise to the name garden route and create some of the most beautiful scenery South Africa has to offer. We generally recommend 3 to 4 nights minimum to fully experience all that this stretch of coastline has to offer. The Garden Route is all about dramatic scenery and the unique ways from which to view it, from a ferry ride on the Knysna lagoon, walking the Robberg Peninsular in Plettenberg Bay to scaling the heights of the Tsitsikamma forests in a very popular canopy tour. From its adventure activities to nature walks, beaches and superb golf courses there is something for everybody on the Garden Route. The town of George has an airport which means a visit can start and end on the Garden Route.
Conveniently located about a 3 hour drive from the Garden Route are the malaria free reserves of the Eastern Cape. The best known of these are: Shamwari, Amakhala, Kwandwe and the Addo Elephant National Park, all of which offer opportunities to see the 'big 5'. Most offer accommodation in superb lodges or tented camps combined with game viewing activities. 2 to 3 nights in the region can begin or end your stay in the Cape with an approximately one hour drive to Port Elizabeth airport.
The weather in the Cape is best from September to May. The winters (June, July and Aug) can be windy and wet however the weather comes in coastal fronts so in theory you could have lovely weather at that time of year. It is just more unpredictable than the summer months.
When planning your trip chat to an expert who will have done all of the drives and visited an array of hotels and guest houses.
Contact a specialist about a Safari in South Africa