The best route around South Africa will depend on your starting point, destination, and the places you want to visit. However, a popular and scenic route that covers many of South Africa’s highlights is the Garden Route.
The Garden Route is a stretch of coastline along the southeastern coast of South Africa, known for its picturesque landscapes, charming towns, and abundant outdoor activities. Here’s a suggested route for a self-drive tour of the Garden Route:
Day 1: Cape Town to Hermanus
- Start in Cape Town, a vibrant city known for its stunning scenery and diverse culture.
- Drive along the coast to Hermanus, a coastal town famous for whale watching. You can spot Southern Right whales from the cliffs or take a boat tour to get closer.
Day 2: Hermanus to Mossel Bay
- Drive along the coastal road towards Mossel Bay, a coastal town with beautiful beaches and historical sites.
- Visit the Diaz Museum Complex, which commemorates the first known European explorer to round the Cape of Good Hope, Bartholomeu Dias.
- Explore the stunning beaches and enjoy water activities like swimming and surfing.
Day 3: Mossel Bay to Knysna
- Drive further along the coast to Knysna, a charming town nestled between a lagoon and lush forests.
- Visit the Knysna Heads, two dramatic sandstone cliffs guarding the entrance to the Knysna Lagoon.
- Take a cruise on the lagoon and explore the Featherbed Nature Reserve, known for its diverse birdlife and indigenous forests.
Day 4: Knysna to Tsitsikamma National Park
- Drive to Tsitsikamma National Park, known for its breathtaking coastal scenery and indigenous forests.
- Explore the park’s hiking trails, suspension bridge, and the Storms River Mouth, where the river meets the Indian Ocean.
- For thrill-seekers, you can try the world’s highest commercial bungee jump at Bloukrans Bridge.
Day 5: Tsitsikamma National Park to Addo Elephant National Park
- Drive to Addo Elephant National Park, one of the largest national parks in South Africa and home to over 600 elephants.
- Take a game drive to spot elephants, lions, buffalo, and other wildlife.
- Stay overnight in the park or in the nearby town of Port Elizabeth.
Day 6: Addo Elephant National Park to Karoo
- Drive inland towards the Karoo, a semi-desert region known for its unique landscapes and starry skies.
- Visit the Valley of Desolation in the Camdeboo National Park, which offers panoramic views of the surrounding plains.
- Enjoy the tranquillity and unique scenery of the Karoo as you drive through the vast plains.
Day 7: Karoo to Cape Town
- Drive back to Cape Town to complete the loop.
- Alternatively, you can continue your journey to explore more of South Africa, such as the Winelands, Kruger National Park, or the Drakensberg Mountains.
Please note that this is just one suggested route, and you can customize your itinerary based on your interests, budget, and time constraints. Always ensure you have a reliable map or GPS system, and check the road conditions and safety recommendations before embarking on any road trip. Enjoy your trip around South Africa!