7 day itinerary for the perfect South Africa road trip

In my endeavour to set foot on all 7 continents, I ventured out for a road trip of South Africa with my friend at the start of the touristy season. We planned to cover the route from Cape Town to Johannesburg in a car over a period of 7 days. This would mean driving relentlessly while trying to soak in the most of what this country has to offer. We started our journey from Mumbai to Johannesburg via Dubai and then continued onward to Cape Town via an internal flight on the SA local airlines named Mango. We reached Cape Town quite late and headed off to our luxurious accommodation for 2 nights.

The day started off on a bright sunny note with an outdoor breakfast which involved a lavish spread on the buffet and after devouring the tasty sausages on the menu we headed off with full excitement to pick up our rental, a BMW 318i from First Car rental office located at Loop Street. After a quick check-up and a round of documentation we headed off for a day trip around Cape Town. A small tip here : It is advised to go for an ‘Executive Cover’ which reduces the rentee’s liability to zero in case of an accident. Additionally, one should opt for tire & windscreen protection insurance which comes at a minimal cost and turned out to be our saviour the following day.

Hotel

Boulders Beach

We started the road trip by heading towards Boulder’s Beach to see small and cute little penguins. Admission fee to the place is 152 ZAR for Non-SA nationalities. My friend couldn’t control her excitement on seeing them for the first time.

Adorable Penguins

Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve

Next stop on our itinerary was the Cape of Good Hope which happens to be the southernmost point in South Africa. The admission fess is 303 ZAR for Non-SA people. A nice road leading to the place where one has the option of either taking a funicular or to hike to the mountain top for some breathtaking views.

Stunning views from atop the mountain

On our way back at sunset we hit the Chapman’s Peak drive which is considered as one of the most scenic drives in SA. And it surely lived up to it’s reputation! Serpentine roads through the mountain with the seas on one side surely made for some amazing memories with the setting sun adding the perfect dose of awesomeness.

Chapman's Peak Drive

We went to our hotel to freshen up and dined at the City Grill Steakhouse located on the V&A Waterfront for the famous Mixed Game platter. One dish with skewers of alligator, ostrich, wildbeest and kudu meats paired with a fine red wine from Stellenbosch. Absolutely lip smacking! I even went for a separate serving of the alligator dish.

Mixed Game food platter
Day 3

After a sumptuous breakfast we checked out of our hotel and headed towards Stellenbosch, the famous wine capital of South Africa for a wine tasting experience. We met a very friendly local named Anton who gave us some meaningful insight into the wine making process and during the wine tasting session helped us identify and appreciate the subtle nuances in the different kinds of wines. We bought 2 bottles for ourselves and hit the road again as recently graduated wine tasting experts to have a drink at the iconic Ronnie’s Sex Shop.

On our education to become wine experts
 

Ronnie’s Sex shop is located in the middle of nowhere. It started out as Ronnie’s Shop but legend has it that someone decided to add ‘Sex’ in between and thereafter it became an iconic signboard and stopover place for thirsty travellers. The shop has an impressive collection of memorabilia donated by the patrons consisting of bras, thongs and t-shirts in all shapes and sizes. People even stuck their visiting cards and currency notes on the walls when the ceilings got full! After a beer and sandwich we decided to head out to Mossel Bay.

The Iconic stop ever

Santos Express Train Lodge

On our journey between Ronnie’s shop and Mossel bay we unfortunately ended up with a flat tire. We were stuck on the highway 14 kms from the nearest town of Albertinia. The roadside assistance arranged a tow truck to come pick us up and drop us at the accommodation for the night at Mossel Bay. It was an agonising wait of 3 hours but when the tow truck eventually turned up we breathed a sigh of relief. We reached Santos Express Train Lodge amidst heavy showers and I got drenched in the cold rain. It’s an abandoned train converted into a hostel. The rooms were extremely small but the common areas were nice and spacious. The views on waking up the next morning were spectacular as we had an unobstructed view of the sea.

 

The car rental arranged for a replacement car which happened to be a white colour BMW 318i. Extremely professional on their part to have it delivered right at the doorstep of our accommodation. We then decided to explore the city a bit and hit the coastal road to catch some action packed surfing. It was now time to see some ostriches in Outdshoorn which is famous for it’s ostrich farms. Our choice was Cango Ostrich farm wherein we had loads of fun feeding, hugging and receiving neck massages from ostriches.

We also had a platter of ostrich meat with a good local wine. The food and wine was very reasonably priced and the interior decor of the restaurant was pure Victorian bliss.

hugging ostrich
baby ostriches

Next stop was Port Elizabeth and we reached there to witness a fiery sunset on a windy pier. We retired for the night at Beach House BnB on the 2nd avenue. A lovely and handsome host with 3 fluffy dogs made for a wonderful relaxation post a tiring day.

Day 5

Port Elizabeth

We decided to start the day by going around PE and explored a beautiful coastline at Sacramento. My friend suggested to go check the St. George’s Park cricket stadium and to our sheer surprise we were allowed in the stadium!

Posing at Sacramento
The small cricket stadium

Addo Elephant National Park

Next up was the drive through experience in Addo National Park. It was a one of a kind experience for us because rarely does any National Park allow to drive through in one’s own car. Excitement and adrenaline rush to see elephants, kudus, zebras and warthogs right next to our car.

Kudu
Elephant
Bison
Baby elephants crossing road
Wise eyes giant
 
 

Since PE was an hour’s drive from there, we choose to stay nearby at Paterson in a beautiful 5 room hotel called Olifantskop Lodge. Very plush property with cosy and comfortable rooms. The bar and dining area was done with eclectic taste and to top it all, we had the entire resort to ourselves! There was a fireplace which was lighted up by our friendly host who herself worked in a national reserve. We had a good dinner accompanied by our special Chardonnay ‘Integer’ from Stellenbosch. Not to mention the very friendly and over excited dogs made the experience all the more pleasurable.

Day 6

This was a day on the road. Literally! We drove 900 kms in 7 hours. With near perfect road conditions and a beast of a car at our disposal, we didn’t feel the shy and didn’t have any reservations to keep the throttle in check and drove at 160-170 kmph on an average. We had to refuel twice but we definitely pushed the car to it’s limits. A big cheers to German engineering! We reached Bergville at around 06:00 pm and after catching the setting sun headed off to our accommodation for the night.

Serene Drakensberg
the fiery sunset

For dinner we headed out to a plush property called Little Switzerland where we had beef steaks and SA wine. The food was tasty with good portion size but the plating could have been better. Ambience and decor were satisfactory.

 
Day 7

The next morning we drove through Drankensberg and went to the ‘Cascades’ inside the Royal Natal National Park. Spent a couple of hours bathing in the glowing sun and getting a horrible tan. Also injured my foot a little while diving into the water. Nonetheless, post the not so impressive park (since we were looking for avenues to drive around Drankensberg) the plan was to hit Johannesburg.

Cascades

It was a quiet and beautiful sunset on our way to Johannesburg and both me and my friend were in a very sombre mood since reaching Jo’burg marked the end of the trip. Our accommodation for the night was a very cosy homely BnB in Auckland Park run by a friendly and chatty Somaya. We decided to check out Nelson Mandela squarefor the evening and were impressed by the dining and shopping options there. Choice for dinner was Trumps Bar and Grill where I had the best tenderloin beef steak of my life along with a very interesting wine.

All ready to devour the
Christmas decorations at Nelson Mandela Square

The last day of the trip was for exploring Jo’burg and we checked out the following places:

1. Apartheid Museum

 
2. Soweto township
 
3. Munro drive
 
4. Pub hopping in Melville
Absolutely

Melville is a fun place to be for spending an evening. It has some cool pubs and restaurants albeit with a little loud music. Retired for the night and bid goodbye to Joburg’s bustling night scene.

Day 8

After an early morning breakfast, filling up the petrol tank and navigating the rush hour Monday morning traffic we dropped off our car at the airport counter of First Car rentals. Had a swift check-in with Emirates and with one last goodbye kiss to SA we were headed back on our return to Mumbai.

Hope everyone liked the post and if you have any questions / queries, please feel free to ask. Thanks for reading and hope you hit the South African roads soon. 

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