There are many beautiful countries in Africa. You can travel by vehicle is both rewarding and will give you that real sense of adventure. Also, area dependant, Africa is easily driveable with great roads and infrastructure, as well as driving on the left hand side, making it a simple transition from the UK. Here we highlight our favourite South Africa self drive journeys from Cape Town to Kruger and all that’s in-between.
Cape Town & Winelands
Starting in Cape Town you can take the scenic journey –along the coast and through the Table Mountain national park – to Cape Point. There are plenty of chances to stop off on your way, for either some lunch or the various walking treks and viewpoints. On your drive back towards the city, make sure you drive the False Bay coast of Cape Peninsula so you can visit the colony of penguins at Boulders Beach –something not to be missed.
Heading to the winelands there’s more than just wine tasting to explore. Take a drive on the various wine routes in South Africa – Paarl, Stellenbosch, Franschhoek, Durbanville, Somerset West – and you’ll discover fantastic restaurants, farm stores with local preserves, cheeses, olives and hand made wares, markets and more. This is a great self drive if you are basing yourself in Cape Town and would like the option to get out and about, and to stay away for a night or two.
Time: We recommend allocating at least 2 nights in the winelands for each of the wine routes you wish to explore
Stay: Last Word Long Beach, La Cle des Montagnes, Hawksmoor House, Mont Rochelle, Kensington Place.
Cruising along the Garden Route in South Africa is a very easy drive, and although the popularity of it, depending which route you take, you may not see many other cars. Leaving Cape Town you can start off with the scenic drive along the coast, driving towards Hermanus (be sure to investigate the world-famous vineyards along the way). Heading inland there are many quaint towns to pass through along the way. Take a trip to Cape Agulhus – the southernmost tip of Africa before continuing along, stopping off as you please, until you reach the town of George. From here you’ll either head over the Outeniqua Mountain Pass on to Oudtshoorn, and then back to Cape Town or head along the famed Garden Route towns of Wilderness, Sedgefield, Knysna and Plettenberg Bay.
Whichever route you decide on, there is plenty to see, from the windy mountain passes between Oudtshoorn and George, beautiful beaches and coastline, as well as thick forests along the Tsitsikamma.
Time: We recommend taking at least three full days to explore the Garden Route
Stay: Grootbos Private Nauture Reserve, Birkenhead House, Tsala Treetops Lodge, Kurland Hotel, Hog Hollow Country Lodge, Rosenhof Country House, The Turbine Boutique Hotel & Spa, The Plettenberg Hotel.
Kruger and the Panorama Route
The Panorama Route is one of the most scenic routes along the Mpumalanga Escarpment, and it is a truly magnificent drive. With roads winding their way through the northern Drakensberg craggy mountains, as well as the north-eastern end of the Great Escarpment, it includes spell-binding views along your route – giving you the perfect opportunity to stop off on your way, stretch your legs and take in your surroundings. The Three Rondavels, Pinnacle and God’s Window view points are all ‘must see’ points on this route.
If it’s adventure that you seek then be sure to travel up Long Tom Pass (the highest tarred road in South Africa at 2149 metres above sea level), and pass through Graskop. Here you can take part in a canyon swing, with an 18 storey free all, and a swing going from 0-160km in 2 seconds. Not for the fainted heated, but a thrilling experience.
Continue your journey to the Kruger area, where we suggest staying in one of the private game reserves bordering the Kruger National Park for optimum game viewing. The Thornybush, Timbavati, Kapama and Sabi Sand Game Reserves are all excellent options and offer spectacular wildlife experiences. This experience will nicely round off your whole trip and deliver the true South African exploration.
Time: We recommend spending at least 3 nights at one of the game reserves and allowing for a full day to explore the Panorama Route.
Stay: Panorama Route – Walkersons Hotel Spa and Coach House Hotel & Spa. Kruger Reserves – Camp Jabulani, Thornybush Game Lodge & Serondella Lodge, or Kings Camp and Sabi Bush Lodge.