Cape Town to Jo'burg Itinerary Critique
Replies: 15 - Last Post: Sep 4, 2011 7:30 AM Last Post By: braaiseason
Mar 6, 2011 9:19 PM
Cape Town to Jo'burg Itinerary CritiqueHey All,
My wife and I are heading to South Africa as part of our RTW for about 30 nights this October...flying into Cape Town and out of Jo'burg. Here's what we're currently thinking:
Cape Town/Peninsula - 7 nights
Knysna/Wilderness area - 4 nights
Hermanus - 3 nights (too long?)
Winelands - 3 nights
Fly CT to Durban drive to St. Lucia
St Lucia - 4 nights
Swaziland (where?) - 1 nights
Kruger - 5 nights
Blyde Canyon area - 2 nights
Jo'burg - 2 nights
The reason for a longer stay in CT is first, everyone I've talked to who's been says its amazing...and second, we want to get acclimated to driving on the left (from US) especially with a manual car (significant cost savings). We were thinking maybe 4 nights in CT getting the lay of the land and the rent a car for 3 nights or so before heading out. I even thought about asking someone at my hostel for a "driving lesson" or something. Weird, I know.
Figured we'd bit the bullet and go all the way to Knysna and then backtrack to CT so we could drop the car off at the same spot. We're from California, so the stunning coastlines of the Wild Coast may not be our top priority (spoiled brat alert). I think our priorities are getting to know CT, Winelands and Kruger. Also, everything we've read about St. Lucia sounds great.
Any thoughts/suggestions on the itinerary? We plan to stay in double rooms in backpackers/hostels. Could we do a trip like this for $200 per night including car? Thanks for any input!
Mar 6, 2011 11:26 PM
1On your Western Cape part, 3 days could be a bit much for Hermanus. But I believe October is still a low season, so as long as you have not pay for everything in advance, you should be able to modify your itinerary as needed and still find accommodation at the last minutes.
The following drives are quite nice:
- Chapman Peak Drive
- Coastal drive down to Cape Hope.
- R310 from Stellenbosch to Franschhoek.
- R44 south from Stellenbosch to Hermanus. You'll pass Betty's Bay for the penguin colony. I like this drive more than the Garden Routes.
Consider visiting De Hoop park if you can. I didn't go there but a local told me it worths a trip. The whales supposedly do come right up to the shore there.
I got a small automatic car from Aroundaboutcars for about US$45 a day which included insurance. So $200/day should be doable for you though we don't know what the gas price will be in October.
For first 2 days within Cape Town, consider not get a rental car to save money. It is a hassle to drive within city anyway. You can adjust to the traffic flow by walking and crossing the streets at major traffic areas.
Traffic is quite light outside of the city and the roads are quite wide in Western Cape. My biggest problem driving automatic in Cape Town was turning right coming out of parking lot--had a tendency to turn onto the wrong lane.
Mar 7, 2011 7:49 AM
2I am biased as I live in Cape Town - there is lots to see and do here and you can easily spend 7 nights or longer, but possibly 2 nights in Hermanus is enough. It is also possible to go to the winelands on day trips. It also depends on your interests and what you like to do.
I absolutely love the Garden Route - you could also go a little past Knysna to Tsitsikamma National Park which is a great place to visit. Check out sanparks.org
St Lucia is really worth a visit as well, as is Kruger.
Cant comment on the rest, not much of JHB fan.
Mar 7, 2011 10:39 AM
3I've heard people favoring Capetown over Jo'burg as well. It's like when people travel to San Jose, Costa Rica. It's more of a pit stop to transfer to another location. Not really safe to hang around there.
Are you looking at any safaris in particular? I'm going in ONE MONTH and I still haven't decided where I'm going. I think I may have underestimated how expensive safaris are!
Mar 7, 2011 4:42 PM
4For CT area: rather stay in the city for an extra night and do winelands day trips (consider 1 night in Stellenbosch or Franschoek)
1 night in Hermanus area is enough and defin go for the route down from Gordons Bay passing Betties Bay etc.
For winelands: I can recommend Delheim wine estate and it's neighbour aswell (forgot the name) In Franschhoek you can't go wrong: world class wines...
Add Oudtshoorn to your list! (just browse this forum, you'll find plenty) Swartberg Pass is awesome + cango caves + Prince Albert + Meiringspoort (very nice circular daytrip loop)
Don't skip Storms River Mouth/ Tsitsikamma ! If you cross the bridge make sure you do the hike up the hill right in front of you for magnificent views.
Enjoy, SA is GREAT!
Mar 7, 2011 4:44 PM
5Safaris are cheap as long as you have your own car (Addo, Kgalagadi, Kruger, ....) and camping gear.
= 15yo mazda car, a 60dollar tent, and a good sleeping bag :)
I've spent alot of days low budget in the SA national parks!
Edited by: stefansouthafrica
Oh and don't skip the West Coast (West Coast national park is very nice, easy daytrip from cape town also self drive, don't miss the viewpoint 5km out the gate from the Langebaan side)
Also camping at Tietiesbaai is great and Paternoster is well worth spending a night if you combine it with the WCoast NP trip!
Skip JHB... Kwazulu Natal is so much better to explore!
Edited by: stefansouthafrica
Mar 7, 2011 5:51 PM
6Thanks everybody! Decisions, decisions.
I'm wondering if I should even head out to the Knysna/Garden route area or just spend more time directly around CT and the west coast. Or maybe i'm getting too caught up in rental car drop off fees and flight costs and I should just bite the bullet and fly from George or PE to Durban before driving to St. Lucia.
I'm thinking 4-5 nights St. Lucia area, 1 night Swaziland, 1 night Nelspruit before the park, 5 nights at Kruger (booked), 3 nights Blyde River Canyon area and the to JB for our flight (don't even need to say overnight).
That's 15 nights. Now it's the other 16 that are making my head spin haha. Thanks again...I'll keep checking out this forum.
Mar 7, 2011 8:32 PM
7Cape Town you need to spend more time, so much to see and do there , and like the others said day trip to wineries. You need at least 5 days just in CT, bypass Joburg don't waste 2 days there! Oudshoorn, Knysna, Wilderness, Tsitsikama ( 3 nights in a bungalow there is a have to) Garden Route makes Hwy 1 look like Bakersfields main drag. You will pick up on driving real quickly. Easily do it for $200 a day. Knysna to CT is only 5 hours away.
Mar 8, 2011 1:12 AM
8Personally I would stay in the winelands.There are some beautiful little towns,and the bigger ones like Stellenbosch have plenty to do for a couple of days...and the countryside is fantastic.You can drive or ride a bike from winery to winery,or if you want to drink more there are day tours by minibus etc.I loved it!
As for Joberg...there are at least 2 excellent things to do there...a visit to Soweto and the Apartheid Museum (which can be combined in 1 day)...so I think your 2 nights there is fine.
Hermanus...depends what you want to do...if you want to go shark cage diving that is most of a day.Whale watching? Walking along the coast there is great as well.So 3 nights (2 full days) is not a huge amount of time,if you want to do these specific things.......
Agree with adding Oudtshoorn..one of my favourite places in SA.
Why only 1 night in Swaziland? if you drive from St.Lucia,you won't really have time to do anything there.Just sleep and go the next morning.....if you want to see some of the culture you need at least a full day there.
By the way St. Lucia is amazing....a surreal place.
Mar 8, 2011 9:35 PM
9My bf and I just did a 4 week self-drive through South Africa and Swaziland. We drove from Johannesburg to Kruger>Swaziland>Durban>Wild Coast>Garden Route>Oudtshoorn>Hermanus>Capetown.
I would suggest adding time for Tsitsikamma - Storms River Mouth. We stayed 3 nights there in one of the ocean-front chalets. We paid about $100 per night for a self-catering chalet, right on the ocean. Storms River Mouth is breath-takingly beautiful, and not to be missed, IMO. We also stayed 3 nights in Wilderness. We used that as our base to drive to OUdtshoorn visit an Ostich Farm, Swathberg Pass and Prince Albert, all of which can be done in one day, and well worth the time.
I think 3 nights in Hermanus is too much. We stopped in on our way to Capetown to do some whale-watching. Our timing was perfect as there were 3-4 whales along the coast as we pulled into the parking area. That was enough for us.
One of the highlights of our trip was our trip to Swaziland. We spent 2 nights in Miliwane Wildlife Santuary, and 1 night at Shewula Camp, high in the mountains. We would have loved to spend more time there, and would definitely recommend a minimum of 3 nights in Swaziland.
I also would not eliminate spending time in Jo'Burg. There is lots to see and do. We spent a total of 5 days there. Two nights were spent in Randburg, allowing us time to recover from jet lag from our 15 hour flight from the US, and another 3 nights at the end of our trip, prior to returning to the US. We went to Soweto, Apartheid Museum, Mandela House, and Lion Park. One of the highlights of our stay in Jo"Burg was the Craft Market that is held every Sunday on the roof of the Rosebank Mall. It is not to be missed for good prices on African crafts and other goods.
As far as driving on the left is concerned, we too are from the US. My bf did all of the driving. He said the most difficult part was shifting with his left hand. Other than that, once you focus on making turns from the left, rather than the right, it becomes easy to do. We got lost a few times, especially in Jo'Burg, but if you can afford it (we didn't want to spring for the extra bucks), get a GPS to make things easier. WE also found out after returning that we could have downloaded SA maps onto our cell phones, and used them as a GPS. The paper maps they gave us at the Avis Rent a Car was ineffective, IMO. Regardless, we managed to get around quite well. I used google maps to map the directions from one location to the other.
Here are a few sites that might be of interest in planning your trip and accommodations:
Mar 9, 2011 10:54 AM
10Thanks everybody. Some great advice here. Travelmaven, I've definitely been reading a lot or your posts from your trip and getting great ideas. I think I have the bookends of my trip set with CT/Winelands and Swazi/Kruger/Blyde River...now I just need to decide whether to spend more time along the Garden Route or around the Kwazulu-Natal area (thinking Drakensberg and St. Lucia).
Not a bad decision to have :)
Mar 9, 2011 3:26 PM
11OK I've done a little bit more research (obsessive, much?) and here's a revised itinerary:
Cape Town/Peninsula - 7 nights
Knysna - 4 nights
Winelands - 4 nights(may seem long, but we love our wine)
Drakensberg - 3 nights(fly from CT to Durban then drive up...any good recs for a central Drakensberg base?)
St. Lucia - 3 nights (possible to drive from Drakensburg without backtracking to Durban?)
Swaziland - 1 night
Nelspruit - 1 night (rest and get suppleis for Kruger)
Kruger - 5 nights
Graskop - 2 nights (panoramic route)
Jo'burg - 1 nights
new thoughts? the middle might be rushed with a lot of driving, but i think it's getting better.
Mar 15, 2011 9:11 PM
12The only improvement I can see is to afford Swaziland more time. It really shouldn't be considered a "stop-over" to break a journey. Many people make this mistake and then regret it later. Swaziland is a country in itself and although one of the smallest in the world it has incredible diversity and a well-matured tourism infrastructure. For a self-drive traveller it is also the type of place where you can have more confidence to explore off-the-beaten track due to its relative safety and peacefulness.
Honestly - I'd trim a night from Kruger and a night from St Lucia to give you more time in Swaziland... and you're likely to find this portion a lot more affordable in terms of park entry fees and accommodation.
The links offered above for http://www.biggameparks.org and http://www.swazi.travel are good places to start.
Whatever your final decisions - enjoy!
Mar 15, 2011 9:21 PM
Jun 22, 2011 2:55 PM
14I can only agree with almost all the comments here, but if I was to give you my suggestions i would be like the below.
This will just be based on the Easterne & Western Cape part & taking into consideration the total number days you mentioned for this part in the beginning (or a little modified together the other postings).
As you would be flying in to Cape Town & out again for your northern itinerary parts. I would suggest a horse shoe loop up Garden Route & back along Route 62 ending in the wineland (relaxing there a bit before moving on) - before moving up north.
The question is then: To start or finish in Cape Town. I would prefere to finish there after this horse shoe loop, but that is just me (I always plans on finishing in Cape Town. It can be done both before or after.
Would though stay 4-5 nights in Cape Town (a minimum) & add nights if you have the time & have not spend them elsewhere on your itinerary. About places to & what to do have been mentioned by any other just take a pick amoung the many.
Garden Route & Route 62 loop:
Anyway: On the way from Cape Town or Airport drive to Hermanus via Bettys Bay along False Bay - a beautiful costal route & through "fynbosh" landscapes.
Hermanus: 1 night
Drive to Bredasdorp & take a short detour to Cape Agulhas (most southern point in Africa - not Cape Point). It is about 40 km each way from Bredasdorp. Go to Arniston (Waenhuiskrans) only 30 min. from Bredasdorp - a gem in the western cape that offer gets skipped on the way toward Garden Route.
Arniston: 1 night
Travel to Knysna following the start of Garden Route at Mossel Bay. Might be a long drive but possible. Could add a night in Wilderness. Then the next day from Wilderness to Knysna is short yes, but take time to pass over & back of Quteniqua Pass before ending in Knysna:
Knysna: 2 nights
Where visit Feather Bed Narure Reserve & maybe even St. Michell´s Brewery (nice micro-brewery).
Leave Knysna of Garden Route toward Port Elizabeth visiting Tsitsikamma Natural Park, Storms River Mouth & drive of Garden Route (N2) to Route 62 over Kareedouw Pass. Head back toward Oudtshoorn along Route 62 - in my & many others opion one of the most beautiful drives in the southern parts of South Africa. Long day but can be done & worth it. Remember so eat some well prepered ostrichs steaks.
Oudtshoorn: 1 night
Take a detour up north to Cango Caves & back to Oudtshoorn & Route 62 leading back to Cape Town/Winelands (would suggest to stay in the wineland . Could stop at an ostrich farm on the way outside Oudtshoorn before continueing along Route 62. If you feel it is a long drive to the wineland (or Cape Town) you could add a night in Montagu. They have nice hot springs & you would the next day have time to experience the fruit valley & South Africas Brandy Route along Route 62/60 aound the towns of Robertson & Worcester. Take the Dutoitsberg Pass over the mountain & not the Hugenot Tunnel - why pay to drive in dakness when you can the wonderful look over the wineland from the top of the mountain.
Stellenbosch: 3 nights (could be 2 nights if not keen on wines)
Spend 1-2 days visiting wine estates & the towns of Stellenbosh, Franchhoek & Paarl.
Then go to Cape town of the next couple of days if not started there.
If you want more info & can give it to you along with fully detailed routes & sights - as I have family & friends doing this tour next month (July) with the add of nights in Wilderness & Montagu.
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